WORSE Than Carter?

I know, if you were born after 1976 and actually lived through the disastrous four years of the Carter administration, you are probably thinking that nothing could ever be worse than that. You might recall the 9.7% unemployment rate, roughly where we are today; or the 13.6% inflation rate, the highest since 1946; or the endless gas lines and rationing. As bad as all that was, there were actually three specific events during the Carter years that were so damaging and long-lasting that we continue to be impacted by them to this day.

During the years of the Carter administration, North Korea, with the assistance of the Soviet Union, rushed undeterred toward developing a massive nuclear weapons program which they ultimately achieved. While Pyongyang was laying the groundwork to manufacture nukes, Carter was making unilateral troop cuts in South Korea and lecturing our ally about human rights abuses. As a result, N. Korea has developed an extensive nuclear arsenal and sold its technology to rogue states around the globe so that both India and Pakistan are now part of the nuclear club and Iran is knocking on the clubhouse door.

Speaking of Iran, on November 11, 1979, a gang of radical Islamic terrorists stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 American civilians hostage for 444 days. It is widely believed that among the terrorists was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (23 at the time), who at the current age of 54, is the  leader of Iran today. During this long ordeal, Jimmy Carter sat paralyzed in the White House not having a clue how to handle the reality of Islamic terrorism. He launched a botched rescue attempt that ended in disaster, and it was not until the day that President Reagan was sworn into office that the hostages were finally released.

Carter signed this bill into law on October 12, 1977 allowing the government to interfere and so over-regulate the banking industry that lenders were essentially forced to extend mortgages to unqualified borrowers. Gee, what could ever go wrong with that? Of course, we know now that this triggered a thirty year bubble in the housing market that finally burst in 2008 shaking the U.S. economy to its core. We will be reeling from this disaster for many years to come.

The parallels between the Carter administration and the Obama administration are just too striking to ignore. Both presidents were swept into power on a euphoric wave of “hope and change” after unpopular Republican administrations. Both presidents are sincere and likeable men. Both face amazingly similar challenges. We know that one of these presidencies crashed and burned after one term in utter failure. Unless Barack Obama can effectively confront the threat of nuclear proliferation, carry on effectively in the war on Islamic terrorism, and grow private enterprise and the economy – NOT big government, he is likely to follow in Carter’s footsteps. So far, it’s not looking real good for President Obama. Can he actually be WORSE than Carter? We’ll know in just two short years.


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