Our critics are not pleased, but I hope we’ll be forgiven this small observation: The spendthrifts who mangled America with the nightmare of double-digit inflation, record interest rates, unfair tax increases, too much regulation, credit controls, farm embargoes, gas lines, no-growth at home, weakness abroad, and phony excuses about “malaise,” are the last people who should be giving sermonettes about fairness and compassion. March 2, 1984
For all its troubles, the United States is still prosperous, still free; yet America’s leaders speak of uncertainty, self-doubt, guilt, and that word “malaise.’‘ September 16, 1987
Too many of our leaders told us that America‘s troubles were the fault of “we, the American people,” as if somehow we’d let our leaders down, and not the other way around. They told us that we’d caught a disease called “malaise.” And then they turned around and told us that even if we reformed there wasn’t much we could do because great historic forces were at work, the problems were all too complicated for solution, fate and history were against us, and America was slipping into an inevitable decline. December 13, 1988
American prestige seemed like a memory. Our standing in the world had fallen. Our government was talking about a malaise. You remember that talk, and you were the ones that were supposed to be having the malaise. Well, 4 years later America is a very different place. And the Democrats are saying that it’s my fault. They keep insisting that I take responsibility for it. Well, they’ve talked me into it. July 26, 1984
We want growth and opportunity. The other side wants us to lower our expectations. Well, we have a vision of making America great again. The other side speaks of national malaise, a sickness. We offer hope. October 4, 1982
Four years ago, we had to cope with, as Jerry told you, the double-digit inflation nightmare and the interest rates of 21 percent and the highest peacetime tax burden in our history, zero growth, rising crime rate, scholastic aptitude test scores that had been falling for two decades, a foreign policy as feeble as it was fearful, and to top it off, the people in Washington whose only answer was, “All of you suffer from a malaise.” Well, the American people didn’t suffer from any malaise; they suffered from leaders who denied them opportunity, and opportunity is what we’re putting back in the hands of you, the people. September 20, 1984
Four years ago tonight I asked you to join us in a great national effort to free America from leadership that said we suffered from a malaise, that told us we must learn to live with less, and that our children could no longer dream as we once had dreamed. And, yes, that inflation, taxes, no growth at home, and the steady loss of freedom and respect for America abroad were all beyond our control. November 5, 1984
And the headline today:
But aside from the way that word makes me crazy, the news article tells us exactly what we need and why so far the lame duck Bush administration, Congress, and the idiot-money-pundits, have only set us up for a much worse scenario.
Volcker commands respect from Democrats and Republicans alike for his decisiveness in ending a devastating inflationary spiral in the late 1970s. He did so by hiking interest rates to unprecedented levels, launching a recession in 1981-82 that was the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
We could have left this behind us in 2002, but Bush wanted to defer the inevitable. We have made the situation much worse. But we need to stop now.