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Friday, July 24, 2009

Malaise Forever

Jimmy Carter tells America it's all in your head:
Several of our discussions were on energy, and I have a notebook full of comments and advice. I'll read just a few. "We can't go on consuming 40 percent more energy than we produce. When we import oil we are also importing inflation plus unemployment." "We've got to use what we have. The Middle East has only five percent of the world's energy, but the United States has 24 percent." And this is one of the most vivid statements: "Our neck is stretched over the fence and OPEC has a knife." "There will be other cartels and other shortages. American wisdom and courage right now can set a path to follow in the future." This was a good one: "Be bold, Mr. President. We may make mistakes, but we are ready to experiment."
Which for Jimmy Carter meant bigger and more intrusive government. The energy crisis of the late 1970s had one basic source: price controls. When President Reagan abolished the remaining domestic petroleum price and allocation controls on January 28, 1981, oil began a six year price slide. Much of the "malaise" of the Carter years stemmed from a network of regulations, controls and taxes that had emerged over the previous twenty years. While de-regulation began in earnest under the Carter administration, it was under his successor that the growth of government was slowed and, for short while, even reversed. The problem with Carter's America was a lack of freedom. Barack Obama shows every intention of repeating the economic mistakes of the past. It wouldn't be too far fetched to imagine a Obama Malaise speech circa 2011.

Posted by Richard Anderson on July 24, 2009 | Permalink


Do you mean to tell us that regulation and price controls constrict supply and drive prices higher? Wonder if that only applies to the energy sector ...

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-24 7:26:00 AM

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