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Old April 1st, 2013, 03:09 AM   #31

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Originally Posted by yakmatt View Post
How can anyone say he made a good ex-president? His work for the downtrodden is commendable but his meddling in the foreign policy of other presidents shows a lack of class and arrogance. His foreign policy was an unmitigated disaster. Building homes is a good thing, interfering the new guys is wrong.

BTW, I did vote for him the first time.
Agreed. He was a cool cat when he focused on Habitat for Humanity.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 03:27 AM   #32

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If it helps, I voted against him twice.
For me there is some real irony in the 1980 election. I hated Reagan. His policies had cost me a business where under Carter I had prospered. In 1987 it was time for me to return to school and finish my BA. I applied to many schools and was accepted at the ones I truly wished to be admitted to, however the one that I chose to attend was Mr. Reagan's alma Mater.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 06:05 AM   #33
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I can't really comment too deeply on his administration, but I've always felt like Jimmy Carter was one of the very few men to occupy the highest office who was an actually decent human being.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 12:58 PM   #34

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I can't really comment too deeply on his administration, but I've always felt like Jimmy Carter was one of the very few men to occupy the highest office who was an actually decent human being.
I agree with you on that one.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 01:07 PM   #35

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I agree with you on that one.
I don't think many would disagree on Jimmy being a decent human being, not even amongst conservatives. His naivete on human nature however... kind of left us with some nasty hot potatoes to deal with, like the Iranian Mullahs pathological hate for us and a few others or North Korea actually getting away with acquiring nukes. So much for good will to all men and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Sorry, the man can build houses for the masses, but he can't arrange a secure world for them to save his life.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 01:22 PM   #36

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There was no need for a hostage rescue mission. Just give the Iranians an ultimatum. There are all sorts of things the US could threaten them with. The Iranian embassy in Washington was still throwing parties months after that started. Give them 48 hours to leave the country.

Various governments under US protection were abandoned and fell, such as Iran, Nicaragua, Ethiopia and Liberia. They may not have been the nicest governments, but neither was what replaced them.

Carter was weak, naive, and idealistic, but he also brought in some left-wing foreign policy appointees who may not have had US interests at heart.

The economy was also a disaster, and it improved immediately was Reagan took over.

He was a certainly very intelligent, talented, and well meaning, but he was not suited to be President.
Well, if you ignore the severe near two year recession at the beginning of Reagan's administration or that the unemployment didn't return to the 1980 level until 1984 and the 1979 level until 1987, then yes, the economy improved immediately.

Last edited by spellbanisher; April 1st, 2013 at 01:29 PM.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 01:51 PM   #37
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I agree with you on that one.
Not so sure if I do. He apparently treated his Secret Service like crap. If true, that's pretty low, considering these were people who voluntarily took a job where they were prepared to take a bullet for him.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 03:58 PM   #38
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How do you threaten Islamic fundamentalists who would actually welcome 'martyrdom'? And as the present nuclear showdown proves economic sanctions would have little effect, especially with the Soviet Union ready to step in.
Firstly I would say you needed the Iranian embassy open in order to negotiate, secondly I would say the diplomats weren't extremists and Carter hoped he could still strike some sort of deal
Yes, there were complications, but when your diplomats are taken hostage, you prepare for war, no questions asked. Not only did he humiliate the country by failing to respond militarily...even if it was to be just a punitive bombing campaign...he also missed a perfect opportunity to reestablish the Shah's rule and ensure the continuance of US influence in Iran.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 04:56 PM   #39
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Well, if you ignore the severe near two year recession at the beginning of Reagan's administration or that the unemployment didn't return to the 1980 level until 1984 and the 1979 level until 1987, then yes, the economy improved immediately.
The inflation under Carter was terrible, and for that, Carter deserves much of the blame. Ford had brought inflation under control, and Carter then proceeded to undo all Ford's hard work.

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President Ford had instituted the generally-ineffective program called WIN (Whip Inflation Now) in October, 1974. However, by November of 1976 the rate had subsided to 4.9% and was 5.2% when Carter took office. Continuous rises brought it to 14.8% in March, 1980, and 11.8% when Carter left office. Since 1982, general inflation has been suppressed below 6.5% and at times has been much lower. What was the inflation rate under Jimmy Carter
Carter criticized Ford's handling of inflation, but as the records showed, it was far superior to Carter's handling. You can not sustain long term economic prosperity with inflation of 11.8% and interest rates of 18%, which is where it was under Carter. Inflation wasn't due to a super hot economy under Carter, it was due to simply poor handling of the economy.

