Hopefulness During Gloomy Times

It is not hard to be very gloomy about the future when one reads the headlines of today.  There is so much negative news it is difficult to even know where to start.  We have two active wars in progress and “kinetic military action” going on in Libya.   At the same time we are made constantly aware that terrorists around the world are still planning and awaiting the day they can explode a bomb or do other havoc here in our homeland.  How many attempts have been thwarted in just the last couple of years?  I’ve lost count. 

Our economy is struggling along at best with inflation emerging and unemployment running way too high for way too long.  Jobs are still being sent offshore due to the negative tax and regulatory policies of our government.   The US debt is so large that it is hard to imagine a method to reduce it to manageable proportions.  The amount of debt per capita is staggering and the deficits continue to grow with no end in sight during our lifetimes.  Our politicians play games with the numbers calling something a “cut” when it is merely a reduction in the amount of actual planned increases in spending.   For most people their most valuable asset, their home, has suddenly been reduced in value even though they didn’t do anything to change it and have continued making their mortgage payments.  The Fed is printing up money so fast it is like making time go in reverse.   All that new money has produced exactly what?  Do we have more goods or services as a direct or even indirect result of that new money?   China and other countries are seriously talking about making other currencies the reserve currency for the world.  China!  Brazil!   What’s up with that?

Our confidence is further eroded when we have legions of bureaucrats who are controlling every aspect of our lives that we didn’t even elect.  The EPA makes rules that causes increase in the cost of fuel which we need to drive our cars and have the electricity work when we flip the switch.  They go to any length to protect some two-inch fish while farmers in California starve for water.   We watch the government kowtow to the UAW with billions to bailout GM and the take extra money from the remaining  taxpayers to offer subsidies to build electric cars that very few can afford.   They sure won’t be able to afford the replacement costs of the batteries when they have to be replaced in a few years.  We see government workers making much more than those who work in real jobs that produce the goods and services we need to have an economy in the first place.   To make matters worse they won’t be losing their jobs anytime soon like anyone else would when times are tight.  Then they support the candidates who promise to maintain all they benefits and perks.

But, but, but….in spite of all that I do have to step back on occasion and remind myself that we have survived worse.  We made it through the War Between the States.  The aftermath was awful for the South but the North thrived and the South eventually revived even though it took generations.  Of course we survived both the World Wars or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  The economy has gone through many ups and downs over our generations from the very beginning.  When we first approved the Constitution the assumed debts from  the colonies for the war and its aftermath seemed huge.  But we got them under control and paid over time.  The people, not the politicians, learned to make do and survive the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  It was us that did that, not policies from Washington.   In spite of all the blather about how the government did this or that to pull us out of the Depression, it was individuals working, struggling and adapting that made the difference.  Sure the War added fuel to the fire but we had the people that responded to make it all work. 

During the period from the late ’40’s to the mid ’70’s we had that god-awful flirtation with the socialist agenda and it was actively promoted by our “betters”.  We forget quickly how many of the literati and elite told us we should adopt more of those programs from our socialists neighbors.  We did make some real mistakes along the way but somehow the days passed and another day would dawn and eventually we always came to a better place.  I think we still can again.     Those who want a benevolent government to be our master will push hard for an agenda to grow government and government power and influence.  But the people in the past have always rebelled at some point and said no more.   I believe they still have that backbone.  We have not become sheep yet.  Being a little cranky and cantankerous is not a bad thing in a free people.  As long as we have a truly “American” culture we will make it.  The real long-term danger we face is becoming a United Nations body politic.   I have no idea how things will work out on health care, the national debt, the tax system or the regulatory environment but I would still bet we’ll be here in 10 years.  If we can create just a crack in the nanny state, we’ll take off again.  We do have those animal spirits in us just as our ancestors did who braved the unknown and dangerous to civilize and populate our country.

“The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools” Ecclesiastes.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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