We did not reach the full flowering of the catastrophic Carter era until the final year of Jimmy Carter’s single term as president. Carter achieved failure on a grand scale in both domestic and foreign policy, culminating in the Iran hostage crisis and related fiascos. This is of course ancient and unknown history to most Americans today.
Joe Biden has given us that “Memphis Blues Again” feeling in the first months of his seemingly interminable administration:
[D]eep inside my heart
I know I can’t escape
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again
When it comes to the Carter blues again, we are much closer to the beginning than we are to the end.
Marc Thiessen provides a quick refresher in the Carter blues in his Washington Post column “It’s the 1970s all over again, and Joe Biden is the new Jimmy Carter” (the link is to the accessible AEI version). This is how it goes:
Want proof that the Biden administration is really the second incarnation of the Carter administration? We have runaway inflation, Americans trapped overseas, a member of the first family who tried to do business with Libya and a president begging the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC Plus) to increase oil production. It’s like the 1970s all over again.
Gas prices have risen $1 a gallon since Joe Biden’s election, while crude oil prices have doubled since November to $83 per barrel — and some analysts predict they could rise by another $10 before the end of the year. Natural gas prices have shot up more than 150 percent in the same period, which means winter heating bills for the half of American homes that use natural gas are projected to be 30 percent higher than last year — 49 percent higher in the Midwest.
This is the result of deliberate policy choices….
The Reagan administration delivered a laboratory experiment in the efficacy of conservatives approaches to undoing the harm of leftist policies. In the Biden case, however, it is the preceding administration that proved up the conservative case, as with respect to energy policy:
Under Trump, the United States became an energy superpower. He withdrew from the Paris climate accord, approved the Keystone XL pipeline, opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration, rolled back Obama-era regulations such as the Clean Power Plan that held back domestic exploration and production, and enabled the United State to supplant Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. That not only created millions of jobs, it made America energy independent for the first time in years. And it transformed the national security landscape, strengthening the United States vis-a-vis Russia, China and Iran.
Now Biden seems determined to cede our status as an energy superpower. In just a few short months, he has brought us back to where we were in the Carter years — pleading with a foreign oil cartel to increase production rather than increasing production ourselves.
For good measure Biden throws in humiliation along with immiseration. Thiessen’s column gives us a head start on a theme we will have the opportunity to revisit in the days ahead.