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Worst Economic President

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Herr, Matt

April 2, 2007

Worst Economic President Research Paper

President James Carter is remembered for being extremely caring and one of the best presidents when his charitable work is considered. He was passionate about his fight for increased emphasis on the search for alternate fuel resources. When Real GDP Growth Rate, Unemployment Rate, Inflation Rate, Interest Rate and Personal Income are compared to the eight other presidents that held the office between 1969 and 2004, he is the obvious worst. Although the average personal income during his presidency was the highest, problems arose among every other category. As bad as Carter's statistics were, he doesn't seem to be greatly at fault, as President Ford left him in charge of a trough of the business cycle. On paper Carter is the worst economic president America has seen in the thirty-five years considered.

The Real Gross Domestic Product Growth Rate during Carter's term in presidency was extremely low in comparison to the other eight observed presidents. Carter strongly emphasized better energy policies because in his opinion America relied too much on oil and this reliance proved to be a great negative factor during his term. Gasoline shortages caused by the Iranian Revolution (OPEC) that arose in 1979 forced prices to rise and America was forced to spend more and more money to import these products. Because imports are a leakage from the circular flow, this increase in prices helped to hinder progress with the Real GDP during Carter's term. Because this revolution involved Iran's people attempting to overthrow their current form of government (Iranian) this factor is not in any way Carter's fault and he is in no way obligated to take responsibility for this cause.

Energy issues continued to weaken America's Real Gross Domestic Product in the winter of 1977 (Kirkendall) as a coal strike ensued for 110 days. As much less mining was being done in this time period, coal output numbers suffered tremendously. While the crisis was ended by Carter in early 1978 it was not solved because the injunction Carter put in place left many miners discouraged and refusing to return to work. The lack of coal also hurt businesses and services as "many industries and schools to curtail their operations or close down completely" (Kirkendall). This decline in the number of industries further added to the loss of output, again putting America's Real GDP on a downhill ride. The coal industry going on strike could have been prevented or easily eliminated if President Carter would have provided the contract that the miners asked for. As much as Carter did to support the downsizing in America's dependence on oil, he fell short here; agreeing with the miners' demands would have helped not only Carter's support from the public, but also the economy.

James Carter came to presidency at a very bad time for political officials. He was five years after America pulled out of Vietnam which was extremely bad for domestic morale. Carter won his presidency from Gerald Ford, an inexperienced and unprepared president whose practices were detrimental to the economy. Ford's time in presidency brought about numbers regarding inflation and unemployment that were the "most discouraging figures for the economy since World War II" (Parmet). Although these numbers were so bad, the average unemployment and inflation rates for the entire term (including Nixon's second term) in presidency were actually better than Carter's. This is only because Gerald Ford's time in presidency was not very long. Ford's inability to keep a strong economy could not have been controlled

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