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Let’s Party Like It’s 1976…

October 27th, 2008

A newcomer to national politics, he claimed to transcend partisan labels. He moved to the center during the campaign, at a time when the Democrats held large congressional majorities. In a troubled economy, he told voters he would keep taxes down for most Americans, limit spending, and balance the budget, all while implementing ambitious social programs. He planned to cut military spending to free money for other purposes, but assured moderates and conservatives that when it came to America’s enemies, he would be tougher than the Republicans. The media, droves of moderates, and some conservatives believed him, having pegged him as a man of character.

His name was Jimmy Carter, the year was 1976, and he won. His presidency helps us predict the likely results of an Obama victory in 2008.

This quote is from Mark Moyar who has an interesting article on what we can learn from Carter’s presidency, and what it tells us about a possible President Obama. Let’s explore some history from the  70’s and see if we can learn from it.

Do any of those campaign promises sound familiar? He was going to keep taxes down for most Americans.  He was going to limit spending, balance the budget, and implement new social programs.  Let’s see, lower taxes, limit spending, and . . . new social programs?  Those don’t really go hand in hand.  Either you have to cut programs, or increase tax revenues.  You can’t really do both.  Carter and the heavily democratic congress increased social security taxes, gas taxes, entitlements, federal spending, and the national debt. The late 70’s were an era of stagflation and gas lines.  Great times really.  If you don’t believe me, ask the electorate in 1980.  They threw Carter out in favor of Ronald Reagan with an overwhelming majority.

Right now we have an economy that is struggling. At least is what the media continues to pound into our heads. They continue to tell us how awful it is over and over, just in case we weren’t sure. Will a President Obama that wants to raise taxes help that? I don’t care that he says he is going to lower taxes for 95% of the people.  Only 60% pay taxes right now, so either he is lying, or he is redistributing wealth by given tax refunds to people who don’t even pay taxes. Raising taxes stifles investment and job creation.  Those are both things that our economy does not need right now.

We have to be able to learn from history. That is something that has to be understood.  Carter’s policies of raising taxes and increasing spending brought us 18% inflation. It brought us less economic growth. It gave us higher unemployment. We are already in a period of slightly higher unemployment with lower growth. We don’t need to make it worse by trying things that have already been tried. They have been done before, and they have failed. Taxing the top 5% to give to the lower class won’t help anyone. Do you want a $500 refund from the government if that tax policy causes your employer to cut your job? That is a not a policy that is helpful. That handout sounds good in a campaign speech, but we need jobs to be created right now. We don’t need campaign rhetoric that makes the masses happy.

All of that being said, the scary thing about an Obama presidency isn’t Barack Obama. Just as with Jimmy Carter in 1976, Obama would have a huge majority in congress. Carter was able to pass pretty much whatever he wanted due to the nice majority democrat support he had. This majority was elected because of a very unpopular republican administration. Does Watergate ring any bells?  Any of this sounding familiar yet? Unpopular republican president, democrat majority in congress. Anyways, the Reid-Pelosi controlled congress scares me considerably worse than Barack Obama. The real problem though, is having them both in power at the same time.  If you are upset with what has happened during the republican congress and presidency, switching both branches to the democrats is not the answer.  The branches of our government were set up to be checks and balances.  A huge democrat majority in congress along with a Barack Obama presidency is not balanced.  It is scary. Whether you like McCain or not, keeping congress in check is plenty reason enough to vote for him. Keep in mind, our current congress has an even lower approval rating than GW.

  1. October 27th, 2008 at 23:31 | #1

    I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

  2. October 28th, 2008 at 00:05 | #2

    Thanks, it’s nice to know that people are getting something out of our effort.

  3. October 28th, 2008 at 11:02 | #3

    Yeah–not much of a comment beyond mentioning I enjoyed the article.

  4. May 18th, 2012 at 17:08 | #4

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