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Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin (born August 14, 1945) was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1997 to 2005. Prior to this, he was the Governor of California from 1987 to 1994. A lifelong Nationalist, Martin won two broad electoral victories and is credited with mainstreaming the party in the wake of the unpopular conservative turn in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
As President, Martin oversaw a recovery from a mid-1990's recession and executed both the Scottish Conflict and the Cyrene War in his first term. His second term saw a broad economic growth, as well as the tragic February 22 bombings in Washington D.C. in 2003. Martin reformed the American welfare system as well as the National Bank, and balanced the budget all four years of his second term.
Early Life and Education
Business Career and House of Representatives
Governor of California: 1987-1994
1988 Presidential Campaign
In November and December of 1987, amongst some Nationalists, there began a "Draft Martin" movement, similar to the "Draft Nielsen" campaign swirling about Dakota Governor Leslie Nielsen. The supporters of the movement were genrally pro-business moderates within the party turned off both by Vice President Redford's move to the left in the early primary process and concerned about the possibility of conservative activist and controversial televangelist Johnny Cash gaining ground as a result. With Redford's resounding successes in the primaries, however, nothing came about, and Martin endorsed Redford in early January after earlier stipulating he would remain neutral.
1996 Presidential Election Campaign
2000 Presidential Election Campaign
Presidency of Steve Martin: 1997-2005
Steve Martin took the oath of office on January 20, 1997, becoming the 41st President of the United States. In his inaugural address, he stated boldly, "There is nothing this nation cannot do, nothing we the people cannot achieve, no challenge too burdensome to overcome, as we enter the final three years of this century to lay the groundwork for the next generation of American leaders." From the onset, the Martin administration's theme was of kick-starting the economy, lowering the unemployment rate and revitalizing a generation of workers who had suffered through inflation, a cutthroat jobs market and three recessions over the course of nearly two decades. Martin, encouraged by the growth of the technology industry, publicly called for a "full-court press to update and innovate our country with modern technology."
Scotland and England
As hinted at during his convention acceptance address, Martin quickly turned his attention towards the rapidly deteriorating situation in Scotland
Cyrene and Middle Eastern policy
Latin American policy
Martin, who had been a critic of President Burwin's focus on Latin America at the expense of the Middle East, sought to repair what were viewed as potentially strained relationships with Colombia after his campaign themes. Martin's first overseas visit, conducted in early February of 1997, was to Colombia to meet with President Hernandez and then afterwards the Conference of American States in Santiago, Chile, where he met for the first time with leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere, including President Alessandri Besa of Chile, Prime Minister __ of Brazil, Premier Molotov of Alaska, Prime Minister Camacho of Mexico, and President Menem of Argentina.
Upon entering office, the United States had officially entered a recession and was contracting considerably after a series of banking crises in late 1996. With unemployment at 10.3% on January 20, 1997 - inauguration day - Martin inherited the worst economy since the early 1980s and the highest unemployment rate since March 1983. His plan called for an immediate cut in interest rates, a modest stimulus package, increasing unemployment benefit eligibility from 60 weeks to 72 weeks, a cut in both the marginal income tax rate for all Americans as well as a cut in the corporate tax rate, and authorize the SEC to set an asset cap for banking institutions after concerns that banks had grown too large.
The Economic Rehabilitation Act (ERA) of 1997 was argued over in the Senate, where it was initially considered dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled chamber after being passed on party lines through the House. In his Statement to the Joint Session of Congress on February 2, 1997, Martin implored the Senate to "pass this bill now!" The arguments over what Senator Bruce Springsteen referred to as "an interminably large, regressive and conservative omnibus bill that would redistribute national wealth upwards" continued deep into March, with the unemployment rate still stubbornly stuck around 10%. Finally, after an agreement to exorcise some industry-specific loopholes from the bill to stop the Democratic refusal to bring the bill out of committee, the ERA was passed 68-29 in the Senate, with two Nationalists and one Democrat abstaining from voting.
Following the ERA, Martin gave a speech in New York detailing what he called the "Institutional Asset Cap Act," which would formally allow Congress to set a cap on how large the balance sheets of financial institutions could permissibly become. Opposed by conservatives for being a heavy regulation and opposed by liberal Democrats for failing to nationalize banks and lacking teeth, Martin traveled the country throughout April and early May promoting the act, stating that it was a market-based approach to reigning in the banks as opposed to using excessive regulations and expanding the size of government. After another bruising debate, Martin's allies in the Senate managed to get the bill passed with some Democratic support, although Martin later commented that the IACA was "watered-down" and not as strong as he had hoped. Regardless, over the next few years, banks devolved and broke up many of their components in sell-offs, helping kickstart a mini-bubble of startup financial firms founded by former bankers often buying their former employers' assets.
The economy continued to be weak deep into 1998 despite the ERA and IACA passed the year before, and the heightened military spending to fund the wars in England and Cyrene during a time of deep recession was criticized by many, particularly Democratic leaders in Congress. The Democrats swept to power in the 1998 midterms, giving them the first filibuster-proof majority an opposition party had ever had in the Senate and returning control of the House to the Democrats, with the polarizing Charlie Platt once again becoming Speaker of the House.
"The New Century Program"
Martin's "New Century Program" was part of an effort to modernize U.S. bureaucratic institutions; as part of this effort, Martin passed the Online Government Disclosure Act of 1998 requiring all government agencies to post line-item budgets on the Internet for taxpayers to read, later doing the same for White House expenditures. His attempt to encourage Congress to do the same failed. He also signed the Computer Education and Information Act of 1998 (CEIA), making it the Department of Education's goal to provide either computer access or Internet access of some form to every university and high school in America by 2008, and, based on the progress of this initiative, recommend an expansion to middle and elementary schools. This measure was criticized by conservatives in the National Party as a broad, unfunded mandate, and Martin signed a later law in 2001 stipulating that the funding for this program would come in part from funds freed up from teacher pension reforms in the states, splitting the mandate between the state and federal governments.