HOW ARE WE DOING?
Here’s the latest update from Patrick Johnson, showing what would have happened if you had invested $1,000 in each of the suggestions here over the years (a 14.6% annualized return on your money) versus the same $1,000 each time in the S&P 500 Index (an annualized 7.5%). All the usual disclaimers apply.
(Not included in his results were GENIX and GONIX, suggested here a month ago and each already up more than 4% while the S&P 500 has remained flat. But Patrick felt — quite reasonably — they should not be included because their $250,000 minimums put them out of reach of most readers. But if this is an example of his subjective judgments working “against” me, I’m sure there are others that worked “for” me. I know his goal is just to be sensible and not skew the results in either direction.)
HOW IS U.S. DOING?
If I had told you as Barack Obama was being sworn in five years and three months ago — with the Dow plunging toward 6,500 — that we would avert depression, rescue Detroit, stabilize the housing market, double the Dow, achieve energy independence, end two wars, avoid two others, kill bin Laden, destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, degrade Iran’s nuclear capability, achieve LGBT equality, sell Plan B over the counter, triple the female representation on the Supreme Court, provide universally affordable health insurance, double the energy efficiency of our cars, grow private sector employment 49 straight months, slash the deficit, and bring National Debt growth back into line with GDP growth . . . you might well have said, “Dream on.”
Yet of course, with some important caveats, that’s exactly what we’ve done.
Sure, the fuel efficiency of our cars hasn’t doubled yet. But it’s headed that way.
Sure, we are only in the early stages of destroying Syria’s weapons and degrading Iran’s. But it’s begun.
“Sure,” I wrote back in December, “the health insurance roll-out makes news solely for its problems, gleefully exaggerated and exacerbated by its critics. But the problems will be solved.”
And guess what? All of us (except lower-income people living in states controlled by Republicans) now have access to affordable coverage regardless of whatever health problems we may have — or may develop. It doesn’t take long to say that, but it took our country nearly a century to get it, after we first started trying.
Sure, we haven’t entirely achieved LGBT equality. But the last major piece of the federal legislative puzzle – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – is now favored by a wide majority of the public, has been passed by a wide majority in the Senate, and would be signed into law tomorrow if only the House Republicans would allow it to come up for a vote.
Same (more or less) with comprehensive immigration reform — and with the $10.10 minimum wage — and with universal background checks — and with the American Jobs Act to put people back to work revitalizing our crumbling national infrastructure — all favored widely by the public, they would be law if only our Republican friends in Congress allowed them to come up for a vote.
So as we begin to look toward November and beyond, please take heart. Despite unprecedented obstruction, we’ve made enormous progress. And if we should happen to elect a Democratic Congress in 2014 — which would mean the House could actually vote on things that a majority of its members favor — we could make a lot more.