Thursday, September 21, 2023

the last book I ever read (Jimmy Carter: The American Presidents Series: The 39th President, 1977-1981, excerpt four)

from Jimmy Carter: The American Presidents Series: The 39th President, 1977-1981 by Julian E. Zelizer:

The euphoria over the accord faded quickly. By April, when Carter put forth another energy program, the general mood of the country was sour. Approximately 50 percent of the gas stations in the United States did not have fuel and the stations that had fuel were charging prices that were 50 percent more than the year before. Drivers were forced to line up for gas, frequently for over an hour, on specified days.

President Carter’s new energy plan included decontrolling prices and a windfull profits tax on oil companies to finance mass transportation and subsidize fuel for lower-income families. Carter also proposed the development of alternative energy sources and new mechanisms for energy conservation. The plan revolved around the theme of sacrifice: consumers would be forced to accept higher prices and use less energy.

While there was initial support for the plan, opponents quickly mobilized. New England Democrats opposed to higher heating prices in what was a very bitter winter allied with southern Democrats who rejected the windfall profits tax. Many Republicans joined in this coalition. With gas shortages spreading throughout the country, Carter’s proposal for more sacrifice did not sit well with his party.

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