We Are Re-Running 1973-74

Board, Blackboard, Economy, Inflation, Money

Image Source: Pixabay

Although it represented my youth, I am by no means nostalgic for 1973-74. In Britain, it gave us a banking crash, the 3-day week, the lead-up to 25% inflation, and the most left-wing Labour government Britain ever had. In the United States, it gave us the nullification of 1972’s landslide election victory, a resurgence in commodity inflation, a Presidential resignation, and “Whip Inflation Now” buttons. Globally it gave us the 1973 oil crisis, the first major crack in Western political/economic hegemony. I had hoped we had left that period behind forever, but alas we seem fated to repeat it, albeit with different details.

In the United States, the key event of 1973-74 was the annulment of President Richard Nixon’s landslide 49-state 1972 election victory by the left and the media through the Watergate investigation, leading to Nixon’s forced resignation. This was a more consequential Presidential attempted impeachment than those that followed against Bill Clinton and the two against Donald Trump because the election result that it nullified was far more decisive than Clinton’s moderate 1996 victory or the close 2016 election that elected Trump (the second Trump impeachment was even less consequential since it occurred only after he left office).

Nixon’s 1972 landslide was not due to any sudden affection that the populace felt for Nixon, a politician whom it was difficult to love though impossible not to respect. Nor was it due to any nuanced preference for his fairly vague policies, even his foreign policy expertise (the Vietnam War had in any case not been “won” at the time of the election). It was due to a mass electoral revulsion against the social, political, and economic changes of the late 1960s, and even of much of Nixon’s own first term, which had been dominated domestically by a heavily Democrat Congress. Essentially, the electorate was voting heavily for a return to the social tranquility and economic freedom of the 1950s and early 1960s. The 1972 vote was not a vote against civil rights but against hippiedom, Big Government, and the domination of political and media life by the radical followers of George McGovern. Needless to say, the electorate did not get a reversal of the 1960s, much to its and our subsequent regret.

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(The Bear's Lair is a weekly column that is intended to appear each Monday, an appropriately gloomy day of the week. Its rationale is that the proportion of "sell" recommendations put ...

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