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Walter Heller, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, yesterday predicted a rise in this year's gross national product from $540 to $570 billion, in spite of the surplus in Kennedy's budget for fiscal 1963.
Replying to a questioner who feared that the braking effect of Eisenhower's 1959 budget surplus on the last recovery might be repeated, Heller pointed out that the fluctuation from deficit to surplus in the Kennedy budgets would be much less this year, in a considerably larger economy.
Heller also stressed that passage of President Kennedy's proposed increase in depreciation allowances will stimulate the economy by encouraging investment and reducing the corporate tax load. The Council, Treasury Department, and Bureau of the Budget are considering other tax reforms, Heller told an overflow crowd at Littauer Auditorium.
Listing the Council's major accomplishments during the Kennedy administration, Heller particularly cited the blocking of $3 billion of proposed taxes. He prevailed upon President Kennedy not to increase taxes to match expenditures for the Berlin crisis, since the economic recovery might be impaired.
Among the Council's other major achievements, Heller cited:
* the President's commitment to a "fast, vigorous onslaught on the next recession," which would be enacted through tax reduction and increased public works.
* the Council's excellent economic forecasts. For example, last May it almost exactly predicted the six per cent unemployment rate for 1961.
* the President's commitment to a four to 4 1/2 per cent growth rate during the next ten years.
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