President Carter stressed the importance of the common good over special interests in his State of the Union address delivered to Congress last night.
Jonathan Moore, director of the Institute of Politics, said last night the speech emphasized Carter's conviction and decency.
The speech was directed more toward the general public than Congress and dealt primarily with economic issues. Carter called the economy the central issue of the year.
Carter's economic proposals seek to maintain an expanding economy, create a simple and fair tax system and encourage private business to lead the expansion. He also stressed decreased inflation and increased employment.
Robert W. Fogel, Burbank Professor of Political Economy, said last night that it would hard be not to agree with the principles, but any real analysis would have to wait for specific proposals to be released.
There was substantial economic improvement last year, Carter said. He attributed the reduction in unemployment and the slowing of inflation to his policies. Fogel agreed that the economy did show improvement, but he added that there was still a question of who was responsible for the upturn.
On energy and the Panama Canal, Carter attempted to prod Congress toward accepting his proposals.
Carter claimed there was a growing sense of unity and common purpose among the American people. He also said there was a limit to the role and function of government.
Carter called for a separate Department of Education as a part of his administrative reforms.
Carter also stressed the importance of human rights, economic justice, and the resolution of conflicts without violence, for international relations.
The speech indicated that Carter was "beyond party ideology," Moore said, and could not be classified by partisan measures.
Fogel said that Carter follows "middle of the road Democratic policies with a slight populist tinge."
The State of the Union message was the first for Carter, who was elected President by a narrow margin over Gerald R. Ford in November 1976.
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