CNBC's Bill Siedman was a top economic adviser – and close friend – to President Gerald Ford. In contrast to the all the talk about Ford’s pardon of the defamed Richard Nixon, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera spoke with Siedman on “Morning Call” to get a more personal retrospective on the 38th president of the U.S.
“He didn’t have any complexes,” Siedman said of Ford. “He didn’t have an inferiority complex, and he didn’t have a superiority complex. He was a guy that could go right down the middle and handle problems as they came along.”
Siedman also credited Ford with a number of accomplishments he said most people don’t know about. Ford started the energy conservation CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for automobiles. He was also responsible for the deregulation movement, most notably in the airlines industry. And Ford was the first president to initiate tax cuts as a means to stimulate the economy.
“He did a lot in the two and a half years he was there,” Siedman said.
Siedman also referenced the fiscal discipline Ford demanded from Congress – he vetoed over 60 spending bills – and said that while pardoning Nixon was at the time considered a disaster, now it is viewed as “courageous.”