Jimmy Carter on Jobs

President of the U.S., 1977-1981


US minimum wage $5.15, while England $9.20 & Germany $12.74

Despite touting concern for working Americans and private home ownership, key political leaders in Washington have successfully blocked any increase in the minimum wage, which has been held at only $5.15/hour for 8 years and not indexed to accommodate inflation. (In comparison, the minimum wage in Australia is $8.66, in France $8.88, in Italy $9.18, in England $9.20, and in Germany $12.74.)

Assuming 50 weeks at 40 hours/week, this sets the US minimum annual income at $10,300, below the poverty level, for tens of millions of Americans who have full-time jobs. The official poverty line in 2004 for a father or mother with one child was $12,400 in the continental US.

Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.195 , Sep 26, 2006

Never accept a permanent group of unemployed Americans

We must never accept a permanent group of unemployed Americans, with no hope and no stake in building our society. For those left out of the economy because of discrimination, a lack of skills, or poverty, we must maintain high levels of training, and we must continue to provide jobs.

With the support of the American people, government in recent decades has helped to dismantle racial barriers, has provided assistance for the jobless and the retired, has fed the hungry, has protected the safety, health, and bargaining rights of American workers, and has helped to preserve our natural heritage.

We remain committed to improving our labor laws to better protect the rights of American workers. And our Nation must make it clear that the legal rights of women as citizens are guaranteed under the laws of our land by ratifying the equal rights amendment.

Source: Pres. Carter's 1979 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 23, 1979

Voluntary price restraints to put our people back to work

Q: [To Ford]: Doesn't your policy really imply that we are going to have to have a pretty high rate of unemployment over a fairly long time, that growth is going to be fairly slow?

FORD: Not at all. If you look at the projections, it shows that we will reduce unemployment, that we will continue to win the battle against inflation and, at the same time, give the kind of quality of life that I believe is possible in America: a job, a home for all those that will work and save for it, safety in the streets, health care that is affordable.

CARTER: In a Carter administration, the sacrifices would be much less. Mr. Ford's own administration has projected a 10% unemployment rate by 1978 if he is President. The major effort that we must put forward is to put our people back to work. I think we could call together--with strong leadership in the White House--business, industry, and labor, and say, let's have voluntary price restraints, let's lay down some guidelines so we don't have continuing inflation

Source: The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate , Oct 22, 1976

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Page last updated: May 01, 2015