Nixon Essay, Research Paper
In June 1970 Nixon signed into law a bill lowering the voting age in federal elections from 21 years of age to 18. In mid 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, extending the franchise to citizens 18 years of age in all elections, was ratified. In his January 1971 State of the Union message to Congress, Nixon outlined six sweeping proposals. He again called for the sharing of federal revenues with state and local governments. Nixon also sought a deficit federal budget designed to spur the lagging economy; the reform of welfare programs; a federal guarantee of adequate health care for all citizens; new measures to preserve natural resources; and revision of the structure of the federal government.
In August 1971 Nixon imposed mandatory wage and price controls and a 10 percent import surcharge to strengthen the economy. The Nixon Administration applied pressure to encourage foreign governments to help resolve the international monetary crisis by realigning their currencies. Foreign governments, in turn, urged Nixon to devalue the dollar. This he did in December 1971, by ending the long-standing convertibility of the dollar into gold. Shortly afterward he rescinded the import surcharge.
In his budget message and in a series of State of the Union messages to Congress early in 1973, Nixon announced the reduction of federal spending for social welfare. He asked that cities and states be granted funds in a revenue- sharing plan to take over federal programs in urban development, education, manpower, and law enforcement.
In February 1973 Nixon announced his second devaluation of the dollar. Faced with rising inflation Nixon in June ordered a 60-day freeze on all retail and wholesale prices except for raw agricultural commodities. Price controls in some form were in effect until Congress let them expire on April 30, 1974. Inflation persisted.
Prior to 1973 the most important of Nixon+s domestic problems was the economy. In order to reduce inflation he initially tried to restrict federal spending, but beginning in 1971 his budget proposals contained deficits of several billion dollars, the largest in American history up to that time. Nixon+s New Economic Policy, announced in August 1971 in response to continuing inflation, increasing unemployment, and a deteriorating trade deficit, included an 8 percent devaluation of the dollar, new surcharges on imports, and unprecedented peacetime controls on wages and prices. These policies produced temporary improvements in the economy by the end of 1972, but, once price and wage controls were lifted, inflation returned with a vengeance, reaching 8.8 percent in 1973 and 12.2 percent in 1974.