In response to the argument that more weapons mean greater security, Cranston counters by saying that the U.S. has been spending more on weapons since the 1950’s and is no more secure. He believes that present commitments to the arms race are weakening our security by alienating our allies and by neglecting our economy. In addition to reducing the defense budget, Cranston has proposed reforms for the Federal Reserve Board and immediate investment in public works projects bridges, roads, mass transit, and veterans hospitals, for example. He has sponsored a bill in the Senate which would make the term of the director of the Federal Reserve end with the term of each president and is supporting a House bill which would tie interest rates to 3% over the level of inflation. He would also like to see the Treasury Secretary sit on the board. “If we can get the economy rolling again, through the combined effects of these job-creating reforms and cuts to the defense budget,” he told the Observer, “we will have the money for the social programs and to reduce the deficit. For every million people you put back to work, you reduce the deficit by $30 million. If we could get six million people back to work, that would take care of a big part of the deficit.” This would not only reduce the drain on federally-funded programs like unemployment compensation but would funnel more money into the country’s ailing Social Security system. That, together with a gradual increase in the retirement age, should pull the agency out of its financial trouble, he said. Cranston also advocates the revival of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, an agency headed by Texan Jesse Jones during the Depression. The body would provide investment capital for heavy industries, like steel, rubber, and railways, and would open avenues for increased cooperation between business, labor, and government. The system resembles some facets of the Japanese economy, with an emphasis on cooperation and long-term growth rather than on reaping immediate, but short-term profits. “We have aided companies like Chrysler, Lockheed, and New York City on an ad hoc basis in the past,” he told the Observer. “I think we need a sustained plan. People don’t often realize, but this would fill a defense need as well. We won’t have to depend on other countries for our rubber and our steel. During WWII, we converted our steel plants to tank plants. If we had a war now, what would we do?” The agency would also formulate incentive plans for workers, including stock options and bonuses for productivity. Political pundits have dubbed Cranston a one-issue candidate who probably can’t go the distance in the presidential horserace, and in Texas with its huge defense industry and defense-minded electorate his support would at first appear to be minimal. Cranston, however, is undaunted and unwilling to avoid confrontation on the tough issues. “I am offering Texans survival,” he said. “Because of its defense importance, it is a targeted area and would be first to be hit. Spending money on defense is one of the worst ways to provide jobs you get fewer jobs per dollar. If trimming the defense budget results in cutbacks here, I would like to provide some reconversion programs, where those people might be trained to work in other areas, like auto manufacturing, railways, steel, and housing.” “I’m offering Texans survival. . . . Because of its defense importance, it is a targeted area and would be first to be hit.” Regarding the plight of the family farmer, Cranston said that he opposes the 23% cuts in Reagan’s current budget proposal and favors providing price supports and federal aid in the development of soil and water conservation plans. “We have the best farmers in the world, and they should be able to produce all they can and make a fair profit. It is immoral and folly to keep our farmers from producing all that they can in this day when millions are underfed.” Although Cranston sticks to discussing the economy and arms control while on the campaign trail, he has taken stands on various other salient issues in the past, including opposing the death penalty and opposing the use of nuclear power for energy. He supports the equal rights movement and the need to protect the environment. He also supports maintaining loyalty to the Israeli government, stressing that any agreement with the Arab countries must not come at the expense of a strong commitment to Israel. Though he is not one of the two frontrunners, Cranston believes that he is in a good position to make a strong showing for the primaries. His campaign organization was rated second only to Mondale’s by U. S. News and World Report, and he has a strong financial base. He has strong organizations in both Iowa and New Hampshire, where two early primaries will be held. While Walter Mondale backed Richard Daley, Jr., and Ted Kennedy backed Jane Byrne, Cranston gave his support to Harold Washington, who went on to win the Democratic nomination for Chicago mayor. Cranston also comes from California, which constitutes nearly 20% of the total Democratic delegation. Most California Democratic leaders, including Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, former Governor Jerry Brown, and Assemblyman Tom Hayden, have endorsed his candidacy. According to Cranston, his experience in the area of arms control together with his single-mindedness of purpose are the factors which distinguish him from the rest of the Democratic pack and which make him best qualified for the presidency. “A President must concentrate the powers of his mind and his office on one or two principal purposes, else he will squander his strength and his substance on the demands of the moment and the crisis of the hour, and his years at the center will waste away,” he said. “I am bringing to this task my knowledge of arms control. I have devoted more time researching that topic than any other candidate in reach of the presidency. I also have a history of bringing people together and striking compromises.” In response to questions about his age he is 68 now and will be 70 by 1984 Cranston laughed and said, “I am younger than Ronald Reagan, and I will always be younger than Ronald Reagan! My age has given me experience and I hope that it has given me wisdom. If anybody doubts my physical fitness, I’d be glad to challenge any candidate to a 50-yard dash.” Cranston has held a world 100-yard dash record for his age group and runs every day. There are those who will say that Cranston’s approach is not the correct approach. It is too idealistic, too drastic, too alarming. But there is a large group of voters who fervently want what Cranston is offering; last summer they were to be found marching in San Francisco and in New York. His success will lie in his ability to mobilize those who support arms control from every sector, not just those active in the freeze movement. If the . oil executive and the realtor and the autoworker are truly concerned about arms control, as Cranston claims, their votes coupled with the support of nuclear freeze activists could give Cranston a decisive advantage next spring. His relentless emphasis on the issue will become palatable to the American public only to the extent that he can show that arms control is inextricably tied to the more visible problem of the sagging economy. If he manages this feat, next fall we could see Cranston emerge from the pack. 14 MARCH 11, 1983 mov.i.114,3.111.
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