A group of 34 prominent economists, including a Harvard professor emeritus, sharply criticized President Reagan's economic policies this week in a letter to the White House.
The letter, co-signed by Richard A. Musgrave, Hitchings Professor of Political Economy Emeritus, argues that the Reagan program is "based on unrealistic assumptions, lacking credible support in both economic theory and the experience of industrial countries."
Ray Marshall, Secretary of Labor during the Carter Administration, organized the letter, whose signers include Lester Thurow of MIT and Robert Lekachman of the City University of New York.
The letter accuses the President's program of being "extremely regressive in its impact on our society, redistributing wealth and power from the middle-class and poor to the rich, and shifting more of the tax burden away from business and onto low- and middle-income consumers."
Commenting on his decision to sign the letter, Musgrave said Friday, "Reagan's attempt to stabilize the economy by putting the entire burden on social programs while increasing defense spending is objectionable."
He added, "His tax cuts forcing high interest rates is part of a foolish macro policy." "One never knows if this will have any effect on the President, but we felt it was important to speak out," Musgrave said.
A spokesman for White House Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes said Friday that Reagan's staff has not yet prepared a reply.