WASHINGTON — Escalating his confrontation with congressional Democrats over the budget deficit, President Reagan on Thursday declared that he will tour the country this summer and fall to make speeches against what he called the emerging Democratic "tax and spend" budget.
Ringing familiar themes in his Administration's economic policies, Reagan spoke before a sympathetic National Assn. of Manufacturers convention and denounced trade protectionism, new tax increases and critics who claim that the nation is losing its industrial steam.
At next month's international economic summit in Venice, Reagan said, he will reassure the nation's key trading partners that the United States will rein in its budget deficit in exchange for their efforts to spur faster economic growth to absorb more U.S. exports.
Will Put House in Order
The United States "will finish putting our own house in order," Reagan said. " . . . I will spend this summer and fall going to cities and towns all over America. I will be asking the American people to help us keep the deficit spenders in Congress from wrecking America's economic future. . . . It's a fight I look forward to."
He added: "America has come to a time of choosing. Will we complete the work we began six years ago? Or will we go back to the days of tax and spend, stagnation and decline?"
Both the House and the Senate are working on budgets that would provide for new taxes and would exceed the deficit target set by the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction law. Reagan's proposal has called for less domestic spending.
Reagan several times drew applause by threatening, as he has repeatedly, to veto any budget legislation "that raises the American peoples' taxes."
He also reiterated his appeal for a constitutional amendment to mandate a balanced budget and line-item veto power to allow him to prune spending from future budget legislation.
Rebuking Democrats who have cited industrial decline and unequal prosperity, Reagan talked of "jobs, growth and opportunity" and 53 months "of uninterrupted growth--just five months shy of the longest peacetime expansion in American history."
". . . They can no longer talk about fairness--not when we slowed the climb in the poverty rate that they began, and then put the poverty rate into the fastest fall in almost two decades," he said.
He added: "Now they've invented new charges. They say that the American middle class is disappearing . . . and American manufacturing as well. . . . Let's look at those charges: Declining middle class? The truth is just the opposite. More than 60% of those 13.5 million new jobs are in the high-paying managerial, professional and technical occupations," he said, citing a Bureau of Labor Statistics study first published more than a year ago.
"De-industrialization? Since our recovery began, manufacturing productivity has shot ahead at the fastest pace in 20 years."
Reagan dismissed the Democratic charges as "designed to advance a political agenda" that he said includes less flexible trade policies, higher taxes and more domestic spending.