JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Vice President George Bush, lecturing a breakfast-hour business audience on economic philosophy and then firing up a partisan rally crowd at midday Tuesday, attacked a centerpiece of Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis' economic program Tuesday, labeling it "the same old heavy hand of government."
In a speech that was long on economic policy goals and short on specifics about how he would trim the nation's approximately $150-billion budget deficit, Bush criticized "the pessimists (who) said it couldn't be done" when President Reagan proposed lower taxes and less government regulation, and likened Dukakis' campaign to "a Magical Mystery Tour."
Bush's speech to a breakfast meeting of a business executives' group in Chicago kicked off a campaign day that continued with a rally here and ended in downtown Los Angeles at a dinner that was expected to raise at least $1 million for the state Republican Party.
Speaking to about 800 party contributors at the Bonaventure, Bush stressed the importance of California to his campaign and said: "We are not going to give an inch of California soil to the liberal governor of Massachusetts."
He said that Dukakis fails to recognize the role of the United States as the leader of the West and that the Democratic presidential nominee looks at the Pentagon and says: "Cut, cut, wherever, cut." The vice president added: "I want a cost-effective Pentagon, but I want a stronger America."
Today, the vice president is scheduled to address a Latino group in Orange and a rally in Fresno and then tour San Francisco's Chinatown before taking part in another fund-raising dinner in San Francisco.
In the address to the Executives Club of Chicago, Bush offered four principles guiding his approach to the nation's economy: No tax increases, "solid, far-reaching growth," increased economic decision-making by business and workers, and "international economic leadership."
Bush also declared: "Now is not the time for Americans or for our trading partners to take refuge in 'economic patriotism,' " which he said was Dukakis' "term for protectionism."
Criticizes One Program
The only specific Dukakis program Bush criticized was his "Fund to Rebuild America," intended to help local communities boost their economies with limited protection from foreign competition and with tax advantages.
The Massachusetts governor has estimated that it would cost $500 million and has said it would channel federal grants to spark economic development in depressed regions of the country.
"My opponent calls this kind of government the 'helping hand,' " Bush said. "Well, where is the helping hand reaching? Right for your wallet. What will pay for that helping hand? Your money. And who is being helped? Not you. It's government in Washington picking the 'winners and losers.' "
He said the only jobs that would endure were those "on the public payroll."
"This isn't a helping hand, it's the same old heavy hand of government. And just wait until Congress gets its hand on that pork barrel. The hand will get heavier and heavier," he said.
In one of the few lines that drew applause from the audience at breakfast, Bush said: "Real family incomes for each income group of the population fell under Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. They have grown under Ronald Reagan and George Bush. It's that simple."
Bush argued that "free market ideas are taking hold around the world," including in China, the Soviet Union, and, he said, even in Libya, where he predicted that "soon you see (Col. Moammar) Kadafi wearing one of those Adam Smith neckties." Smith was an 18th-Century economist who is the patron saint of free market economics.
Bush sought to draw differences with Dukakis over tax increases. The vice president has promised that he would not raise taxes under any circumstances, and Dukakis says he would take such a step only as a last resort.
"The surest way to kill the (economic) recovery is to raise taxes. That will stifle everything from investment and personal savings to consumer spending," Bush said. "It will invite a recession. Yet that's exactly what many in the other party want to do--raise taxes."
Mentions Capital Gains
Bush said, but only in passing, that he favored cutting the capital gains tax, a step that Dukakis says would give those making $200,000 a year a tax break of $30,000.
Bush said the federal budget deficit must be brought down "the old-fashioned way, by controlling government spending," rather than by increasing taxes.
But he has not said what programs would be cut. Michael J. Boskin, Wolford professor of economics at Stanford University and Bush's chief economic adviser, said "the vice president has not yet made a list of. . . programs he would be cutting."
"The vice president strongly believes the proper place for these things to be done is in a budget reducing summit personally led by him" after taking office, Boskin said.