Ford saw himself as a 'caretaker president'. He wasn't elected, he was appointed as part of a deal Nixon made for him to be able to hand-pick his own replacement. Ford himself didn't think he had a solid mandate, so he didn't want to try anything too radical until he had won an election. But he lost, mostly because he pardoned Nixon, which was part of the deal, even though he swore he'd never do that.
Nixon's economic policies brought on a serious recession, the worst since the Great Depression (second only to GW Bush's recession). The Nixon recession had high inflation at a time of a collapsing economy and economists were totally unable to explain that. They called it 'stagflation', stagnation and inflation. They had never happened together before! Nixon tried wage and price controls, but they didn't work, partly because his commission allowed all price raises but no wage raises, which only made inflation worse.
Ford's proposed solution was called WIN - Whip Inflation Now. It consisted almost entirely of mailing a WIN button to anyone who wrote in asking for one. No kidding! I'm not making this up. His ONLY idea was to raise awareness of the problem!
So when Carter came to office, we had unemployment, inflation, and also interest rates in the double digits. Carter helped the situation but not as much as he'd wanted to. Then Reagan came in and solved the problem by massive govt. spending, tripling our entire national debt in two terms. Carter couldn't have done that.
One other thing. If you saw the film Charlie Wilson's War, it's about a congressman who wants the US to give weapons to Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion there, to help the Afghans fight off the USSR. We ended up sending them 'Stinger' missiles that could shoot down Russian gunships. That actually caused the Soviet invasion to fail, and their total, humiliating failure in Afghanistan had a lot to do with the collapse of the USSR a few years later. So what president decided to arm Afghanistan and so had a big role in killing the USSR? Jimmy Carter! The Republicans want to give Reagan the credit but Reagan did nothing, he had nothing to do with it.