I am just old enough to remember the latter half of the 1970s – the Jimmy Carter years. I remember the Iranian hostage crisis and the botched rescue attempt. I remember my parents trying to purchase a home when interest rates were at double digits. Most of all, I remember a sense of malaise, a feeling that America had seen its best days, and that the sun was setting on the American dream. It took the election of Ronald Reagan to pull America out of its ‘funk,’ and restore American greatness.
Fast forward 50 years to the 2020s — the Joe Biden years — and the similarities are striking and frightening. We have an unpopular Democrat President, we are facing rising energy costs, crime runs unchecked in our streets, rank-and-file military personnel are demoralized, and the United States is no longer respected on the world stage.
There is one major difference between the situation in which the United States found itself in the 1970s and that which we find ourselves today. Today, all our pains are self-inflicted. Three examples prove the point: the economy, our energy crisis, and crime.
The economy of the late 1970s was characterized by high inflation and high interest rates, both in the double digits. Inflation in 2023 is worse than the legacy media reports. The March 2023 Consumer Price Index, the standard measure of inflation, increased 5% over the rate in March 2022. However, the CPI in March 2022 had increased 8.5% over the rate in March 2021. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the March 2022 number was, at the time, the largest increase since December 1981. This means that compared to March 2021, the March 2023 inflation rate had increased by a whopping 13.5%. This is comparable to the rates seen in the 1970s.
The cause of the current inflation is simply due to the Biden administration’s monetary policy of printing trillions of dollars and then pumping that money into the economy in the name of COVID relief. Sadly, there is still more government money that will flood into the economy as money from Biden’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act moves from “allocated” to “spent.”
Beyond inflation, today’s energy crisis parallels that of the 1970s.
Sparked by the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, the “Arab oil embargo of 1973 put the United States economy on the back foot, causing fuel shortages, a quadrupling of oil prices and long lines at gas stations,” according to History.com. The auto industry responded by developing smaller, compact cars that achieved much better gas mileage than the larger cars that were popular at the time.
In the 2020s, the high cost of gas is being driven by the energy policy of the Biden regime. President Biden has canceled pipelines, delayed, or canceled drilling permits throughout the nation, and has stated that the age of fossil fuels is over. This increased the price of oil up significantly. In a purely political move to temporarily reduce gas prices, President Biden began draining America’s Strategic Oil Reserves, even selling some of that oil to China.
Unlike the 1970s, the free market is not driving the innovation to address today’s energy crisis. Instead, the government is picking winners and losers, bowing to the “green” mob’s wishes, and pushing for electric vehicles — vehicles that require minerals mined in Africa, owned by the Chinese, in order to create batteries manufactured by Chinese companies.
It isn’t just economic factors bringing us back to the 1970s, but crime as well. Those of us of a certain age remember the dystopian hellscape that was our major cities in the 1970s, especially New York City. Burned out buildings, murders, and drugs ruled the Big Apple. Long before Times Square became a tourist attraction, it was a cesspool of prostitution, porn shops, and strip clubs.
The murder rate in the United States has fallen since 1979, from 10.4 murders per 100,000 people to 6.52 murders per 100,000 people in 2022. Nonetheless, since 2019 virtually all forms of crime are on a steep incline, especially in our inner cities. Again, these are self-inflicted wounds as progressive prosecutors refuse to prosecute crime and legislatures across the country continue to pass “no cash bail” laws, effectively creating a revolving door at every jail and courthouse in America.
The parallels between 1970s America and in the America of the 2020s are eerily similar. One can argue, however, that the problems of the 1970s were driven by both world events and poor policy. Today, however, our woes are self-inflicted.
Who will be the next Ronald Reagan to ride into town on a white horse and restore America’s glory?
Jim Nelles is a supply chain consultant based in Chicago, IL. He earned a BA from Northwestern University in Economics and French as well as a Masters in Management from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Business. After attending college on an NROTC scholarship, Jim served his country as a Naval Officer. He has served as a Chief Operations Officer for multiple companies.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.