Inflation is on the rise. Some fear that we are about to return to the 1970s. Edward Berkowitz writes that we're not going there:
There appear to be some similarities between now and then. Jimmy Carter, who lived in the White House from 1977 to 1981, presided over a weak economy that turned him into a one-term president who faced a challenge from Edward Kennedy and the liberal wing of his party for the 1980 nomination. Joseph Biden worries that a deteriorating economy might make it impossible for him to pass his legislative agenda and win a second term.
Both presidents faced significant outside threats. Carter inherited the Opec – a very familiar acronym to people at the time – oil crisis from his discredited predecessor who was nearly impeached, and Biden inherited a pandemic from his predecessor who was impeached twice. Both of these crises led to economic problems: not enough gas to support the American lifestyle in the 70s and shortages of many goods due to supply chain problems in this decade.
But there are all kinds of differences:
One can always find parallels, but the country was different during the tenure of outsider Carter than it is in the administration of insider Biden. In the 70s, baby boomers entering the labor force found it hard to get jobs. In the 2010s help wanted signs seem to be everywhere.
Simply put, things were worse then than they are today, and it might help us to remember that in the present overwrought atmosphere in which pundits pontificate about a return to the bad old days of the 1970s.
That's not to say that we don't face challenges. COVID hasn't gone away. And superstition and conspiracy theories are everywhere. One thing is certain: the solutions depend on evidence and reason -- not paranoia.
Image: Idle Hearts