If the US were in the middle of an economic boom, like in the mid-1980s or late-1990s, it would be very easy to be thankful in the week ahead. Instead, a cornucopia of complaints seems to accompany what has been a plodding economic recovery, what we call the Plow Horse Economy.
But that’s why it’s even more important than ever to be thankful for the things that are going right with the US economy. In particular, even as our overly large government continues to grow larger, with more spending, more entitlements, and more regulation – all of which bog down the economic growth rate like mud in the fields. It has been a battle between entrepreneurs and their wealth creation, versus government and redistribution. So far, the entrepreneurs have kept the economy moving forward.
Think of all the massive changes in the past several years. As it turns out, we really can drill our way to lower energy prices. Ubiquitous apps have made life much easier and increased productivity for workers, parents, students, travelers. And the list of new benefits seems to never end. Death rates for cancer patients are way down. Innovation in food production continues to soar. Driverless cars, while not here yet for regular consumers, continue to improve and wind their way down the long road toward mass production. It’s the cornucopia of invention we should celebrate.
Instead, it's monetary policy and the political world that journalists seem to obsess about; particularly those on business TV. These sources of “information,” or what could more accurately be called “econo-tainment,” instead dwell on every zig and zag of politics, and very often dubious narratives intricately woven by some short-seller.
In certain ways, this decade resembles the 1930s. Not in the sense that our economic situation is like the despair of the Great Depression; not even close. But in the sense that amid general dissatisfaction with the economy and a very bad policy set from Washington, important positive innovations were still happening. Jet engines, photocopiers, ballpoint pens, helicopters, and nylons were all invented in the 1930s, making life better for decades to come.
So when you pause to be thankful later this week, think for moment of the innovators who have been toiling away to make our lives better. Yes, they don’t do it just for the heck of it; yes, they want to enrich themselves along the way. But whether they help themselves or not, where would we be without their efforts? Happy Thanksgiving!
This information contains forward-looking statements about various economic trends and strategies. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and actual results could be materially different. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time and are the opinion of the individual strategist. Data comes from the following sources: Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve Board, and Haver Analytics. Data is taken from sources generally believed to be reliable but no guarantee is given to its accuracy.