RICHARD M. NIXON

NIXON, RICHARD M.

(1913-1994), thirty-seventh president of the United States. Nixon's youth was marked by hard work in a family store and the death of two brothers as well as by academic success. Except for Herbert Hoover, no president elected in this century grew up in more difficult circumstances. Following graduation from Whittier College (1934) and Duke University Law School (1937), he practiced law in California and married Thelma (Pat) Ryan. He served as a navy supply officer during World War II and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946.

An ambitious, intelligent, disciplined loner, Nixon cultivated no hobbies and had few close friends. His political shrewdness was often undermined by his vindictiveness and capacity for self-deception. His rise was largely the product of the post-World War II red scare. He convinced the House that Alger Hiss, a second-level New Dealer, had been a Soviet spy and, in 1950, persuaded California voters to send him to the Senate to battle against subversives and "pink" Democrats. Elected vice president in 1952, he served President Dwight D. Eisenhower dutifully for eight years, despite occasional humiliations. He tried to present himself as a statesmanlike "new Nixon," but, partly because memories of the old Nixon lingered, he lost races for president in 1960 and governor of California in 1962.

During the next four years, while prospering as a corporate lawyer, he rebuilt his political base. His successful campaign for president in 1968 raised a central question: would he govern as a responsible conservative, in the fashion of his mentor Eisenhower, or as an irresponsible demagogue, in the mold of the old Nixon? He proved to be both. In domestic affairs, his record included, on the one hand, creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, expansion of the Social Security system, and advocacy of a Family Assistance Plan that guaranteed an annual income to the working poor, and, on the other hand, a weak civil rights record, sabotage of his political opposition, and emotional appeals to a "silent majority" who shared his resentment of the cosmopolitan elite. His foreign policy record was similarly mixed. Nixon accepted modest curbs on the nuclear arms race, pursued détente with the Soviet Union, and opened relations with the People's Republic of China. He also undermined the Marxist Chilean government and widened the Vietnam War by invading Cambodia before accepting truce terms in 1973 that he could have had in 1969.

The Watergate scandal was part of a broad campaign to sabotage political opposition. Although Nixon apparently had no advance knowledge of a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972, he subsequently obstructed an investigation of the crime. After fighting a two-year holding action, he faced impeachment by the House of Representatives and resigned on August 9, 1974. He accepted a pardon from President Gerald Ford and sank briefly into depression.

Then, characteristically, he began to rebuild his reputation, primarily through books combining memoirs and foreign policy advice. As memories of Watergate faded, some commentators emphasized Nixon's intelligence, domestic reforms, and foreign policy successes. Never very penitent about Watergate, he grew persistently less so and in 1990 described the scandal as "one part wrongdoing, one part blundering, and one part political vendetta" by his foes.

 

Richard Nixon's 'Secret Fund' – 1952

 

Nixon
Vice presidential nominee Richard Nixon during his "Checkers" speech, Sept. 23, 1952 (AP)

Richard M. Nixon, then a U.S. senator from California and the Republican vice presidential nominee, was accused of maintaining a hidden political fund of about $18,000 collected from home-state supporters. The Democratic-leaning New York Post carried the first reports of the fund – somewhat sensationalized accounts that, in Nixon's words, "let me have it with both barrels." An avalanche of coverage followed, and soon the "secret fund" was the central issue of the presidential campaign.

Though legal, the previously undisclosed nest egg caused such a stir that Nixon was nearly forced from GOP presidential nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower's ticket. Some of Eisenhower's staff and key party elders wanted Nixon to step down; former GOP presidential nominee and New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey personally urged Nixon to resign.

Nixon saved himself with a dramatic if maudlin television appeal that became known as the "Checkers speech", so named because of a cocker spaniel dog given by a supporter to his young daughters which Nixon swore never to give up, come what may in the political wars.

 

LET IT BE STATED:

IN 1950 THE MINIMUM WAGE WAS $.75 PER HOUR

IN 1956 THE MINIMUM WAGE WAS $1.00 PER HOUR

GASOLINE WAS $.24 PER GALLON

 

 

In 2002 the value of $18,000.00 in 1952 is worth:

 

CPI
 
GDP Deflator
 
Unskilled Wage
 
GDP Per Capita
 
GDP
 
$122,000.00 $104,000.00 $194,000.00 $294,000.00 $524,000.00



 

 

The CPI is most often used to make comparisons partly because it is the series with which people are most familiar. This series tries to compare the cost of things the average household buys such as food, housing, transportation, medical services, etc. For earlier years, it is the most useful series for comparing the cost of consumer goods and services. It can be interpreted as how much money would you need today to buy an item in the year in question if it had changed in price the same as the average price change.

The GDP Deflator is similar to the CPI in that it is a measure of average prices. The "bundle" of goods and services here includes all things produced in the economy, not just consumer goods and services that are reflected in the CPI.

The Unskilled Wage Rate is good way to determine the relative cost of something in terms of the amount of work it would take to produce, or the relative time it would take to earn its cost. It can also be useful in comparing different wages over time. The unskilled wage is a more consistent measure than the average wage for making comparisons over time.

The GDP per capita is an index of the economy's average output per person and is closely correlated with the average income. It can be useful in comparing different incomes over time.

The GDP is the market value of all goods and services produced in a year. Comparing an expenditure using this measure, tells you how much money in the comparable year would be the same percent of all output.