By comparison to the Kennedy-Johnson 1964 tax cut or even the Ford administration’s 1975 acceptance of congressional demands for antirecessionary action, the Carter program, as originally presented to Congress at the start of the new Administration, was disappointingly small. The total—some $16 billion, mostly in tax changes–was substantially less than I percent of Gross National Product. The 1964 stimulus was approximately double that figure.
Kennedy-Johnson economists, moreover, started with a less unhealthy economy than did the Carter team. Unemployment in 1962, the year in which Kennedy first sought congressional action, averaged 5.6 percent. In those innocent days, this was an unacceptable figure and the Adminis...
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