December 31, 2004

Need A Little Good News?

No, it's not a Chrenkoff post. I realize it's been a tough week newswise for optimists, (and I have avoided posting anything tsunami-related, though I'm not sure why. See Belmont Club here and here and Normblog for interesting and unique posts on that front). But Radley Balko has a piece up at Fox reminding us that all is not coming unglued just yet. Here's a sample:

-America is healthier. Life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all-time high among men and women, black and white. People at every age can expect to live longer than anyone at their age in U.S. history. Heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke have fallen dramatically in the last 15 years. Incidence of, and deaths from, cancer have dropped every year since 1990.

-America is cleaner. Concentration levels of every major air pollutant have dropped dramatically since 1970, even as we drive more, consume more, and produce more. According to data analyzed by the Pacific Research Institute, U.S. water has been getting steadily cleaner for the last 20 years.

-The world is less violent. In his book, "A History of Force," the historian James L. Payne argues that when you adjust for population increases, over the course of history, the average citizen of the world has grown less likely to die a violent death caused by government, war or his fellow man. War, murder, genocide, sacrificial killing, rioting - all have tapered off over time.

Lots more where that came from. And speaking of optimism and hope, read Peggy Noonan too:

For the new year, two thoughts. Remember it can all be swept away in a moment, so hold it close and love it while you've got it. And may we begin 2005 pondering how much we have in common, how down-to-the-bone the same we are, and how the enemy is not the guy across the fence but the tragedy of life. We should try to make it better.

If it's the economy that has you concerned, there's Larry Kudlow (Mr. Sunshine) to bring you comfort:

Here are a few simple facts. In the six quarters after Bush's tax cuts, real GDP expanded at a 4.6 percent annual rate, much faster than the 2.5 percent pace of the six earlier recovery quarters. Consumer spending jumped from 2.8 percent to 3.9 percent. Business investment in new plant and equipment surged to 13.4 percent from only 1 percent before the tax cuts. Personal income jumped to a 5 percent growth rate, nearly double the earlier speed of 2.6 percent. The average employment gain (combining both surveys) was 2.4 million compared with virtually no gain before the tax cuts.

Corporate profits, without which businesses cannot create jobs, now stand at a record $1.118 trillion - 56 percent above their recession trough, 25 percent above the prior recovery peak of the late '90s, and at a near-record 9.5 percent of GDP. Broad stock market averages have jumped 60 percent from their lows. Home ownership is at an all-time high, as are existing home sales. U.S. household wealth stands at a record $51 trillion.

Nowadays, amidst all this economic good news, the declinist rant has shifted to the twin budget and trade deficits. The former is declining even while import increases are widening the latter. Both, however, are sins of economic strength, not weakness.

Feel better now?

Posted by dan at December 31, 2004 12:22 AM