The Worst financial crisis since… Jimmy Carter?

How many times in the last month have we heard that our nation’s current fiscal dilemma is the worst since the Great Depression?

How soon we forget.

If you didn’t live through it, according to figures published in USAToday, and elsewhere, when Ronald Reagan entered the Oval Office vacated by Jimmy Carter, consumer inflation was at 12.4% (now it’s around 1%)!  The prime lending rate was above 15% (now it’s around 4%), and unemployment hovered for a while in DOUBLE-DIGIT territory (today it’s at 6.5%)!

This is not to mention the hostage situation reaching its 444th day (they were released from Iranian hands, taking off in a plane during Reagan’s Inauguration address)!  During the campaign, he had said, if elected, their captivity would not last another 444 days.  Indeed, it did not.

Clearly, we are in the midst of an economic storm that, if not managed well, could spell real and long-lasting heartache for billions of people world-wide.  But since consumer confidence is so crucial to any recovery and renewal, perhaps it is a good thing to note that we have seen and dealt with FAR worse, MUCH more recently than the 1930’s.

Whenever times are tough, perspective is as valuable as any short-term profit and loss.  Let’s hope our new President will be afforded such in the coming days, and that some will rub off on the rest of us as well.


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