Over the past several weeks, I have had cause to reflect several times on this great country, our American spirit and the many amazing things we have achieved as a nation. The words of our Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the United States clearly announce our will and our commitment to the future. These documents were designed to live and grow just as our country has evolved and grown, to change as we change. As a nation, we always look to the future and to the opportunities that change creates, as well as the opportunities we can create.
But lately the new has been lackluster in spite of all we are doing today. An article in The Economistrecently posted both the good news and the not-so-good news about our recent growth. Unemployment is at 6.1%, the lowest it has been in almost 6 years, and in June the economy added 288,000 jobs adding to a total of 1.4 million jobs year to date. Yet our GDP has fallen, and most experts admit that the recovery we are experiencing is slow and even stagnant at times. Recent projections on GDP from the Congressional Budget Office peg the number at 2.1%, reverting downward from an earlier projection of 2.6%. Other experts are more critical and believe the number is actually well under 2%.
If you think about it, it’s clear why this has happened, why demand is restricted, and therefore supply is limited, and thus GDP is considered lagging. As a nation, we have been paying off debt at the government level, the business level and the private level. This naturally leads to fewer jobs in the economy, lowered demand in spite of prime interest rates, and naturally signals a slower pace to the recovery. Most countries, businesses and people are cleaning up their balance sheets, and in theory this will lead to significantly more stability and greater growth in the long term. But while we’re in the midst of this shift in behavior, we only see what is happening right now.
Now, as we make our way back to fiscal health as a nation, now more than ever we should be bold and brave. I truly believe America is becoming stronger. As we ease our debt burden, Americans will become more confident and refocus their attention on building our country and giving their kids a better life. As our balance sheets get stronger in business and as individuals, we have an obligation to put people back to work through our activity as participants in the economy.
In order to capitalize on this recovery as a nation we need to take the steps to push past our fears. Now is the time to invest in new technology, to explore new frontiers in the fields of medicine, technology, industry, energy, and education. Now more than ever we should invest in our futures. Most believe that policies coming from Washington do not support growth. We need to allow the free market to develop new ideas through the encouragement of free market stimulus. Allow the interest rates to move, encourage business and industry to invest in the American worker and the American economy, and discourage sending our dollars overseas.
Let’s face the change before us and make this change our own as we have always done. That should be our only constant.
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are likely to miss the future.”
– John F Kennedy