Ready for some good news?
Let’s take a breather from wallowing in politics, where the mantra seems to be that we are a nation of faded glory with doom all around us.
It’s encouraging that the U.S. economy has added jobs for 72 months straight. Unemployment is down to 5 percent. And contrary to the prediction of an all-is-dire pitchman, a massive recession does not loom. The auto industry just had its best year ever. The economy is growing.
Another old shibboleth is that Americans are miserable on the job. Not so. Americans are workers and most Americans like their jobs and get satisfaction from them. Wages are (too slowly) rising but they are going up. The average gap in economic satisfaction between the upper and lower thirds in income is lower than it was during the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton or George W. Bush years, according to the respected Index of Consumer Satisfaction.
The world of work is changing, however, as are the tools needed for the jobs of tomorrow. Change is hard, but Americans are great adapters.
There have been many statements that the Affordable Care Act would cause employers to drop health insurance coverage. That has not happened. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, employers are more determined to provide health benefits than before the law.
In more good news, SeaWorld will no longer breed orcas in captivity and will no longer catch killer whales for display.
We’ve made enormous mistakes fighting terrorists. But it’s not true the United States is doing little to stop terrorism.
The U.S. has been destroying the Islamic State’s finances and access to cash. More than 10,000 drone strikes have killed experienced leaders of the Islamic State, reducing its territory and destroying its oil reserves. This is not a war won overnight, but also not one without victories.
Nuclear weapons could obliterate the planet. But they have not been used for evil, and many are working to prevent that.
At the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, 50 top international leaders revealed their progress. They have removed or secured all the highly enriched uranium and plutonium from more than 50 facilities in 30 countries. Fourteen nations have rid themselves entirely of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
In addition, the U.S. got rid of 138 tons of its surplus of highly enriched uranium. Despite poor relations with Russia, the U.S. is working with it to eliminate enough Russian highly enriched uranium for about 20,000 nuclear weapons, which is being converted to electricity in the U.S.
The next time you hear someone insist this country is in really bad shape, take it with a grain of salt. And, incidentally, a little bit of daily salt is good for you, according to a study of 100,000 people reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.