Wednesday, January 11, 2017

There's Reason for Good Cheer

This may sound like Pollyanna central, but there really is good reason to be optimistic about the future. In fact, there are many good reasons.

A recent Wall Street Journal article sets the stage.

  • Americans are far wealthier on a per capita basis than their European counterparts.
  • Over 80% of workers interviewed in a recent survey are earning more than their parents did.
  • Far more people want to move to the U.S. than to leave it. (That apparently takes into account those who said they would leave if Trump was elected.)
  • American industriousness remains tops among G-7 countries based on hours worked per capita.
In terms of innovation, we're on the cusp of marvelous advances -- everything from artificial intelligence to gene therapy to plants that withstand the rigors of climate change. I just rode in a self-driving electric car, which soon will be powered by built-in solar panels on its roof.

Thanks to the shale revolution, we are on the verge of energy independence, actually exporting natural gas, something unheard of just a few years ago. Major petroleum companies are investing heavily in renewable energy, helping drive advances that will enable solar and wind to compete without subsidies in the free market.

In Florida, tourism is up, setting new records, and unemployment is down. We are the 4th fastest growing state and were recently rated the 4th best state in which to do business. Our farms are reaping the benefits of improved agricultural practices, providing higher crop yields on less land than ever before. And the response to Zika, in terms of both containment and mosquito control, has been exemplary.

On the legislative front, Tallahassee is primed to increase education funding and deal with as many issues as its fragile budget will allow -- hopefully including water pollution, Medicaid reimbursement, mental health, identity theft, gambling regulations and more.

Locally, three new Collier County commissioners and a number of new Naples and Marco Island councilpersons portend hope for clearing roadblocks on growth management and addressing long-standing problems like affordable workforce housing and a narrow economic base.

Then there is the Trump effect. Anticipating lower corporate taxes and a rollback of regulations, the stock market is soaring, benefiting the over 50% of Americans who are in one way or another invested. 

And for those of us from Connecticut, there are the UConn Huskies -- the best women's basketball team on this or any other planet. The ladies just tied their own record by winning their 90th straight game, the most by any basketball team, men or women, in sports history.

Now there's a reason for good cheer!

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