As far as unemployment, it was on a downward trend when Carter took office, a trend he managed to reverse, and by 1980, unemployment was back up to 7.1%, the same as in 1977 when he took office. At least Reagan left unemployment far less then when he took office, 5.5% versus the 7.6% Jimmy Carter left him. And if you blame unemployment, Obama's has seen unemployment rise from 5.8% in 2008 to 9.2% in 2011, among the worse of in the last 60 years.) A brief history of U.S. unemployment - The Washington Post
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Old April 1st, 2013, 07:27 PM   #40

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The inflation under Carter was terrible, and for that, Carter deserves much of the blame. Ford had brought inflation under control, and Carter then proceeded to undo all Ford's hard work.
How exactly does Carter deserve much of the blame? What were the specific things he did that caused inflation to spike?

The inflation of the seventies was two parts supply-side shocks (the oil price spikes) and one part wage-price spiral. There were two dramatic spikes in inflation in the seventies, 73-75 and 79-80, and both correspond with oil spikes.

Click the image to open in full size.

So you have a spike in 73, and even though oil prices didn't come don't to their pre-spike lows, a one-time spike in oil prices will only cause a one time spike in inflation. It happened again in 79.

I also said one part wage-price spiral. Inflation was rising before the first and the second oil spikes, but very slowly. Year by year in the 70s went like this

1970: 5.7
1971: 4.4
1972: 3.2
1973: 6.2
1974: 11
1975: 9.1
1976: 5.8
1977: 6.5
1978: 7.6
1979: 11.3
1980: 13.5

So there is a slow increase in the inflation from 1976 to 1978, two years that saw solid economic growth (4.4% and 5%) before it spikes in 1979 to 1981 from the spike in oil prices. The wage-price spiral was eventually broken by the severe recession Volcker induced in the early eighties. The collapse in oil prices (adjusted for inflation) from $104 in 1980 to $20 in 1986 due to the disintegration of OPEC unity also greatly contributed to a falling inflation rate.

Note on oil spikes of last decade: Those spikes didn't correspond with higher inflation in the United States, but they didn't correspond with higher inflation in China, which was able to offset some of the inflationary effects of oil price rises from massive improvements in productivity. In other words, the United States exported its inflation to China.

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Carter criticized Ford's handling of inflation, but as the records showed, it was far superior to Carter's handling. You can not sustain long term economic prosperity with inflation of 11.8% and interest rates of 18%, which is where it was under Carter. Inflation wasn't due to a super hot economy under Carter, it was due to simply poor handling of the economy.
The record shows no such thing. What the record shows is that presidential policy didn't have nearly as great affect on the economy as what most people think.

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As far as unemployment, it was on a downward trend when Carter took office, a trend he managed to reverse, and by 1980, unemployment was back up to 7.1%, the same as in 1977 when he took office. The unemployment rate was 7.5% when Carter entered office. At least Reagan left unemployment far less then when he took office, 5.5% versus the 7.6% Jimmy Carter left him. And if you blame unemployment, Obama's has seen unemployment rise from 5.8% in 2008 to 9.2% in 2011, among the worse of in the last 60 years.) A brief history of U.S. unemployment - The Washington Post
The rise and fall of the unemployment rate in the eighties was due primarily to Federal Reserve interest rate policy, which had nothing to do with Reagan.


Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

Reagan's major economic policies were deregulation, income tax cuts, and capital gains tax cuts.

The first major deregulatory act was passed by Ford in 1976, which rolled back some regulations of the railroads, but of the three presidents discussed here, Carter was the greatest apostle of deregulation, who deregulated trucking (leading to the "just in time" system of Fedex and UPS), the airlines, rail, telecommunications, banking, and electricity. The legacy of deregulation is a mixed bag, but if you are going to credit it either for higher productivity or lower prices, you have to give as much credit to Carter as to Reagan.

There is no indication that income tax cuts increased productivity (the idea that if you taxed the more productive high-earners less, they would work harder and produce more). Annual Labor productivity growth changed from 1.1% a year in the seventies to 1.3% a year in the eighties, compared to close to 3% growth a year in the fifties and sixties.

Capital gains is also a policy that you can attribute as much to Carter as to Reagan. Carter lowered the effective capital gains tax rate from 39% to 28%, whereas Reagan lowered it to 20% before raising it to 28% again in 1986.

The purpose of capital gains tax cuts and deregulation was to increase capital productivity, which grew a little more in the eighties than in the seventies (from 0.1% a year to 0.5% a year), but that was still well-below the 1.4% a year of the fifties and sixties. But even the little increases can't really be attributed to Reagan's economic policies. The affects of his tax reforms was actually to increase the effective tax rate on new investments. Not that the capital gains tax policy of Reagan or Carter matters, because there is no correlation between the capital gains rate and investment.

Click the image to open in full size.
Warren Buffett Is Right On Taxes -- But It Is Not About Fairness - Forbes

In sum, when you actually look at the policies of the presidents during this time period rather than attributing anything good or bad that happened during their presidencies to individual competence or incompetence, what you find is that geopolitical vagaries, global market fluctuations, and Federal Reserve policy had a much greater impact on changes in inflation, unemployment, and economic growth than presidential policy.

Last edited by spellbanisher; April 1st, 2013 at 07:29 PM.
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