The More Things Change…Financial Crises, 1974 and Today

By September 29, 2008Economy

Happened upon this radio commentary and news summary by Mutual’s Fulton Lewis, broadcast on WOR the evening of September 5, 1974. The subject of the segment: the politics of economic crisis. Even some of the actors are the same — Senator Robert Byrd and Bill Seidman are mentioned. The initial topic is a White House Conference on Inflation. Excerpts from Lewis (soundfile here):

  • “President Ford said today he wants the American people to get the unvarnished truth about inflation and they are sick and tired of having politics played with their pocketbooks.”
  • “After Walter Hoadley* of the Bank of America called for ‘upbeat thinking’ to counter a lack of confidence in the future, President Ford volunteered the opinion that Americans cannot indulge in positive thinking unless they first had the truth. “
  • “A consensus seemed to emerge among economic experts that an economic depression is unlikely to develop but output is likely to be flat, sluggish, or down a bit over the next 18 months.”
  • “Senate Democrats advised President Ford today that they are ready to keep Congress in session for the rest of this year if necessary to deal with the nation’s economic problems. At the same time, the Senate Democrats said it is up to the White House to make any specific moves or suggestions regarding the economic situation if any action is to be taken on Capitol Hill this year.”
  • “Assistant Democratic Leader Robert Byrd said the executive branch is the ‘action arm’ of the government. Democrat Leader Mike Mansfield said action by the Democratic controlled Congress alone is an impossibility. He told newsmen, ‘if you want to get something done, you have to have the cooperation of the White House. It’s as simple as that.'”
  • “Senator Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat, noted the statement two days ago by William Seidman, a Ford economic aide, that new proposals this year would be impossible since Congress was planning to adjourn in mid-October. Senator Byrd said the country cannot afford to wait until next year. ‘We want to debunk the idea that Congress is getting ready to go home, stay home, because of the election.'”

Rocky Graziano advertising transmission shops, abortion politics, and state lotteries also appear.  Three days later, President Ford pardoned President Nixon.

Lewis’ commentary is available at, tacked onto the end of a CBS Radio Mystery Theater epsidode, Deadline for Death.

*Walter Hoadley died in 2003 at age 86. He and his wife of nearly 64 years, Virginia, had two children; the daughter, Jean Hoadley Peterson, died Sept. 11, 2001, in the terrorist seizure of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.

Leave a Reply