Thursday, August 7, 2008

Are You Miserable ?

Have you heard of the Misery Index ? The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people of out of work implies a deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index. We are a level of 10.52%. Compare that to our highest of 21.98% in June, 1980, and our lowest of 2.97% in July 1953. I wondered what made the difference in the high and low points, and if we are doing, or not doing something now in comparison.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter authorized legislation giving 1.5 billion in loans to bail out the Chrylser Corporation.
Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini states that Iran's parliament would decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.
The Norwegian oil platform Alexander Kielland collapses in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212.
Jimmy Carter signs the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act in an effort to help the U.S. economy rebound.
The United States severs diplomatic relations with Iran and imposes economic sanctions following the taking of American hostages on November 4, 1979.
The Cable News Network (CNN) begins broadcasting ( Just in time ? )
Percy Wood, president of United Airlines, is injured by an exploding package sent by the Unabomber.
A commercial DC-9 (Itavia Flight 870) was apparently shot down.
Iraq invades Iran.
U.S. presidential election, 1980: Republican challenger Ronald Reagan defeats incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter by a wide margin.

Any one of these events that occurred in 1980, could be a headline out of tomorrows paper. But what was happening in 1953 ?

President Harry Truman announces that the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb.
The Soviet Union breaks off diplomatic relations with Israel.
Joseph Stalin collapses, having suffered a stroke. He dies four days later
Hussein is crowned King of Jordan.
Nuclear testing: At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducts its first and only nuclear artillery test.
Workers Uprising: In East Germany, the Soviet Union orders a division of troops into East Berlin to quell a rebellion.
Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle orders a law enforcement crackdown on Short Creek, Arizona, home to a polygamous sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Korean War ends: The United States, People's Republic of China, and North Korea, sign an armistice agreement. Syngman Rhee, president of South Korea, refuses to sign but pledges to observe the armistice.
Nuclear testing: The Soviet atomic bomb project proceeded with the detonation of Joe 4, the first Soviet thermonuclear weapon.
Cold War: The CIA helps to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran and reinstate the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The Qibya massacre was carried out by Israeli troops in a West Bank village.
The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and Republic of China is signed in Washington, DC.
Cold War: US President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves the top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2, which states that the United States' arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.

Can you spot the differences or similarities in any of the three years ? It seems to me that it's the same game, different players. All three years include war, and all three years include Iran and Iraq. I see a pattern, do you ?

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Very interesting! Found you through Crotchey old man.