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Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home

Wills, Garry | Doubleday, 1987


p. 362

Jimmy Carter was already a corpse, politically, in his last year as President. Inflation, Afghanistan, Iran, etc. beat him. Paul Volker of the Federal Reserve summed up the Carter Presidency as follows: “As Jerry Ford left the White House, he handed Jimmy Carter three envelopes, instructing him to open them one at a time as problems became overwhelming. After a year, Carter opened the first envelope. It said, ‘Attack Jerry Ford.’ He did. A year later, Carter opened the second envelope. It said, ‘Attack the Federal Reserve.’ He did. Three years into his term, and even more overwhelmed by the economy, Iran, Afghanistan, and so forth, Carter opened the third envelope. It said, ‘Prepare three envelopes.’” [Of course, Carter went on after his Presidency to become a much-loved and celebrated humanitarian. That was what he was good at.]