Elections Matter

Many, us included, see parallels between today’s big issues and those of the 1960s and 1970s. Mistakes in both geopolitical and fiscal policies compound over time, often leading to more mistakes. After Vietnam ended badly, US weakness likely encouraged terrorism. The 1972 Munich Massacre of Israel Olympic Athletes, Entebbe in 1976, and finally US hostages held in Iran from 1979 to 1981.

At the same time both fiscal and monetary policy became unhinged. The result was stagflation, with inflation hitting and unemployment approaching double digits. We don’t have room for a complete historical explanation, but Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter each made mistakes in either foreign or fiscal policy that led to these problems.

Then, Ronald Reagan was elected, and while his opponents claimed he would cause nuclear war, the exact opposite happened. Stagflation was ended, the Berlin Wall fell, and the world entered a mostly peaceful era. Elections matter.

With Iran attacking Israel over the weekend, and unsustainable budget deficits eroding the US fiscal situation, we are reminded of the 1970s. In fact, there were two decisions made under President Carter almost fifty years ago that have helped create both of these issues.

We focus on policy, not personality. We are not attacking President Carter himself. He appears to be a very good and decent man. His great charitable work after leaving the presidency speaks for itself and sets a great standard for other former officeholders. In addition, President Carter bucked his party and deregulated both the trucking and airline industries.