Just to give a little bit of perspective, here is an extract from Richard Nixon’s 1974 State of the Union address:
Just as 1970 was the year in which we began a full-scale effort to protect the environment, 1974 must be the year in which we organize a full-scale effort to provide for our energy needs, not only in this decade but through the 21st century.
As we move toward the celebration 2 years from now of the 200th anniversary of this Nation’s independence, let us press vigorously on toward the goal I announced last November for Project Independence. Let this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving.
To indicate the size of the Government commitment, to spur energy research and development, we plan to spend $10 billion in Federal funds over the next 5 years. That is an enormous amount. But during the same 5 years, private enterprise will be investing as much as $200 billion–and in 10 years, $500 billion–to develop the new resources, the new technology, the new capacity America will require for its energy needs in the 1980’s. That is just a measure of the magnitude of the project we are undertaking.
But America performs best when called to its biggest tasks. It can truly be said that only in America could a task so tremendous be achieved so quickly, and achieved not by regimentation, but through the effort and ingenuity of a free people, working in a free system.
I suspect my personal jetpack will be delayed as well.