2. THE KAHUNA'S RANT O' THE WEEK: Don't Believe Everything You Hear
I continue to be amazed that Americans can be so gloomy over the state of the economy with 4.7 percent unemployment rates.
But then I remember that there are millions of people who honestly believe that the tax cuts from May 2003 have NOT had a positive effect.
Which proves and indisputable fact: when it comes to public perception, HE who has the biggest microphone wins the minds of the majority.
I read 10 newspapers a day, listen to dozens of news reports and watch a little TV when I'm not working or on the golf course.
Nowhere have I read (with a few exceptions) the following ACTUAL official economic data statistics shared with the American taxpayer:
1) Real GDP expanded more than $1 trillion — or 11 percent — between the first quarter of 2003 and the end of last year.
2) Five million new jobs were created — more than Japan and Europe combined.
(And by the way, when the guy on TV says that more jobs were created in past recoveries, remind yourself that in this recovery — the one in the 21st century — fewer jobs were lost in the contraction phase because our economy today is only 14 percent manufacturing versus 25 percent or 30 percent as in past economies.)
It is like apples to oranges to compare an economy that lays off huge amounts of manufacturing labor going into a recession only to hire back the same people later and call that "job creation." We have "created" fewer jobs in this recovery simply because we laid off millions fewer people from manufacturing jobs.
3) Real (after inflation) personal income has mushroomed up 5.7 percent on a compounded rate from first-quarter 2003 — that's almost $2,100 in more after-tax personal income per capita!
4) Industrial production is up $300 billion in the last three years (despite the cries of "you outsourced my job"). We did not outsource anything that did not deserve to be outsourced — what we did was improve productivity 3 percent a year.
5) Between the second quarter of 2003 and the end of 2005, 3.9 million new businesses were started, replacing the weak and wobbly businesses that always go away during a recession. It's called creative destruction, and it is the secret ingredient to our world-leading rates of returns of capital invested and productivity achieved.
A DEFICIT OF FACTS
So why do people, when polled, say their confidence in our economy is in the tank?
Because that's the ONLY message that seems to be getting out to them. When a president's approval rating drops to 30 percent — and below 50 percent in his own party — the megaphone is not his any longer.
The only thing we have to fear is the fear mongers themselves, but right now the fear mongers dominate the media and so the masses are fearful.
The fear mongers love to talk about how the trade deficit setting up our country for economic Armageddon.
The U.S. has run a "trade deficit" as currently defined for about 350 of the last 400 years.
We run a trade deficit with the world because our economy is larger than Europe, Japan and China put together! You have to get your mind around the reality that the economic scale of the United States versus the rest of the world is NOT comparable — not even close.
If you were to take the production of goods and services of U.S.-owned subsidiaries that sell OUR stuff (made somewhere else) and subtracted that GDP from the "deficit," you would see how small our actual trade deficit really is.
Furthermore, to obsess over one number as if it were hermetically sealed-off from the rest of economic measurement — i.e., capital inflows, personal incomes, corporate profits, personal and corporate wealth accumulation — is as insane as asking former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to teach an ethics in government class.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Through education, hard work, taking risks once in a while, and entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship, there are GREAT opportunities for Americans to improve their economic circumstances.
But financial wealth in itself does not make anyone happy — the pursuit of financial wealth alone does not end with bliss.
You have to make very large investments of your time, your love and your energy in building a portfolio of emotional assets — the things, people, activities, places and pursuits that actually bring or pay the "dividends" of joy, laughter, engagement and ultimately fulfillment.
People's short-term "happiness" with the economy comes and goes with whomever and whatever dominates the short-term news.
What you should care about is YOUR emotional assets and financial asset portfolio management and leave the belly aching to those who look for self-fulfillment in the actions and activities of others.
As long as you keep informed with the actual data and forget the agenda-laden doomsayers selling illusory redemption from quasi-socialism, you will be long the most advantaged stocks in the world and you'll tune out everything else.
Tobin Smith is a ChangeWave Research editor and regular FNC business contributor.
Catch FOX News' "Cost of Freedom" Business Block, Saturdays beginning at 10 a.m. ET, for more with Tobin Smith and the entire FNC business team.