The Tesserae of the Carter Mosaic
Obama’s economic plan is beginning to emerge as something out of the Carter era, like the pieces of an ominous mosaic falling into place: unemployment well over 9 percent, the beginning of inflation with soaring food and gas prices, slow growth, failed Keynesian deficits. All that seem to be missing are gas lines (and some industry experts are predicting $5 a gallon soon), high interest, and inflation across the board. And we fear the latter is on the horizon, given the unprecedented rate at which we are printing and borrowing money.
The presidential reactions to this—sermonizing and petulance amid a rush of officials to the exits—is eerily similar as well. I’ll pass on the foreign policy, only noting the fear that 1977–78, with its lectures on inordinate fear of Communism and multilateral U.N.-shepherded peace, seems a lot like 2009–10, with its reset and outreach diplomacy. I hope 2011 is not a replay of 1979 when, from Teheran and Kabul to Central America, it seemed like everyone (even the Chinese in Vietnam) thought it was past time to cash in theit chips and take their winnings home.