Well, the third lesson would be to understand that a windfall profits tax, which is something that’s being encouraged today by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would come with nothing good.
When Carter decided to end price controls on oil, of course he worried that Americans might start to resent the inevitable rise in prices. So in order to offset any political hit that might follow, he urged the Congress to pass a windfall profits tax.
The Congress delivered, so Carter signed a windfall profit tax in 1980, which was repealed in 1988. But as the Congressional Research Service said, the tax was lifted only because it caused the decline of U.S. oil production, disappointing receipts and a greater dependence on imports.
Presidents are the ones that are expected to take full responsibility for different problems that might arise during their time in office, but also to be honest with voters. Carter’s speech that we mentioned earlier in the article was honest somehow, and came from the heart.
Carter even admitted that he worked very hard to put his campaign promises into law, and he admitted that it was a mixed success. However, he also said something about a “crisis of confidence” in America, saying that it “strikes at the heart and soul of our national will.
We can clearly see this crisis growing doubts when it comes to the meaning of our own lives, and a certain loss of a unity in purpose for our Nation.” Even more, in the spirit of this speech that might still resonate to this day, Carter said that there’s “a growing disrespect for the government and for the churches and schools, news media, and any other institution.
This shouldn’t be a message of happiness and reassurance, but it’s the very truth and it should be alarming.” He went on criticizing Americans, saying “in a nation that was nothing but proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and a true faith in God, too many people tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.”
The speech brought Carter an 11-point pop in his approval ratings, but, as you can imagine, the gains weren’t there to stay.
Two days after Carter’s famous speech, he fired his entire cabinet, which only unnerved voters and reinforced the common idea that the White House was adrift. Which leads us to draw the following conclusion: voters wish, want, and expect to see a steady hand at the White House. And Biden doesn’t seem to be one.
If you want to know more about Jimmy Carter’s presidency, you could find out many interesting things in this book.
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