President Carter is "the worst political failure of the past year," says Conrad Ahlers (a member of West Germany's parliament and editor of the Hamburg Morgenpost), and his recent nine-day tour of foreign countries was "simply a continuation of this malaise." The London Daily Express has commented on Carter's "incredible blunders, boobs, and ham-fisted comments" and asked, "Just what will he do wrong next?"
The stock market's recent slide is "an indictment for ineptitude," says The Wall Street Journal. Monte Gordon, director of research at the Dreyfus Corporation, notes that "Mr. Carter is losing control and lacks the ability to react intelligently and aggressively to the events that could damage the economy's expansion."
"My guess is that the (stock) market's going lower," said financial writer Dan Dorfman in the January 23, 1978 issue of New York. "How low is anybody's guess. But how can anyone predict a bottom when every bright financial mind you talk to tells you unequivocally that the man running this country is inept and does not know what he's doing."
It is chilling to scan the world's press and watch the horrifying mountain of disdain that — day by day — President Carter is building for himself by plunging the United States into a new Dark Age. Right or wrong, the international political and financial leaders of the planet increasingly see Carter as a two-bit, self-righteous, know-it-all cracker from an obscure southern state who has absolutely no business sitting in the White House. They see Carter as naive, surrounded by nose-picking Georgia boys, in far over his head on almost every important affair of state, and unable even to comprehend the terrible damage that his on again/off again policies are wreaking on the world's balances of power and its economy. They see him as unpredictable, capricious, spineless against the Russians, and aloof and uncaring toward this country's friends and their very real financial problems. They freely state that his "leadership" threatens to plunge us all into economic panic, regional and worldwide dictatorships, war ... or some combination of the three.
"Your president brags about his engineering background, his organizational abilities, his high moral character," says one highly placed European. "Yet he does not seem to know how anything works, his policies have everyone off balance and are turning the world's money markets into shambles, and he appears to delight in insulting those who want to help him the most. We do not understand such a man."
For this reason (Carter scares the people who count) and others, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has an uncomfortable feeling that the economic collapse Mr. Rhoads has just predicted for 1981 could hit us all long before then. The straws are already in the wind.
Domestic automobile sales here in the U.S. (which were supposed to be up) are heading down ... the speculative boom in California housing and Midwest farmland has topped out ... heavy truck inventories are "mysteriously" high once again, just as they were before the crash of 1974 ... pension plans are falling apart all over the country ... as already predicted, Carter has just submitted a half-trillion-dollar budget to Congress ... the new higher minimum wage and increased social security taxes (have you looked at your paycheck lately) are already squeezing more lower-skilled people out of the labor market and onto the federal dole (for you to support) and the worst is yet to come. The U.S. balance of payments continues to worsen (that means more inflation and higher prices for you) ... bankruptcies are up in France ... Japan's economy is floundering ... Germany's bankers complain that Carter's active neglect of the U.S. dollar (it's been falling for months on world markets) is forcing them to finance what prosperity remains in this country ... the first signs of "protectionism" and "trade wars" are breaking out as desperate nations (including the U.S.) each seek to increase exports and limit imports ... New York City's financial troubles — which never really went away — are back bigger and more ominous than ever (the city may well be declared bankrupt this time) ... the overall trend of the stock market is still down ... the nation's banks are dangerously illiquid ... the depression has already started for U.S. farmers and thousands now stand on the verge of losing everything they own ... direct marketing sales (which always seem to turn up and down before the rest of the economy) have been sliding for months ... the price of gold, silver, and other "real wealth" continues up as those in the know convert their worthless paper money into tangible goods ... sunspot activity — which always slightly precedes Northern Hemisphere droughts — hit its low for this cycle in late '76, and rain and snow are falling once again in the western half of the U.S. (that's the good news ... the bad news is that increased sunspot activity accompanies war, turmoil, and economic troubles ... and guess what the sunspots are doing now?).
And so the world — with its greatest nation in the hands of incompetents and fools — continues its long, slow slide into a new Dark Age.
We had All The Answers back in the late '40s and the early '50s. Remember? And now we have none. Economists are baffled by the economy. Politicians make bland speeches (the recent State of the Union Address, for instance) that vaguely promise all things to all people ... but never really address any of the problems which face us. Our government defrauds the money that it, itself, issues. Our food industry poisons us with herbicides, pesticides, preservatives, colorings, flavor enhancers, and God knows how many other additives. Our educational system is in the hands of idiots. Criminals are turned loose daily to prey again and again on dwindling numbers of honest citizens ... while those vanishing decent people are forbidden even to arm and protect themselves. And soon throughout our society.
Don't ask what the new Dark Age will be like. The twilight is already settling in around us.
Are you prepared for the worst that can happen? Do you know how to raise your own food ... and do you have a place to do exactly that? Are you still at the mercy of the utilities ... or have you already started construction of a snug underground house that you can solar heat during the chaos that looms ahead? Have you a year's supply of food for every member of your family safely stored away? Do you have some gold and silver coins, a few cases of liquor, and other "always valuable" trade goods on hand to see you through the times when paper money — as always happens sooner or later — is no longer "worth the paper it's printed on"? Do you have barterable skills? Are you well stocked with how-to books on gardening, canning, making do? And are you prepared — when it comes right down to it — to defend all these things from the rabble that haven't made such preparations?
It is a terrible thing to have to make such plans for the future. It is even more terrible to watch — as we all have watched for the past 30 years — our world steadily slide from the sunshine that it once enjoyed ... into the coming gloom. And it is more terrible yet to see the "leader" of this once-proud nation so smugly, so arrogantly, so self-righteously, and so stupidly accelerate that slide.