A Positive Approach to the US Economic Downturn
In the spirit of Good Friday, we’ll keep our message upbeat today.
For starters, all government offices are closed. So there’s some good news right off the bat! The financial markets are also closed, which is probably good news for the holders of gold and silver. If the markets are closed, no one can enter a “Sell” order.
Let’s see…what else?
Well, the US economy continues to merely muddle along…and that’s not all bad. A booming economy is grossly over-rated. It’s impossible to get a reservation in a top restaurant, the flights to Tahiti are always overbooked and the waiting list for a new Ferrari can extend for months.
Give us a slow-growth economy any day!
But we won’t complain either way. As regular readers of this column know very well, we’re glass-half-full folks. Always on the prowl for that silver lining, that ray of sunshine, that glass with something in it…even if it’s not half-full.
Intriguingly, these positives often appear where you would least expect to find them.
Good Friday, itself, is a textbook example.
According to the Biblical account, none of the disciples were whooping it up and popping champagne corks while Jesus was hanging on the cross. Quite the opposite. No one was feeling very good about this very first Good Friday. In fact, this Friday would not become “Good” until three days later, when the Resurrection would place the crucifixion in an entirely different context.
From that day forward, the Roman’s cross of death would become the Christian’s cross of eternal life.
But the Christian faith, we have learned, does not possess a monopoly on counter-intuitive blessings. Many of life’s richest moments arise from the crucible of adversity. In fact, death itself provides many of life’s most profound pleasures.
Dying maple leaves and rotting cabernet grapes come to mind…as do agave plants. They are “monocarpic,” which means they flower just once, then die. The blooms are spectacular.
Two years ago, we compared the US economy to an agave plant. “The US is like a monocarpic plant that has just flowered,” we observed. “The US just enjoyed one of the most incredible economic performances of any nation ever, which morphed into one of the most spectacular credit bubbles of all time. But it feels like that’s over now. The ensuing bust won’t unfold all at once, but it will unfold.”
Since offering this prediction, some portions of the US economy have staged a tepid rebound. But the housing market has continued busting.
Should we lament our fate? Should we weep and moan? Or should we get out our checkbook?