CHICAGO -- Former President Gerald Ford, describing himself as a hawk, nonetheless recommends that President Reagan's proposed arms buildup be 'stretched out or slowed down.'
Ford offered a few of his own suggestions for defense, student loans and the economy during a speech Wednesday that drew a standing ovation from about 1,000 people attending a training conference of Deltak Inc., a data processing firm.
Ford said 'the best way to deter aggression ... is to have a margin of superiority in national security -- period.
'On the other hand,' Ford added, 'I do think that the four or five year rebuilding program that the president proposed could be stretched out or slowed down.'
Ford said construction of 100 B-1 bombers Reagan wants built over five years should be extended over a longer time period. Nine months should be added to the four year building schedule for two special aircraft carriers with price tags of $3.5 billion each, Ford said.
Ford said the measures would push some fiscal 1985 expenses into fiscal 1986, reducing anticipated deficits.
The former president defended Reagan's economic plans, saying 'he shouldn't capitulate to short-term political expediency or the country will sufferlong-range catastrophy.'
On another topic, Ford criticized federally subsidized loans to students, saying 'loan repayment is lousy, lousy.'
Efforts by students to avoid repayment are 'unconscionable,' Ford said, adding that students should have to pay more of their own way.