Us Presidents 3042 Essay Research Paper 30 — страница 6

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inherited problems that did not lend themselves to quick solutions. In his first year in office, Ford confronted severe economic problems, including both inflation and recession. At first he emphasized the fight against inflation by proposing solutions that reflected his long-standing personal belief in reduced spending, balanced budgets, and tight money. In early 1975, Ford reluctantly changed his goals to concentrate on relieving recessionary pressures rather than inflationary ones. Unemployment was over 9%, new housing starts were at their lowest point in years, and new car sales were down sharply. Ford urged Congress to cut individual and corporate taxes by $16 billion and to take steps to reduce the national dependence on foreign oil imports. He also called for substantial

reductions in spending in order to hold the prospective federal budget deficits as low as possible. He proposed few new spending programs of his own, and in the course of two years in office he vetoed more than 50 pieces of legislation that, in his view, increased spending and undercut the recovery effort. Democrats, who held heavy majorities in both houses of Congress, argued that the nation could stand greater deficits than those proposed and that federal programs to help people were crucial. Congress, however, was able to override only a few of Ford’s vetoes. By mid-1976 recessionary pressures had eased. Industrial production advanced steadily, making up almost two thirds of the 1973-1975 drop. Nonfarm employment increased by 2.5 million persons, the workweek was lengthened,

and the unemployment rate dropped from 8.9% in mid-1975 to 7.8% in late 1976. Unemployment, however, remained high by historical standards. Inflation continued to plague the consumer, but the rate of price increases dropped dramatically. By late 1976, many of the key economic indicators showed that the economic recovery was slowing down. But administration economic analysts said that such a “pause” was normal. 39. President – James Earl Carter, Jr. Term – January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981 On assuming office in 1977, President Carter inherited an economy that was slowly emerging from a recession. He had severely criticized former President Ford for his failures to control inflation and relieve unemployment, but after four years of the Carter presidency, both inflation

and unemployment were considerably worse than at the time of his inauguration. The annual inflation rate rose from 4.8% in 1976 to 6.8% in 1977, 9% in 1978, 11% in 1979, and hovered around 12% at the time of the 1980 election campaign. Although Carter had pledged to eliminate federal deficits, the deficit for the fiscal year 1979 totaled $27.7 billion, and that for 1980 was nearly $59 billion. With approximately 8 million people out of work, the unemployment rate had leveled off to a nationwide average of about 7.7% by the time of the election campaign, but it was considerably higher in some industrial states. Carter also faced a drastic erosion of the value of the U.S. dollar in the international money markets, and many analysts blamed the decline on a large and persistent trade

deficit, much of it a result of U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The president warned that Americans were wasting too much energy, that domestic supplies of oil and natural gas were running out, and that foreign supplies of petroleum were subject to embargoes by the producing nations, principally by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In mid-1979, in the wake of widespread shortages of gasoline, Carter advanced a long-term program designed to solve the energy problem. He proposed a limit on imported oil, gradual price decontrol on domestically produced oil, a stringent program of conservation, and development of alternative sources of energy such as solar, nuclear, and geothermal power, oil and gas from shale and coal, and synthetic fuels. In what

was probably his most significant domestic legislative accomplishment, he was able to get a significant portion of his energy program through Congress. Other domestic accomplishments included approval of the Carter plan to overhaul the civil-service system, making it easier to fire incompetents; creation of new departments of education and energy; deregulation of the airlines to stimulate competition and lower fares; and environmental efforts that included passage of a law preserving vast wilderness areas of Alaska. Carter was not successful in gaining support for his national health-insurance bill or his proposals for welfare reform and controls on hospital costs. He was unsuccessful also in gaining congressional approval of plans to consolidate natural-resource agencies within