Donald Trump predicted
a "very massive recession" soon in the United States, saying that "it’s a terrible time right now" to invest in the stock market — though he claimed that he could eliminate the nation's $19 trillion debt "over a period of eight years."
Whatever happened to optimism? Don’t misunderstand. Nobody should mince words about where we’re heading on our current course.
But realists can also be optimists.
It’s possible to say, “If we keep spending, taxing and borrowing our way into oblivion, we’re going to collapse.” But it’s also possible to follow it up with, “If we reverse course, our best and brightest days are ahead.”
To be an optimist, one must grasp the essence of economic freedom. Economic freedom means more than relief from taxation, regulation and political cronyism.
At its root, it means freedom of the mind.
Everything good that happens — electricity, clean water, mass transportation, Star Trek-like technology, hunger defeated to the point where we have record obesity levels —happens because human minds are left free to think.
Innovative and entrepreneurial minds leave a disproportionate mark on all our lives.
They are what keep the world running.
Optimism is the key factor in our ability to think, create, produce and take risks. When you project that on an unfettered and massive scale, you get what America once was, and could be again.
A politician’s job is to set that capability free.
Donald Trump says he’ll eliminate the national debt if given eight years.
But how can he eliminate the debt other than by massive cuts in government spending?
Nothing can be sacred, not even entitlement programs.
Yet it’s even more than that: Government spends most of its money curtailing, thwarting and impeding entrepreneurism. Consider the areas where things function the worst: health care, education, highways. These are the areas most controlled, subsidized, regulated and funded by government.
Now consider the areas where things function the best: smartphone and computer technology, entertainment (Amazon, Netflix), clothing, groceries.
These are the areas least controlled and manipulated/managed/regulated/meddled in by the government. There is a definite pattern.
In its most capitalistic era (1776 to the early 20th Century), America proved the awe-inspiring power of capitalism, and human history was changed forever. Economic prosperity was unleashed by human potential.
America started out economically and politically free, but over the centuries we have drifted away from this freedom.
And we have paid the price over and over with boom-and-bust cycles, a shrinking middle class and a corrupt political establishment. Both chapters of our history show us the same thing: Freedom is right, and freedom works.
Without economic freedom, we cannot defeat any military threat, including ISIS. It costs money to build and maintain a military. Without robust economic strength, there can never be peace.
A healthy mental state requires both optimism and realism. When I help emotionally troubled people in therapy, I encourage them to think positively.
I also help them learn to treat the positive as more important than the negative.
Republicans scream personal insults at each other while Democrats call for unfettered socialism. Where’s the hope?
Trump blames America’s economic problems on China. But China did not force America to become a less economically free country. America did this to itself. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that America has the history and the grounding to restore greatness, i.e., prosperity, military security, and first and foremost, the preservation of individual rights.
It’s hard to imagine anything more optimistic or realistic than what lifted America to the greatness it once enjoyed. If only we’d give it another chance.
Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., LCSW is a psychotherapist and author with a private practice in coastal Delaware. He is the author of “Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (and How to Tell the Difference).” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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