Economic Outlook: the 1980 Presidential Election

On the eve of the 1980 presidential election campaign, one commentator longs for a politician willing to acknowledge the country and world are using up resources too fast and generally mortgaging the future.


| November/December 1979



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Things weren't looking good a year in advance of the 1980 presidential election.


ILLUSTRATION: MALCHEV/FOTOLIA

Even though the next national election is still more than a year away, the 1980 Presidential race—thanks to the manifold weaknesses of Little Jimmy Carter—is already in full swing. (A sampling of the "news" on nightly TV reveals Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor's preoccupation with such burning questions as: Will Teddy run ... or will he? Who's Howard Baker anyway? Can we really stand a flake like Jerry Brown in the White House? And so on. Welcome to Instant Trivia Time.)

Correction. The Presidential race is already in full swing as far as a few opportunistic politicians, the weekly news magazines, some syndicated columnists, and a handful of television reporters are concerned. Right now most of the rest of us seem far more interested in, say, turning out all the lights in Washington, D.C. and bulldozing the whole asylum into the Potomac than we are in watching the inmates play yet another quadrennial game of musical chairs.

And the reason that so many of us little people have become so apathetic about politics, as noted in this space before, is easy enough to understand. It's because of all the lies we've been told. It's because of all the promises that have been made to us and then broken.

It's because we've all learned the hard way that both Democrats and Republicans always spend far more of our money than they should (thereby creating inflation), always raise our taxes, always make life easier for criminals and more difficult for honest folks, always squeeze more family farms and small businessmen out of the economy (while making pious Fourth of July speeches about "self-reliance" and "standing on your own two feet"), always support the dictators of the world (while paying lip service to democracy), always give grain and nuclear technology and our space secrets to Communist nations (while pretending to win overwhelming concessions for free enterprise), always make a great to-do about knocking down straw men while steadfastly refusing to even discuss real issues, and always do a thousand other foolish and venal things that any self-respecting citizen of this republic would not do.

Which is to say we've all learned that both Democrats and Republicans are, first and foremost, politicians. And politicians in this nation always promise law, order, lower taxes, truth, and justice—and always deliver lawlessness, chaos, higher taxes, deceit, and injustice. Or at least that's what they've been delivering without fail for as many years as the average U.S. voter has been alive. And longer.

But wouldn't it be wonderful—as noted here in MOTHER EARTH NEWS—if we could, just once, trade all of those ugly and grasping politicians for a single humble statesman? Just one guy who would campaign by standing up and saying something like:





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