Landscape Art is Interpretive
According to Rick Newman of The Daily Ticker people in Spain, Greece, Russia, and China are down on America .1 That’s not surprising as everyone hates a winner or one that’s perceived to be one. Ask the Yankees, Heat, Patriots, or Cowboys. Cellar-dwellers like Greece with their near 30% national unemployment 3 or Spain with its negative Industrial Production 4 or Russia with its national alcoholism running so rampant that a 15 year old Russian boy has a 40% chance of dying before age 60 5 sounds a lot like Browns, Cubs, T-Wolves, Hornets, or Lions fans taking pot shots their more popular and profitable rivals. You sort of expect it from the laggards; however, Americans are now feeling down on America. In fact a Pew Research Poll found in 2008 that 36% of Americans felt China was becoming the world’s superpower. This year the number rose to 47%. 1 The percentage of Americans that are satisfied with their lives is close to record lows and 77% believe our leaders are harming the nation. 1 Just look at Obama favorable ratings which dropped to a near all-time low 45% and Congress is a laughable (if it weren’t so sad) tied for an historical low of 12%. 2
There is no doubt that America is going through some transitions. We have a shrinking middle class with industrial and manufacturing jobs leaving the U.S. for Third-World countries which has helped lead to stagnation or outright decline in real household income over the last couple of decades. 1 Partisan politics has produced no real solution to employment, underemployment, and wage issues while taxes, food prices, and gasoline are seen to be higher. No one is fixing problems real to most Americans.
However, the truth is that the green pasture, for those who participated in the Pew Report, is mainly a Georgia O’Keefe landscape…a beautiful work, but not necessarily real. The artist’s interpretation is what they want you to see. The perceived world power, China, is a power in numbers, but not necessarily a power in output. Inefficiencies and corruption waste much of their production, while their income per capita is $4,340. U.S. per capita income is approximately $43,000. 170 Million Chinese live in poverty which equates to roughly half of our entire population. 1 The bourgeoning Chinese middle class is caught in the governmental paradox of providing capitalism while trying to maintain communistic rule. That struggle will grow as more and more of their countrymen are introduced to wonders that this released genie can provide.
As I wrote in an earlier blog entitled “It’s a Wonderful Life,” there are places that may be leading the way right now regarding health or education. However, even with all of our warts and our political follies, don’t stop cheering for us just because we’re the team that everyone else loves to hate. If this world is a ghetto, we’re the best house is this very dangerous neighborhood. If you had to be on a lonely street late at night, you’d want to be on ours.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance references is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
1. “America Becomes a Defeatist Nation.” Rick Newman. Daily Ticker. 7/24/2013. http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/america-becomes-defeatist-nation-142752009.html
2. “Obama and Congress face falling ratings.” David Jackson. USA Today. 7/24/2013 http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/07/24/obama-congress-nbc-wall-street-journal-poll/2581993/
3. “Greek unemployment rate scales new high in April.” Reuters. 7/11/2013. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/11/us-greece-unemployment-idUSBRE96A0BP20130711
4. “Key Indicators in Brief.” Moody’s Analytics. 5/30/13 http://www.economy.com/dismal/outlook/country.aspx?geo=IESP
5. “Alcoholism is Killing off Russian Men.” John Hudson. The Atlantic Wire. 2/15/2011. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/02/alcoholism-is-killing-off-russian-men/17768/