We have come a very long way from the days of our country’s founding. Recent research has put forth the gruesome suggestion that the first settlers in Jamestown may well have resorted to cannibalism to survive the winter. Today our biggest nutritional problem appears to be obesity.
Yet, there is a pervasive sense of gloom. It is very easy to be thankful when we were experiencing a booming economy. Instead, we tune into the nightly news to hear of increased health care costs, increasing fear of terrorism and a plodding economic recovery.
That is why it is even more important than normal to be thankful for the things that are going right with the U.S. economy. We are living through an economic battle between free enterprise and wealth creation versus government and wealth redistribution. So far, it is the entrepreneurs that have kept the economy moving forward. There have been incredible changes in the past several years. It turns out that we really can “drill, baby drill!” to get lower oil and gas prices. Computers, apps and the internet have made life easier for just about everyone. Medical advances allow people to continue meaningful lives after facing ailments that would have killed their parents. Our grocery store shelves have never been more full and varied. Driverless cars, once only a science fiction dream, are under development. Imagine what that will mean for the elderly who now have their cars keys taken away when they get too old to drive.
One of the things that contribute to the sense of gloom is that the print and broadcast media seems to focus obsessively on the political world. Keep in mind that the TV broadcasters have to fill up 24 hours or time with “stuff” and the newspapers are starving for readers. Some have termed this “econo-tainment,” which seems designed to heighten anxiety with predictions of disaster.
Despite many obstacles, the economy has moved forward, albeit more slowly than we would have wished. So as you gather with your family this week, give some thanks to the people who have invented, innovated and built things that make out lives better in so many ways.