|Richard Nixon Domestic Policies
Richard Nixon was the thirty-seventh president of the United States. He came into the office on a Republican ticket in 1969. When it comes to domestic policies, the Nixon administration is well known for increasing welfare payments.
The direct payments made by the federal government to the individuals in the form of government benefits increased from 6.3 percent of the GNP to 8.9 percent. This also included the Social Security and Medicare benefits. In addition, food aid and public assistance also increased to whooping $9.1 billion. On the other hand, Nixon decreased defense spending from 9.1 percent of the GNP to 5.8 percent. Nixon was also instrumental in starting the revenue sharing program with states and municipalities.
In 1970, with the passage of the Economic Stabilization Act, Nixon now had the power to set prices and wages. This led Nixon to impose a temporary freeze on the 90-day wages and prices. This was mandatory for large corporations, while others could accept it voluntarily. A Pay Board was formed which controlled the annual pay increases. It was limited to 5.5 percent per year. A Price Commission was also formed which limited the price increase to 2.5 percent per year. This step taken by Nixon helped to control the wages, but did nothing for the inflation. Nonetheless, this price and wage control went down very well with the public, who felt that Nixon was protecting them from businesses that increased prices and from the exchange crisis caused by other countries.
However, inflation kept increasing and so did the unemployment. This prompted Nixon to index the Social Security for inflation and he went and created the Supplemental Security Income.
In addition, Nixon separated the dollar from the gold standard. When Nixon came to power, the US gold reserves had decreased from $25 billion to $10.5 billion. Gold was under priced, while the dollar was over priced. Nixon eliminated the gold standard so that countries could not exchange their dollar reserve in lieu of gold. In addition, he reduced the dollar exchange rate against foreign currencies and this lead to an increase in inflation by increasing the cost of imports.
Besides, Nixon re-introduced the 10 percent investment tax credit, removed the excise taxes to help the automobile industry, ended the fixed exchange rate system, and imposed 10 percent tax on all imports coming into the country. On the whole, this led to an increase in per family income, while there was a decrease in unionized income.
Nixon also took many federal initiatives. He was responsible for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency, he signed the Clear Air Act of 1970 and he also created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Then in 1971, he created four new government departments and he made the Post Office Department into a government owned corporation, and thereby forming the US Postal Service.
Nixon was instrumental in reducing federal spending, establishing the Consumer Product Safety Commission and supporting the Legacy of Park program.
It was during Nixon's administration that there was significant integration of public school in the South. This was achieved without any violence or show. He also signed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, and he increased the number of women in administrative positions. Besides that he signed the Title IX in 1972 which made it illegal to discriminate on gender in all schools funded by federal funds. At the same time, he also signed the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.
It was during Nixon's presidency that abortion was legalized, but Nixon did not speak openly about this issue. However, it was known as he was pro-choice and believed that in case of rape, or when the woman was pregnant with an interracial child, abortion should be option.
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