Economic Outlook: The Mismanagement of the United States Economy

The mismanagement of the United States economy falls on our economists and politicians. Anyone who is not at least mildly panicked about the inflation outlook for the U.S. does not recognize the seriousness of the situation.

| July/August 1978

Learn about the mismanagement of the United States economy and why our economists and politicians share guilt in causing these problems.

The Mismanagement of the United States Economy

Regular readers of this column know that it has repeatedly pinned today's terrifying inflation, steady erosion of social values, and most of the other ills which now plague the world squarely on the fuzzy-brained, give-everybody-everything politicians and economists who have so drastically mismanaged the planet's economy since the end of World War II.

And, for a long time, it did about as much good as hollerin' down a rain barrel. But the tide is beginning to turn! All of a sudden, in fact, it seems that everyone — from U.S. Senate staffer to liberal college professor to ghetto resident — is beginning to understand how we all got into the fix we're now in . . . is beginning to understand that mushrooming Big Government — and the pinheaded bureaucrats which staff it — is the cause of (and in no way a solution for) the problems we currently face. Some evidence: "I don't really think government can do much about inflation," said Little Jimmy Carter back in the spring in answer to a newsman's question. Well, maybe our President really is that naive (after all, he did say he'd never tell us a lie) . . . but Business Week magazine isn't. The periodical's May 22, 1978 issue — in fact — was built around a hard-hitting cover story ("The Great Government Inflation Machine") that laid the cards out on the table where even a barefoot boy from Georgia could see them. Some quotes:

"Anyone who is not at least mildly panicked about the inflation outlook for the U.S. does not recognize the seriousness of the situation . . . . The grim fact is that the country is caught in the grip of the worst, most prolonged, and most pernicious inflation in its history. Inflation has reached the point where it is destroying the nation's efforts to achieve solid economic growth, is wrecking the financial markets, and is blasting the retirement hopes of everyone over 65 years of age . . . . And this is happening because of — not in spite of — the way that the democratic decision-making process works in Washington . . . . The real villain is the federal government which has been running huge deficits for years.

"For a decade and a half, the U.S. has pursued seductive, self-deluding economic policies . . . . Instead of contributing to the well-being of the nation, these policies have generated a disastrous rise in costs and prices that strains the fabric of American society and threatens to paralyze the American economy. If President Carter plunges ahead on the same course, he will risk not just a painful inflation and a subsequent depression but a breakdown in the whole economic and political structure of the country."

Are taxes starting to get you down? Do you sometimes feel that the government now asks too much? Does it frequently seem that all those federal taxes, state taxes, county taxes, sales taxes, inventory taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, social security taxes, and all the other taxes that you now "voluntarily" pay . . . add up to an intolerable burden?

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