Sep 30, 2011 3:46 PM GMT
President Barack Obama told a Florida TV station yesterday that the United States is facing economic difficulties because it has “gotten a little soft” during the last 20 years.
“This is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didnʼt have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades,” Obama said.
The fix is that “we need to get back on track,” he said, while urging Congress to pass his new $447 billion one-year stimulus bill. [...]
Obamaʼs “soft” comment, and its political circumstances, echo a controversial speech by then-President Jimmy Carter. In July 1979, Carter declared that “in a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.”
The speech was later dubbed the “malaise speech,” even though it did not use the word.
Carter gave the speech as his polls were falling, and the countryʼs economic crisis was worsening while energy prices rose.