President Reagan paid a campaign-style visit to Wall Street Thursday, touting his economic policies and chastising U.S. trading partners for causing "painful dislocations" in American exporting industries by failing to follow the example of his Administration.
Despite the passing acknowledgement of record-breaking U.S. trade deficits, Reagan delivered an uncompromisingly bullish pep talk to floor traders at the New York Stock Exchange, saying that his economic policies are aimed at "driving the bears back into permanent hibernation" and promising that "we're going to turn the bull loose."
As the floor of the exchange echoed with thunderous shouts of "Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie," Reagan rang the bell symbolically opening the day's trading. His rosy assessment produced no immediate impact in trading; a morning rally evaporated and the market closed with the Dow Jones average of 30 industrials down by more than four points.
No Reference to Japan Exports
In his remarks before opening the exchange, the President made no specific mention of the Administration's unhappiness over the Japanese government's decision to increase auto exports to the United States by about 25% in the next year.
Instead, he criticized foreign countries in general for what he said was their failure to keep pace with the American economy.
"The American economy is like a racehorse that's begun to gallop out in front of the field," he said. "Other nations, hobbled by high tax rates and weighed down by oversized government spending, have been slow to catch up. And this has caused some painful dislocations, especially for America's exporting industries.
'Race to the Future'
"But the answer is hardly to hamstring the American economy to make it drop back with the others," he added. "The solution is for our trading partners to throw off the dead weight of government--cut their own tax rates, spending and overregulation and join us in opening up their markets to foreign competition so they can catch up with us in our race to the future."
The best way to make American products more competitive abroad "is to spur innovation, enterprise and productivity by cutting tax rates again--and that's exactly what we intend to do," he said.
The President's five-hour visit to New York was designed to rally support in his budget fight with the Congress by touting accomplishments of his Administration's economic policies.
A Hit on Wall Street
On Wall Street, he was a hit. But at St. John's University, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate, about 7,000 students who heard him speak seemed at times nonplussed, especially when he touched upon the Administration's proposed cuts in student financial aid.
While he had emphasized lessened regulation and economic expansion in his Wall Street remarks, the President told the St. John's students that he believes "we have to tear down our present tax structure and build a new one."
His approach to tax simplification, he said, "will move us away from the whole strange world of unproductive tax shelters."
"For once," he said, "all Americans will know that their neighbors, as well as they, are paying their fair share and not hiding behind loopholes and shelters. We want to make the tax system simpler and more fair--and we want to push tax rates down still further."
Extends Export Act
While the President was in New York, he disclosed that he had extended the Export Administration Act of 1979, continuing his broad emergency controls over U.S. exports of high technology items. The extension was routine, because Congress has not been able to agree on a new export act to replace the emergency controls.
Some reporters traveling in the presidential motorcade from St. John's to John F. Kennedy International Airport on Thursday afternoon reported that an object apparently thrown at the motorcade burst into flames beside the Queens expressway.
However, reporters did not actually see the object thrown, and the motorcade continued on routinely to the airport.