Nighttimes Magazine; 1019
Night times is made possible in part by a grant for the northwest area foundation. A. Live. From the Twin Cities. This is New Times magazine with Mary Stuckey and Michael Boyle. Good evening and thanks for joining us tonight on nigh Times Magazine will find out how the Twin Cities Polish community is reacting to the threatened Soviet invasion of their homeland. I'll talk with economist Walter Heller about how Reagan's economic policies might affect Minnesota and the Midwest. And my time's very own singing commentator Al Fadhli has some investment tips. You won't get from E.F. Hutton. Our first story tonight is an exclusive. Earlier this week Vice President Walter Mondale
slipped quietly into town for a day of private meetings with top DFL and university leaders. While the press has been rife with speculation about his political future the vice president has refused any interviews. But this week Mondale granted nighttimes magazine his first interview since the November election. I began by asking how he felt after the first loss of his 20 year political career. There are mixed feelings one I would rather have one. There were a lot of issues about which a few people do that I think were at stake and the other was a sense of relief. I've been in office for 20 years during most of that time. In fact I would have brought up my pickle purposes the Democrats had been responsible. That is a very heavy burden. These are difficult times and in a sense I was grateful for the chance to have some time off. I
have a feeling that I've been running on empty as I say for about a year and I really look forward to this time it's ahead of me. And so there was a sense of relief as well. You're talking in general I wonder if you can talk about the night or actually the night before the election when you reportedly were told that you were going to lose. How did you feel Carter we all know what Carter did how he felt. How did Walter Mondale feel. I had. Pretty much decided a week before the election that we weren't going to make it. There was still a chance but I had. So my key staff members that I didn't think were going to make it an on election day I sat down with my family and told them that I was almost certain we were going to lose and that it wasn't the end of the world. Things would work out fine in that good country with a lot of strength and we'd have more time to be with each other as a
family than we've had that's one of the costs of politics you're gone so long. Much of the time and I must say I very proud of my family I think they took it very nicely and stood up to that pressure. So that's what happened. Was your loss also a loss for your wife Joan in that your position gave her a platform to influence the arts in America. She did more in four years I think to try to. Articulate the case for artists craftspeople in our country than any person in a long long time. It was a period of great joy for her because she loved every minute of it. She particularly I think did something that I hope continues and that is there are just thousands and thousands gifted artists and craftspeople that no one knows about producing magnificent work because they don't have a name.
They're starving that enjoy going around trying to open our eyes to these people. We should be I would say helping. We should recognize them because they deserve our support. And and she did many many of them so you're very happy about that but like myself it's in a sense it's a really to lay down the burdens of government for short while particularly when it comes to the family. There's something of an institution in Minnesota kind of like the kind of church or something I think do you think so I mean how does that feel. I don't think I am an institution. I do I have been in public life a long time Frank about a comforting feeling. I love the state I love the people. There is a special spirit to the state I think that is hard to describe but it's there. I'm never here but I don't feel better and I've been affected feel good today.
Do you think we understand you as Minnesotans do we have any false impressions of Walter Mondale so much has been written. What is your impression. What about the one that says Walter Mondale is a cautious man who pulls back from some real risks. You usually hear two things One is that I take too many chances and one is I don't take enough so you can take your choice. I've been a I take on the issues that I thought were important. I've been engaged in practically every major. Fight in American political life in the last 16 years. I'm wondering whether you think your association with a politician as unpopular as Carter. Will hamper you in any political further ambitions you may have. I'm proud of these four years and I think history is going to deal very kindly with that. For the first time in over 50 years of ministration finished four years without
having gone to war and I'm proud of that. It may sound like a little thing but it's everything. Secondly we leave office without a single major personal embarrassment and I don't think that's happened in a long time. There's not a single thing that's happened in four years that I have to be ashamed of and that's not bad. So do we. We did a lot of things that were tough unpopular but that had to be done. I heard you through the campaign stress the war and peace issue of Carter's record in foreign affairs. But the economy seems to be what voters voted on isn't it and cut his record there wasn't as outstanding. Let me say a couple things I think first of all one of the things at work here is that the Democrats have been in charge of the federal government for so many years that a lot of people decided let's just try something else. Secondly the that feeling was compound by the difficulties of the days
in which we live. And I think we want to try something else. And it wasn't just in terms of the presidency in terms of Congress as well. And that's their right. They've made the judgment and now the new new team takes over. You'll hear certain members of the Congress the new members say things that they'd like to do. But if they try doing it they'll find the American people will not tolerate it. There's tremendous strength in this nation and it's a just nation. And Miles dense rock for example. One suggestion was to repeal the Voting Rights Act. They won't get away with it the American people do think that Minnesota sort of predated the nation in 78 as Minnesota when 78 the nation went in 1980 was a not that I so I I I can't tell I think we had some in a sense that may be true. Also there were some some problems unique to to our state at that
time that I think made it difficult. The short answer is that we had it anyway she had it the worst thing in Minnesota is when we have our family fights and that's what we had a big one in 78. And what did you learn as vice president that you didn't know as a senator. It was a learning experience I had as vice president was almost unprecedented for me as a matter of fact I can't think of any other rule that one could perform which would be as profound a learning experience as the four years I served as vice president. Particularly in that special role that I played with the president I was with him most of the time I was with him on all major decisions that affect any decision I wanted to be involved in in both domestic and international affairs I had a heavy role to play. And I think I learned more in four years about what it really takes to govern this nation this last four years has been an extraordinary learning experience for me. So.
