In survey after survey, people who are asked if the country is going in the right or wrong direction reply by saying the wrong direction. Asked if their kids will have a better or worse life than they did, they again reply in the negative. What’s behind that?
Well, let’s face it, it’s been lousy for a lot of people. A new Federal Reserve survey finds two-thirds of households have seen a 28% drop in overall net worth on average. Now, that’s not to say that some entrepreneurs aren’t doing well and that some small businesses haven’t actually found a way to take the adversity and actually grow their revenue. They have. But the overall effect has been that people feel poorer, they feel more anxiety and they worry more about the future.
There’s this all-pervading feeling that people believe America’s best days are behind us. Maybe all the doom and gloom is right, but I don’t think so.
I believe we have some unique advantages. We have diversity, we have a younger population than the other places that we ultimately compete with, and we have the very mentality of being entrepreneurial — a quality so rare in other places.
Sure, we do have challenges. We have a real political problem where people will only converse with those that they already agree with. But you can’t see possibilities and wider solutions if you only talk among yourselves.
I don’t know how much longer the raw partisanship that has characterized our country in recent years goes on. But I will tell you the solutions to the deficit, health care and how to deal with an aging population can’t come from a single place or a single point of view. We have to reach national understanding and we eventually will.
I think back to what it was like to do my radio show 3 years ago and the fear and sometimes outright panic that I was hearing in people’s voices. Weekend after weekend, you’d have a different part of the economy collapsing and requiring more taxpayer dollars to stay afloat. By comparison, we’re back from the brink.
We have unfinished business, but I believe our best days aren’t in the mirror and that they do in fact lie ahead.