Has Anybody Seen Jimmy Carter Lately?

When the central bank is rapidly creating more dollars and the cost of your daily existence is rapidly increasing, do you feel better knowing that other Bernankes in other countries are doing the same thing?

Tim Cavanaugh
Reason Magazine

Veiled within the news that Ronald Reagan handily topped a recent Gallop poll of Americans’ favorite presidents is a pretty clear mandate: We want somebody to make the 1970s end.

This is not the swinging ’70s of fond memory (a period during which the nation actually experienced a surge in nostalgia for the 1950s) but the brutalizing fiscal ’70s of stagflation, soaring gas prices, President Jimmy Carter’s national “malaise,” and then-California Gov. Jerry Brown’s “era of limits.”

With a Carteresque president, a scolding yet permissive Federal Reserve chairman who inspires even less confidence than Nixon-appointed Fed chief Arthur Burns, and Jerry Brown himself back in charge of the Golden State, the United States is experiencing a grim and pleasureless sensation of ’70s nostalgia.

This retro-shock is showing up in political and media rhetoric. President Obama got the ball rolling in May 2009 by announcing “We’re out of money now.” Jerry Brown’s most memorable quote since returning to the office of governor has been a shocker about the state budget: ““It is much worse than I thought. I’m shocked.” Succumbing to the spreading panic, Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein recently let loose a closing-all-the-exits lamentation:

Now, even three years after reality came crashing down, we have only just begun to figure out how to bring about the reduction in living standards that will be necessary to create a sustainable balance. Will the pain come in the form of prolonged high unemployment? Or wage and salary cuts? Or reduction in the value of homes and financial assets? Or loss of ownership of American companies? Or price inflation? Or higher taxes? Or reductions in government services and benefits?

The article continues at Reason.com

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