Robert Hormats--who served on the National Security Council during President Gerald Ford’s administration--appeared on “Morning Call” to give his take on the 38th president of the U.S. As we’ve been reporting all morning, President Ford died last night at the age of 93. “He may not have been the greatest president in this country’s history,” Hormats said, “but he was certainly one of the most decent.”
Hormats was a participant in President Ford’s famous “Whip Inflation Now” meeting during the fall of 1974 (some of you may remember those WIN buttons the government eventually passed out). Inflation had been steadily growing since the start of the Vietnam War and was pushed higher during the Arab oil embargo. Unemployment was way up as well, and growth in the economy was virtually nonexistent.
“We were in very poor economic and financial shape at that point,” Hormats said.
Ford’s focus in 1975 was to get oil prices down and deregulate the markets. According to Hormats, who is now a vice chairman at Goldman Sachs, the economy was heavily regulated in the mid-‘70s, and the president was pushing for freer markets and trade.
Another thing President Ford was known for was his vetoing of a number of spending bills – 66, says CNBC’s Steve Liesman – from Congress. The president was trying to impose some fiscal discipline, Hormats claims, and alleviate the inflationary pressure being felt at the time.
As time passes, the growing consensus among politicians and economists seems to be that many of President Ford’s contributions go unnoticed. Steve Liesman pointed out one: the creation of the Group of 7 economic summit, including the U.S., Italy, France, U.K., Canada, Japan and – at the time – West Germany.