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3/19/09 1 Jimmy Carter 1977-1981 A. Election of 1976 Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale Democrats Gerald R. Ford and Bob Dole Republicans Ronald Reagan Independent •Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were similar as presidential candidates in that they both capitalized on their status as Washington outsiders •Carter capitalized on his theme of “trust”… no one in the nation had any reason to distrust him •Carter seemed to be an early leader, then Ford caught up when many wondered if Carter could be a national leader •Ford hurt his own chances when he made some key mistakes … during a TV debate he mistakenly said the Soviet Union did not dominate Eastern Europe! •In the end it actually turned out to be a closer election than expected
3/19/09 2 B. Domestic affairs Staff Problems •Carter brought a lot of his buddies from GA with him to Washington •Many of them had no idea how difficult it was to work with Congress, how to get key legislation passed, etc… •Carter’s brother, Billy, also posed an embarrassment… he started to brew his own beer –Billy Beer •He also took a loan from friends in Libya for $200,000… it looked like family business was tied to foreign affairs 1.Economy •Stagflation hits – High inflation – High unemployment – Productivity shows no increase (stagnant production) – US goods are less competitive in the market place •The combination of recession and high inflation in the 1970’s raised doubts about the effectiveness of Keynesian economics •In attempt to help the economy, Carter cut gov’t spending – Most cuts came in social programs angering Democrats •At the same time, the economy slowed down increasing unemployment and business failures •Interest rates soared to close to 20% •Americans were devastated by the economy
3/19/09 3 • Deregulation – Another economic move was toward deregulation •The reduction or removal of gov’t controls of several industries •Carter argued that regulations hurt competition and increased consumer costs •Carter proposed removing controls on prices for oil and natural gas, RR, trucking and airlines •For the next 2 administrations, we see broad sweeping deregulation in America 2.Energy Crisis •We rely heavily on foreign oil •OPEC has been steadily raising oil prices since our support of Israel in the Yom Kippur war in 1973 resulting in rising prices, shortages, and long lines at the pump •In response, Carter created a comprehensive energy program – He asked Americans to drive less – Use less fuel to heat or cool homes – He created the Department of Energy – Look for new energy sources – Carter called it a “Moral equivalent of War”… critics called it MEOW!