WASHINGTON — House Speaker Jim Wright told college presidents Friday that White House "fantasies" about the deficit stand in the way of a renaissance in American education.
The Texas Democrat drew a standing ovation from 300 private college leaders when he ended his speech with an appeal for them to lobby their congressmen to find new funds for education and other social programs.
After recounting conversations he has had with President Reagan at the White House over ways to reduce the huge federal deficit, Wright told the educators:
"What you face and what Congress faces . . . is a mentality in the White House which believes two fantasies: first, that giving tax cuts to wealthy people does not add to the deficit; second, that spending more and more money on military equipment does not add to the deficit.
"Until we can overcome that state of mind, there isn't any money for the things we really want to do," he said.
If Washington is to help "create a renaissance of greatness in American education," Wright said, the only real options are to "reduce military spending to get the money or else we'll have to have some new source of revenue."