GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Former President Gerald Ford had some advice today for President Reagan: ignore the 'gurus of Wall Street' and 'stick to the course' the administration has set for carrying the nation to economic recovery.
The one-time rivals for the presidency both were in Grand Rapids today for the dedication of Ford's presidential museum, and Ford said he reassured Reagan that the administration's economic policies are sound.
Although the financial community has yet to demonstrate its confidence in the Reagan program, Ford said that uneasinessis a temporary problem -- and one that should not be an overriding consideration to Reagan.
'He shouldn't let the gurus of Wall Street decide what the economic future of this country is going to be. They are wrong in my opinion,' Ford said on ABC's 'Good Morning America.'
'I think they are taking the wrong position down the road. Nevertheless, they're a problem. And he has to weather that attitude and stick to the course. And if he does, I happen to be optimistic that it will turn out well.
During an interview on NBC's 'Today' show, Ford recalled the problems created for his administration by the recession of 1975. 'But we didn't back off it,' he said, 'and by 1976, things looked pretty good.'
Reagan 'has to stick with it,' Ford said. 'He ought not to be diverted by some heavy weather that is developing at the present time. I think the system, the concept, is sound. And if he just persists, we'll start to see some sunshine coming.'
Reagan is preparing a new round of cost-cutting measures in an attempt to demonstrate his commitment to balancing the federal budget. Ford said one of the steps Reagan indicated he would take -- proposing a delay in cost-of-living increases for federal benefit programs such as Social Security -- presents the administration with a tough set of political questions.
'It's a very tough issue,' he said. 'What they may have to do is let the crisis get worse. And when the situation really looks like the Social Security fund is on the verge of bankruptcy, then everybody will say, 'Well, maybe we ought to do something.''