From the Right



That '70s Show -- Is Biden Taking America Back to the Age of Jimmy Carter?

Stephen Moore on

Everything that is happening in our fractured nation today seems so worrisomely reminiscent of America's last lost decade -- the 1970s.

For those who don't remember, the late 1970s under part-time President Gerald Ford and then much worse under President Jimmy Carter was one economic and national security setback after another.

The witches' brew of high inflation of 7% to 10% by 1979 and ever-increasing tax rates -- which rose as high as 70% -- drove the economy into a ditch. Real family incomes cratered under Carter because inflation rose so much faster than family take-home pay. Homes became unaffordable, with interest rates on mortgages skyrocketing up to 17%. Gas prices tripled. Carter blamed "Big Oil" and "invested" in pipe-dream green energy alternatives that all went bankrupt.

Every time inflation rose, the economic whiz kids in Washington assured us the high prices were just temporary. (They didn't use the term "transitory.") When prices kept rising, Carter blamed corporate greed and installed price controls and windfall profits taxes -- which only made problems worse.

On college campuses, we saw student protesters occupying the offices of the college presidents. Race riots turned our inner cities into powder kegs.

Because America was so weak at home, our enemies abroad capitalized as Soviet tanks rolled into Afghanistan and troops into Nicaragua, while Iran held Americans hostage.


Federal spending and debt soared, and the private sector started shrinking.

Carter's response to the bad news was to point at the American people and lecture us to turn down the thermostat, put on a sweater, and learn to live with less. But even he didn't threaten to abolish air conditioning and gas heat.

The new term that slid into the American lexicon was "stagflation." This was the combination of high prices and sluggish economic growth.

Does any of this sound familiar?


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A.F. Branco RJ Matson Tom Stiglich John Darkow Pat Byrnes Steve Kelley