Nearly everyone I talk to expresses relief at the end of 2009. It would be a good year to forget, that is, if we didn’t have to deal with the consequences of decisions and actions that will reverberate throughout the rest of our lives.
But it’s a new year now, so no doom and gloom. I’ll leave that to our President, and let me point out that he’s good at it! I’m not one to make resolutions, but there are several that I’ve made this year:
- Read more
- Write more
- Laugh more
- Love more
Yep, that about covers them.
Like many, I’ve decided to be cautiously optimistic about 2010. For one thing, the economy is slowly but surely turning around. This is apparent in all of the government-released economic statistics that indicate increased economic activity. Initial jobless claims are declining. Factory orders, inventories and industrial capacity utilization are improving, and banks are slowly returning to health. It bears pointing out that none of this is due to the stimulus package passed and signed into law less than a year ago. This is just what powerful economies do: sometimes they contract, and after a while, they start expanding again. And by the way, kudos to Messers Paulson and Bernanke for making sure the system didn’t collapse fifteen months ago. (The unemployment rate may begin to recede, but it will be based on the numbers of unemployed and the number of people who have given up looking for work. Those no longer seeking employment are not part of the unemployment statistics.)
And we get to vote again in 2010. No, not for President, but President Obama’s job will surely be more interesting and challenging this time next year. You see, one of the reasons that so many people are feeling more optimistic about 2010 is that they will be able to choose differently come election time. Democrats were swept into office in 2008 because the electorate was searching (in vain) for leadership. Republicans had ceased to provide it, so the Dems got a shot. Fourteen months later, they’ve managed to ignore, infuriate and frustrate the folks who put them there by passing wave upon wave of legislation that the “customers”, as Harry Truman called them, didn’t want. In the meantime, they have been totally fiscally irresponsible, and the funny thing is, they still don’t get it, because they’re passing Health Care legislation that a small minority of the population thinks is a good idea. If you can’t win a Republican seat in the House and Senate this year by blasting the Democratic opposition for the past fifteen months, then you really shouldn’t be running. If you don’t believe me, then Google Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell.
This is still the greatest economy in the greatest country the world has ever known. Corporate earnings and as a result, dividends (and tax revenues), will rebound. With that, jobs will be created. Working against this juggernaut will be irrational legislation–health care, financial reform, more fiscal stimulus–these will serve to drag down the economy not just this year, but into the forseeable future.
But the good news is that anything that’s passed can be repealed, and the constitutionality of it can be challenged. President Obama has had an oppressive run. Check that Freudian slip…an impressive run. I look forward to seeing how he’ll function without the overwhelming majority he currently has in both houses of Congress. He has shown little inclination to reach across the aisle up to this point. He may want to begin to hone that particular skill.