The Presidency of Gerald Ford

Gerald R. Ford was inaugurated as the 38th President on August 9, 1974. After Spiro Agnew resigned, he became Vice President, and after Richard Nixon resigned, he became President. Ford’s domestic policies are notable for lowering inflation and unemployment rates and reducing reliance on foreign energy. In international policy, he dropped tensions between the US and the Soviet Union through the Helsinki Accords, among other things. This page will tell you more about President Gerald Ford’s contributions.

Economic Policies

The United States economy was experiencing a severe recession when Ford assumed office in 1974. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was nearing a standstill, and product prices were rising. In response, President Ford enacted a tax relief for low- and middle-income households. Households’ disposable income grew as a result of the tax cuts, as did their purchasing power. As a result, economic growth was boosted. In 1975, consumption as a proportion of GDP increased from 61.7 percent in 1974 to 63.1 percent. Through 1979, it remained at that higher level. For the whole year of 1974, the GDP per capita was negative.

In the last three quarters of 1975, Ford was able to pull the United States out of recession.

When Ford assumed office, the rate of inflation in the United States had risen to 12.2 percent due to the economic crisis. Ford responded by going on national television and urging residents to “make a list of ten ways you can conserve energy and combat inflation.” In a separate speech to Congress, he declared inflation to be the nation’s “public enemy number one” and encouraged Americans to wear anti-inflation pins. Whip Inflation Now is the name of this anti-inflation effort (WIN). It was a colossal disaster, dubbed “one of the worst government public relations errors ever.”

On the other hand, Ford did not give up and boosted economic development by raising expenditures and lowering taxes. As a result, when Gerald Ford left the office, the inflation rate had dropped to 4.8 percent. As a result, the Ford administration was able to cut the inflation rate in half.

Reduced unemployment rate

Unemployment increased from 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 1973 to 8.9% in the second quarter of 1975. With unemployment at an all-time high, the Ford administration compensated a more significant percentage of the jobless than at any other time since 1967. In April 1975, 81 percent of all unemployed employees were receiving benefits. Ford expanded funding for federal programs such as the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA), summer youth jobs, and public service employment, in addition to giving pay. His measures also boosted private-sector activity, resulting in the creation of additional jobs. Ford’s administration resulted in the creation of 4 million jobs. In 1976, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% and stayed there for the remainder of the decade.

Eased the energy crisis of the 1970s

In 1973, a worldwide oil crisis erupted when Arab countries imposed an oil embargo on countries that backed Israel in the Arab–Israeli War of 1973. The United States became one of the countries that had supported Israel, was heavily hurt by the crisis, and the country’s oil prices surged. President Ford proposed to Congress the first comprehensive national energy policy expressly designed to lessen reliance on foreign oil in response to the energy crisis. The initiative is intended to boost domestic energy generation while also encouraging energy conservation. Gerald Ford signed the EPCA or the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 into law in December. The EPCA became the gateway to establish Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Corporate Average Fuel, and the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Product. It helped reduce oil prices and enabled price control for over 40 months.

High net farm income 

To the degree practicable, President Ford’s agriculture policy was distinguished by non-interference. This was in contrast to the government’s strategy of prescribing planting averages and determining agricultural prices. He was also in favor of exporting excess production rather than storing enormous surpluses in government storage, which was costly. “We must sell grain, not store it up in storage,” Ford stated during a speech to farmers in Springfield, Illinois. In the three years of Ford’s presidency, net farm income totaled $28.5 billion, compared to $12.9 billion on average in the preceding three years. In terms of net farm income, these three years were the highest on record up to that point. In 1975-1976, the value of agricultural goods exported to foreign nations was $22.1 billion, significantly from what it was in 1970.

Significantly reduced the tension during the Cold War

During the Cold War, Détente aimed to reduce tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. Gerald Ford maintained Nixon’s detente policy with the Soviet Union despite legislative opposition. The Vladivostok Treaty, agreed in 1974 by President Ford and Soviet Union Prime Minister Leonid Brezhnev, prohibited planes and armaments. The Helsinki Accords, a 1975 agreement between the United States, the Soviet Union, and European nations, are widely recognized. It legally recognized post-World War II European boundaries and human rights support. The Helsinki Accords are seen as a significant step in de-escalating Cold War hostilities.

Foreign Affairs

After the fall of Cambodia and South Vietnam, Ford worked hard to maintain the United States’ influence and prestige. Preventing a new Middle East conflict remained a top priority; by offering aid to both Israel and Egypt, the Ford Administration persuaded them to accept an interim cease-fire deal. The Soviet Union and the USA kept their detente. Nuclear weapons were put under additional restrictions by President Ford and Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev.

Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient in 1999

Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election. He stayed involved in the Republican Party after leaving office. Ford received the Lone Sailor Award from the US Navy Memorial Foundation in 1992 for his navy service and later government service. Gerald Ford was awarded a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 1999. In the same year, President Bill Clinton awarded Gerald Ford the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Gerald Ford received the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award in 2001 for his contentious decision to grant Richard Nixon a presidential pardon.