Our news media is loaded with bad news, and not too much good news to balance it.
That is especially true in an election year, when those on the outside know they can’t get elected by telling us how well everything is going.
Yes, we know we are living in a time of organized terrorism; when deranged gunmen shoot innocent people for no reason other than they happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time; and when disagreements at government's highest levels fill our TV sets.
Well, here is some balance that, perhaps, has not been at the front of your mind. One must go back several years to get a true perspective on what is happening in our country, which is why I have traced our nation’s economic and military news back to 2008 to compare with our situation today.
●Unemployment: was 7.3 percent, is now 5.0 percent.
●Gasoline: highest average price in 2008 was $4.11 per gallon, this year was $2.88. (Today it is $2.04.)
●Foreign oil purchased: was 11 million barrels, is now 4.5 million.
●National GDP growth: was -0.3 percent, is now + 3.7 percent.
●Stock market: was 10,355, is now 17,265.
●Teen pregnancy: was 40.2 pregnancies per thousand, is now 26.5.
●Military in war zones: was 140,000, is now 10,300.
●U.S. military killed: was 1,016; this year, so far, it is 57.
So, shall we give President Obama credit for improvements in our economic situation?
No. Presidents don’t have much leverage when it comes to the economy. They can’t tell businesses how many people to hire or how many products to produce. When asked about such, President Jimmy Carter once said, “Congress and the Federal Reserve have more control over the economy than the president.”
Rather, we should credit inventions and innovations in the oil industry and our economic recovery that has whittled down the annual deficit to the lowest it has been since 2008.
The news media create so much of our national state of mind. They make their living from playing and replaying the political rhetoric in Washington DC.
Much of that is negative, and has more to do with the party not in power telling us what is wrong that they can correct if only we will vote for them.
Donald Trump uses the slogan, “Make America great again.” Our country is already No. 1 in so many categories that it is hard to imagine who will ever catch us.
The military? We have 11 aircraft carriers — more than the entire rest of the world combined. Russia and China each have one.
The economy? Our GDP is roughly 23 percent of the world’s total economic output. That is roughly equivalent to the economies of Japan, Germany, Russia, England, France, India and Brazil all together.
So, we have an illegal immigration problem. Why? A large portion of the world wants to come here. Many countries have open borders; Canada and Australia are good examples. They can’t get enough people to come there to live.
We do have a problem, but it is caused by positive reasons.
Considering what we are hearing in the political wars, any good news at all is worth celebrating.
The improvement in our economic numbers and military situation should cause us all to pause here at the end of another year and be thankful for small favors.
Mark L. Hopkins writes for More Content Now and Scripps Newspapers.
He is past president of colleges and universities in four states and currently serves as executive director of a higher-education consulting service.
Contact him at email@example.com.