I feel that it has been I have no regrets. You've been through or told me that if I took this job he said you'll grow you'll be a better man. He said take it when you talk about how much you've learned as vice president about the world to the nation and its problems. One begins to wonder whether that wasn't a training ground for a man who may run for president. That is a very clear possibility but I am deliberately as I said earlier resisting you know making the decisions or it's too soon to say into the you know decision but I let me tell you something else. This is a great country. And there's a lot of strengths to it. I hope that I've been of some help. But I'm not vain enough to think that it requires me in public office. And I think all of us have to be mature when we're in public life and you win some and you lose. And it's the joy of being part of the process the opportunity
to do so is what really counts. Life has been very good to me in our family. The people of Minnesota have been very very understanding kind to me all my public life. I don't have any regrets at all. Mary the vice president was somewhat of a service to his future political plans. Did you get any sense at all what they might be. Well I'm not sure I don't know for sure obviously and I'm not even sure he knows for sure. A lot of people are giving him advice certainly he will be staying in Washington he may take a lot of job a part time lecturing job the University of Minnesota. It seems he has two basic options he can either run for Senate in two years against Dave Durenberger or you can wait until 1994 and run for president. What do the politicos around here think. What's their consensus. Well if he runs for Senate he's probably the one person who has a good chance of beating Durenberger somebody a feller's like that initially might have a platform on which to run for president. By the same token if he waits and runs for president doesn't run for Senate. He may may risk
not winning and therefore not having a race or he might be better if he waited to run for president later and that he be free free like Reagan to campaign. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of Walter Mondale for sure. One of the most trouble spots in the world tonight is Eastern Europe where Soviet troops are reportedly mobilized on the Polish border in the Soviet view. Polish labor union activities have undermined communist control in Poland. Some Pentagon analysts believe that a Soviet military move into Poland is possible any day now. Other observers doubt that Russia will risk an invasion since the Soviets are overextended in Afghanistan and in the midst of a recession and food shortage at home. Nevertheless people who care about Poland are worried tonight. And that includes the Polish community in the Twin Cities. Producer James Steinbach went out and talked with some members of that community today. A vigil in the US from Poland several years ago and is a student at the
University of Minnesota. I think. If such a thing will happen I'm sure the Polish people knowing my nation they would probably fight. And I hope it will not happen because it could lead to a massacre. Because as I say. Polish people they have very tragic feelings about their country and they would always defend their rights. Leonard Pollack caddish an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota feels that the biggest difference between Poland and other Soviet satellites has been its relative independence. So there are certain things which let's say make the Poles feel that they are in fact a different from the other satellite countries that they have achieved certain things that other countries were not able to achieve. Perhaps this also encourages them to take this particular move at this particular time. Edmund Lucas is a retired teacher with the Minneapolis School System
see history has shown Russian influence and Russian interference historically in the affairs of Poland. And there is an unforgiving attitude among the poles. Sorry there may be damn good Catholics but I one point they cannot forgive the constant military involvement or harassment from the Russians and now the Soviets beyond the immediate concerns. There is a deep love for what is still their homeland. Michael DC flies both Polish and American flags in front of his home. He lost both parents when the Soviets occupied eastern Poland in 1940. He worries that in a world so troubled and complicated as today Americans won't have time to be concerned about Poland. And I guess I get angry. I do I wish I had the power to do something about it. I try my best in discussions. I try to tell this to the
Americans that I have contact and I'm in contact with that I work with that I see and some understand and perhaps sympathize but that's all you know. Then it turns to the Vikings did a hell of a job the other day. You know. There's this wonderful we should be. We should have moral Thai interests we should be concerned what Vikings did. That's sports that's healthy. But these are things that are so important we should show a little interest in what's going on. Don't you think. President John Kennedy once told our next guest that he was the first economist he met that came from west of the Mississippi. Walter Heller served for three years as
chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under Kennedy and is presently reagents professor of economics at the University of Minnesota. Michael. Dr Heller you're in the news today in The Wall Street Journal and in the new issue of corporate report that just came out this morning and again here one of your colleagues says that you are responsible for engineering the best economic recovery from a recession in the last 30 years in this country. Now what I want to ask you is this. Could the policies that you used 61 to 64 work with the problems we have today. Well some of the answer to that is partly asked partly no. You have to remember that. When we were coming out of the recession in the Kennedy administration we were dealing with an economy in which inflation was running about one point two percent per year per month. And so we were able to undertake expansionary policies with a good
