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July 26, 1979 – One of those days that, when looked back on, seem downright wistful. On this day it was about soaring prices and an economy turing sour because of it. The soaring prices, at least one of them, in question was the price of gas – upwards to .90 a gallon in some places – outrageous to everyone with a car. OPEC was in there someplace – the jaundiced eye cast on the gas guzzler was another – whatever it was, the days of cheap gas were quickly becoming a thing of the past – and in 1979, the future was looking grim.
And while fingers were being pointed in a vast number of directions, Capitol Hill was getting its fair share of brickbats tossed at it – attempts at instating a system of Gas rationing were being voted down by some members of Congress – turning an economic crisis into a political one was laying the groundwork for the 1980 Elections – even though they were a little over a year away – it was never too early to stir up the base and incite the outrage.
And as long as there was a surfeit amount of blame to pass around for this crummy day in history – we might as well keep it going and blame the Vietnamese Boat people, who were arriving on the West coast and heading to refugee camps set up. The blame, or at least the potential for it, came in the form of a whole pile of communicable diseases they were bringing into the country with them. At the top of the list was TB, which was being discovered in alarming numbers at the camps. The government was blaming the refugee camps overseas; the ones housing the Vietnamese on their way to the States, for lack of proper Medical screening, since the prevalence of TB germs would have been spotted and treated without running the risk of having it spread all over the U.S.
And there was a disaster in our future called Nicaragua – as the Somoza regime was busy being overthrown by the Sandinistas and the old Cold War paranoia of Communist influence in Central America reared its Marxist little head.
All that – and so much more for an uneasy July 26, 1979 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.