The price controls became unpopular with the public and businesspeople, who saw powerful labor unions as preferable to the price board bureaucracy. Business owners, however, now saw the controls as permanent rather than temporary, and voluntary compliance decreased. The controls produced food shortages, as meat disappeared from grocery stores and farmers drowned chickens rather than sell them at a loss. The controls were slowly ended, and by April 30, 1974, the control authority from Congress had lapsed. However, the controls on oil and natural gas prices persisted for several years. Nixon also dramatically increased spending on federal employees' salaries while the economy was plagued by the 1973–1974 stock market crash.
In his 1974 State of the Union address, Nixon called for comprehensive health insurance. On February 6, 1974, he introduced the Comprehensive Health Insurance Act. Nixon's plan would have mandated employers to purchase health insurance for their employees, and in addition provided a federal health plan, similar to
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