deal more assurance that it wouldn't run off into inflation than you could today. On the other hand you know economic arithmetic is economic arithmetic when the economy is running way below par and right now bear in mind that factories are only operating at 76 percent of capacity. We've got 8 million unemployed. There is room for the stimulus of a tax cut in this economy today. And of course we're going to get one in nineteen eighty one no question about it that was for a day no matter who was elected. Are you being facetious do you really think it can take place. And well I think no I'm not being the least bit facetious. I think if ever there was a bipartisan consensus piece of economic policy it is that there has to be a tax cut. I'm not saying we'll get the full Reagan 30 percent cut he said 10 percent 10 percent 10 percent. I think that would be too much would be. That would run a lot of inflationary danger along with his big expansion of defense spending. But to step up the pace of economic expansion next
year or perhaps even to reverse a fall back into recession a tax cut of 30 to 35 billion dollars of make good sense and I think we'll get it by the middle of the year. So far in observing what's been said what's been promised as an economic policy what is your evaluation of what is coming to be called Reaganomics. Well the Reaganomics we have to recognize that he is made a triple promise that is going to be terribly tough to bring up and to carry out he's promised number one a huge tax cut. Two hundred billion dollars by 1985. Number two a big boost in defense spending. And number three a balanced budget by 1982 83. And I should add Number four a cutback in inflation. Now one has to say one has to wish him luck. I mean a new president coming in ought to have all the support he can get but that
means either enormous cutbacks in non-defense programs or a tremendous expansion of the economy which could well run off into inflation. So I think he's going to have to cut back somewhere in other in those promises and the cut back will probably come in the second and third installments of those tax cuts I think will get the first one or something roughly you know comparable to it depending on what Congress does. But the second and third I would I think if I were you or if I were a member of our audience I wouldn't yet consider that second and third tax cut is money in my pocket. I'm wondering about the economic policy of this administration that's that's coming into office. How quickly they will have to perhaps prove to the voters who elected them that they are serious. How long will it even last. Well let's start with something somewhat comparable and yet not all that comparable take Maggie Thatcher's government in England. She as prime
minister has five years. Now we in this country have at most two years because you can't wait for the presidential elections if Reagan wants to follow through on his policies. He's got to win so to speak the congressional elections two years from now. So my guess is that he probably has both a two year and a four year horizon and it'll be interesting to see whether he says well now 1981 Let's get the bad news out of the way let's carry out our pledge to do control oil prices natural gas prices and so forth and take all the wallop of those factors as far as they have the inflation rate is concerned and then begin to show some progress in 82 and by 84 have our program really on the table. It's very hard to know what he will do whatever he does it's going to be tougher than he thinks. I mentioned that you also appeared in law Street Journal today and the headline
says chief executives have little use for the predictions of economy. True. No it's not. Let's put it this way. What I said to that reporter by the way which was not reported they just reported my quips was that the planning process that private executives private company executives go through is almost always based first and foremost on an economic forecast for the year or two or three ahead what's inflation going to be whether interest rates are going to be what's the level of consumption going to be and whether they know it or not whether they like economists or not they are basing themselves in good part on economic forecasts so it's a good line but. Not true but not really quite true. Interest rates you mentioned those and those are making news all over in fact made news again today. That's right what's happening what's going to happen are we going to just see an upward spiral to mark 25.
You know we've seen a terrible upward spiral. Remember of course not quite a year ago January February March we were at way up there to about 20 percent the prime rate that it plunged way down below 10 percent. Now it's up again to 18 18 and a half. I think we're very near the crest. I think that it won't be long. You know a few weeks at most a couple of months I would think before we see some relief from the short term rates but long term rates the kinds of things that prospective home buyers interested in mortgage rates and the kind of thing that corporations and the municipalities are trying to borrow money are interested in. I'm afraid those will be first of all rather slow in coming down. I wouldn't expect them really to show any substantial come down until perhaps next spring. I don't know whether I should take in the sort of spring that would be rather late in the let's say a Southern spring but that give me a little bit of leeway
but overall we're going to be stuck with high interest rates for a long time to come. As long as people expect a high rate of inflation and if you or I are lending money presumably we want to get a return equal to the inflation rate plus plus maybe 2 or 3 percent real income. If inflation is going to be a 10 percent those long term rates will hang up there around 13 percent. Dr. Heller thanks for joining us this evening. Enjoyed it. While the stock market remains the primary vehicle for most investments in this country recent years have seen soaring growth in commodities trading especially by Midwesterners nighttimes financial analyst and songwriter al-Sadr introduces us to a new commodities option. And when our Fadden sings Minnesota listens what with inflation the economy who knows what to invest in anymore. Well I've found something better than stocks better than bonds even better than precious metals.
No I didn't know. What to do. If you hate. Spam here's. How. Spam. Or something were to
say you know what. Mark. Bring me an answer. That's nighttimes magazine for tonight. Thanks for joining us tonight.
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- Features in this episode of Nighttimes Magazine include an exclusive interview with Walter Mondale, a look at the Twin Cities' Polish community's reaction to the mobilization of Soviet troops on the Polish border, Michael Boyle speaks with economist Dr. Walter Heller about Reagan's economic policies and how they affect the Midwest, and "singing commentator" Al Fadden provides tips for investing in commodities options.
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