We love trying to predict the future. One might say it is our favorite pastime. We are not very good at this. I think we do greater service to ourselves by remembering the past and endeavoring to not repeat it.
The Road We Are Traveling
This morning I read the following from an article in the Wall Street Journal.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expect the unemployment rate to soar to 13% in June, which would be the highest in the post-World War II era. The jobless rate, which stood at 4.4% in March, hit 10% in October 2009, shortly after the last recession. Economists in the Journal poll expect it to fall in the second half and settle at 10% by the end of this year.
Economists are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to economic forecasting. I’m not digging on them. I mean, how can anyone possibly get it right? The emergence of a global pandemic notwithstanding, there are many external factors which can lead to an economy doing better, or worse, than anyone could predict.
I hope the current forecasts are exaggerated to the downside. For my business, for my community, and for my country.
Yet I feel compelled to ask questions. How much does it matter? Rather than months, what if it is years before we return to prosperity?
I’ve recently voiced concerns within my circle how I feel there is a distinct chance our country is entering an economic depression. If this were to become true then there is a clear answer to my first question. It would matter deeply. People losing their homes and starving on the streets is not something we ever want to witness.
I’ve been jogging around neighborhoods across the country since I was fifteen. I now walk. That age thing finally affected my knees. Recently I’ve seen more people out and about than ever before in my life. Yesterday I witnessed a mother playing basketball with her daughter in their driveway. Neither of them will be trying out for organized hoops anytime soon, but it was a beautiful sight.
There is a saying about the road less traveled. Not sure if it applies here, but the coronavirus has suddenly forced us all to spend time on a less traveled road. I wonder how long we will remain on our current path. I hope for a very long time. No predictions here. Just hope.
Let’s Try Serving Each Other
I read the following in an article a few days ago. We are not supposed to serve the economy. It serves us. I am shamelessly stealing this statement and making it my own. I did not see a trademark. I think I’m good.
That seems to be what we’ve become as a society. Servants to an economic engine. The majority of decisions based upon what is best for our economy.
Don’t get your feathers ruffled, my fellow capitalists. This is not a mantra for some whacked out socialist agenda.
Here’s a thought. It is possible to live in a free market economy with priorities focused on quality of life. Further, quality of life does not have to be based upon the size of our house, the gleam of our cars, or the expense of our vacations.
Everyone reading this article has heard or read something similar. But how many of us have actually lived to a set of principles devoid of financial yardsticks? Probably some of us. Maybe more of us going forward.
Speaking of serving, let’s discuss people. Specifically, our leaders.
We are not supposed to serve our leaders. A leader is a servant. This is what I teach. One of the goals of a leader is to enhance the welfare of those who look up to him or her.
Our politicians are often assigned the term leader, but how often do they truly embody that moniker?
Our current president is anything but a leader. Far from it. He expects service in his honor and gratitude for his mere presence in a room. This is becoming more and more apparent each day he steps in front of a podium during the COVID-19 crisis. He praises himself daily while Americans suffer. While the people who voted for him suffer.
Our political leaders are supposed to serve us. Remember the document called The Constitution of The United States? Of the people, for the people, and by the people.
I am finally in favor of term limits for congress. We give our presidents eight years. I think we should give members of congress twenty four years. Perhaps this sounds like a long time, but even I can begrudgingly admit that some senators and representatives have done great things for our country during their long tenures. John McCain comes to mind.
Life Before Prosperity
Our immediate future is uncertain. Our entire country feels anxiety right now. There is nothing wrong with having that feeling. It would be unnatural if we did not feel anxious. Maybe this anxiety can not be erased. But can it be reduced?
How much does prosperity matter? Rather than months, what if it is years before you return to prosperity?
Imagine if the year 2021 looks like this. You live paycheck to paycheck, but you have a family, a home, and food. Christmas is limited to one present per person, and only within your immediate family. Vacations consist of a walk in the local park, or binge-watching a television show. Going out to eat is only affordable once a month.
Can you be happy in the above scenario? If the answer is yes, did your anxiety for the future suddenly reduce just a little?
This global pandemic is an opportunity for us all to establish true priorities in life. We can choose leaders based upon who best aligns with our morals, and less upon who might bring us financial prosperity. We can worry less about a high-paying job, and focus more on careers which bring us happiness.
What if all sports are again cancelled in the fall? Can you find another outlet? Maybe your new favorite activity becomes a set of chairs in your front driveway, telling exaggerated stories over a few sodas. Or shooting hoops with friends.
Does your backyard have a sunrise? There is only one way to find out.