Taking power away from an incumbent party requires negativity. You have to convince people things aren’t that good, that you’re the guys to fix things. To even make an intra-party insurgency work, you have to convince people within that party that things are wrong somehow.
But outside politics, things are actually pretty good.
The dollar is on a roll it hasn’t seen since the 1990s.
The currencies of China and the European Union, meanwhile, are falling in value. The yen is in freefall, you can buy 123 of them for $1. Deflation has replaced inflation as the economic buzzkill, with oil leading commodities down. What we need to buy is getting cheaper, and what we have to buy it with is worth more than it has been for over a decade.
Our government is doing all it can to mitigate the swings, knowing that an expensive dollar makes it hard to export, and that it cuts profits for those companies that do. But it also means that, if you’re a Chinese or European investor, even your Coca-Cola shares are looking mighty fine right now – they’re worth a lot more in terms of your home currency.
Unemployment has been falling steadily, and is now at about 5.5%. That’s not yet at 1990s levels, and the jobs don’t pay as well as they did then, either. But it’s no longer in double-digits, as it was in 2009. Compare this recovery to the one that directly preceded it – the 2000s’ recovery based on housing and financial engineering – there’s no comparison at all. This one is real. It’s based on intellectual property of all sorts – mainly Internet, entertainment, and drugs.
We ignore the productivity enhancements of this decade at our financial peril. Cloud and devices have done what PCs and servers only promised to do, eliminating market friction, making it easier to buy, sell, and account for it all. Immense value has been created by this, real value we can build on. The center of our economy has moved, from offices and things, into the areas where researchers and entrepreneurs play. How we deal with that is a political question, but it’s one we can now ask. We now have the opportunity to work seriously on saving this planet, and on finding new ones.
Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake? According to iCasualties it was David Hickman, a 23-year old specialist from North Carolina, who died from an Improvised Explosive Device on November 14, 2011. There hasn’t been an American death in Iraq attributed to hostile action since then. So far this year the U.S. has had four deaths in Afghanistan, none from hostile fire.
The uninsured rate is at multi-decade lows. In states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act it’s under 8%. The Medicare cost curve is finally bending down, meaning the “deficit bomb” that threatened to take the dollar down has been defused. Crime, especially violent crime, continues to decline, despite the proliferation of guns, and despite the highly-publicized mass murders of the last few years.
American culture is dominant. America’s Internet companies are dominant. America’s military is dominant. America is now in a position to create a peace dividend and it is creating one. The social issues that bedeviled us so much in the last decade are becoming less important. We’re safer, we’re richer, and there’s more opportunity here, right now, than anywhere else on the planet.
Politically, things are approaching “era of good feeling” levels. The views of so-called “independent” voters now align closely with the views of Democrats. We are generally in agreement on a whole host of issues that once divided us badly. That’s an enormous majority on one side of the political spectrum, the kind that leads to landslides. We haven’t seen a real landslide election since 1984, but we just might get one 2016.
You won’t read about this in the media, because better times are not a story, and the media business itself is collapsing as publishers are unable to get a premium price for defined audiences. You won’t see this story much on TV because it’s always more fun to follow a clown show than listen to an informed seminar.
But it’s all true.
Why is it happening? It’s happening because the policies of this President have worked. Most Americans understand this. Most Americans accept this. The set-up for the coming election, right now, looks better for the incumbent party than at any time since 1984. It’s setting up to be a validation year, and you can make money by betting on that. You can achieve great things in business or in your personal life by taking advantage of that.
The crisis I wrote about here starting in 2006 is well and truly over. We’ll be playing the 1976 Game next year, only without Watergate to tear down the incumbent’s party. Even if Hillary Clinton is a Ford, not a Reagan, she could have the easiest time for a non-incumbent since George Herbert Walker Bush in 1988. All she has to do is get the knees to jerk, and this time, for the first time, they’re preparing to jerk to the left.