Jimmy Carter is a good president. He should be reelected because of his fine record. It is a record any president would be proud of. President Carter has been faithful to the nation's ideals and interests. He has been an effective, forceful and strong president.
Let's look at the Carter record.
The most important issue facing the country is energy. Because of President Carter's leadership, Americans finally realized how vulnerable we are in energy. Unless we reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we will decline, both as a world power and in our living standard. It was Carter's task to do something to improve that situation. He did.
His energy incentives resulted in increased domestic production of natural gas and crude oil. More coal is being mined this year than at any other time in our nation's history. The nation tripled its investment in solar energy and quadrupled gasohol production. The Carter administration began an unprecedented effort, bigger than the Apollo moon project and the interstate highway program combined, to develop synthetic fuels.
Carter initiatives to promote conservation paid off. They reversed four decades of ever-growing reliance on foreign oil. In 1978, for the first time since World War II, our oil import levels actually started dropping. They continue to drop. Today we import 6.8 million barrels a day, compared with 8.8 million in 1977. The Carter energy record is excellent.
In energy, as in virtually everything else, it fell to President Carter to face the tough problems. He tackled them, no matter how thorny. This was especially true in domestic and social issues. In the face of growing sentiment to back away from our commitment to help those less able to help themselves, President Carter bucked the tide. He held firm to that commitment. Promises had been made. He would not forget them. He is a humane president, very much in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt and the Democratic presidents who followed.
In content, President Carter has never strayed from that tradition. He did what he could, just as his predecessors did what they could, for the poor, for the disadvantaged, for working families, for those whose lives have been enhanced by, and who have given their support to, the Democratic Party. Scholars who say the old coalition is dead have not convinced Jimmy Carter.
Under the Carter administration, investment in youth employment grew from $2.5 billion to $4 billion. CETA was enlarged by 50 percent. The Job Corps doubled. The most ambitious youth initiative in the nation's history, the Youth Act of 1980, to create 450,000 jobs and combine basic training and work experience, passed in the House and could yet pass the Senate. The food stamp program has been liberalized.
Carter has appointed more blacks, Hispanics and women to judgeships and federal jobs than any other president. He got Congress to pass major education legislation such as the Middle Income Student Assistance Program, the Higher Education Amendments of 1980 and the Department of Education.
The Carter administraiton led the fight for the New York City loan guarantee, thereby preventing the nation's largest city from going broke. Under Carter, the government shaped its first comprehensive urban policy. Scores of existing programs were retargeted to help urban areas. New programs such as the Urban Development Action Grant Program provided incentives to business to invest in cities.
On the environment, no president since Theodore Roosevelt has been more of an activist than Jimmy Carter. He worked for and then signed into law measures strengthening the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and the nation's first strip mining bill. Carter's Alaska lands legislation is the most comprehensive measure ever to preserve and protect America's parks and scenic areas.
President Carter cut federal rules that hampered competition. Airline deregulation, banking deregulation, trucking deregulation -- these are Carter achievements. Soon railroad deregulation will join the list. A Carter proposal, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, removed much of the regulatory burden from small business. That was but one of a series of similar Carter administration laws that moved government out of the marketplace. In government, civil service reform did away with unneeded bureaucratic procedures and will make Washington more responsive.
Though on the decline, inflation is still a serious problem. But all too often we have been the victims of events we could not control. The largest oil price increase in history -- a staggering 125 percent from February 1979 to February 1980 -- hit us with a vengeance, causing price rises across the board.
Over many years our own productivity sagged. America's plants and factories are wearing out. We modernize every 20 years. The Japanese do it every 10 years. In spite of that, eight million new jobs were created in the past 3 1/2 years. Increased energy self-sufficiency will help the economy rebound and further control inflation. So will the president's Economic Renewal Program, providing incentives for industrial modernization, capital investment and more exports and for locating industry in high unemployment areas so that we can again be more productive and more competitive.
In foreign affairs, the Carter record is reflective of a man who believes peace is possible and is willing to take that extra step to achieve it. The hallmark of the president's achievements in foreign policy is the peace he negotiated between Egypt and Israel. For the first time since its founding, Israel does not face the threat of war from its most populous, most powerful Arab neighbor. In this historic breakthrough, both Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat give credit to President Carter for the persistence that made Camp David and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt possible. With Carter's continued leadership, Israel will be assured of its future security, strength and independence. Carter has worked tirelessly to reduce the dangerous level of nuclear weapons and has achieved historic diplomatic breakthroughs with China.
President Carter has done a good job. He deserves reelection. It is important for the future of the country that he be reelected.