February 5, 1977 – Sweater Weather At The White House
February 5, 1977 – The week was full of new about the Energy Crisis that wasn’t going to go away. America was asked to curb excess, starting with turning down thermostats, while Buffalo New York was declared a disaster area.
President Carter, in the first of what would be many “fireside chats”, spoke about the failure of Americans to plan for the future or to take energy conservation seriously, which America had failed to do, despite warnings of such a crisis for a very long time. He went on to say that most Americans refused to believe America actually had an energy problem, but the Winter of 1977 made it abundantly apparent that the Energy crisis was real.
Wearing a Cardigan Sweater, Jimmy Carter spoke of the need to conserve energy – that he had signed emergency legislation to shift natural gas supplies to shortage areas. And even though some on Capitol Hill thought it wasn’t enough, it was a start in trying to cope with an increasing problem, but many felt it wasn’t a permanent solution, and a permanent solution was needed.
Meanwhile, in Buffalo, the blizzard which hit the area was so severe, officials were asking the government to do something it hadn’t done before; provide assistant with the dig-out. The President’s son Chip, went to Buffalo to get a first-hand look at the disaster, and the next day the President signed an Executive order providing Federal assistance in the dig-out for 9 New York state areas.
Some good news – the Federal Unemployment rate dropped from 7.8% to 7.5% for the month of January. The figure didn’t reflect new lay-offs because of natural gas shortages. The figure also wasn’t heralded as the coming of prosperity by some. The 3/10 of 1% drop didn’t seem like much cause for celebration, and President Carter was asking for an economic stimulus package which would, in effect give every American a check for $50.00 as a rebate.
But in Chicago it was a different story – an elevated train crashed into a parked train and the result was 11 persons killed in what was described as the worst accident in the history of the Chicago elevated line.
And in the Middle East, UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim was in Damascus Syria to try and work out some peace plan in the war-torn region. On a fact finding tour, Waldheim had just finished visiting with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and came away feeling optimistic that some 7-nation peace settlement could be reached. Otherwise, as Waldheim admitted – war was inevitable in the next two years.
And that’s just a small slice of what went in the world this week – the week that ended this February 5th in 1977 as reported by CBS Radio and The World This Week.