Today is my birthday. Though we usually cover weightier topics on the blog, it occurs to me that a birthday blog may be just the ticket this weekend.
After all, we are all sick of hearing the politicians attacking each other. Even though I love politics and follow political races closely, I have become satiated quickly this year. Like many Americans, we have a lot to do in our real lives; real issues that count like kids and aging parents to care for, customers and clients to please, and new dreams to dream. Life is full and busy and good.
Though we have real issues that count in the coming elections, so much effort has been spent in discussing pure fluff. The attack ads filling the airwaves have done little to focus on educating the public as to how the candidate believes on real issues, including national security, terrorism, and economic progress. Hopefully citizens who do vote take the time to actually read and think, instead of acting on instincts fueled by the latest ad. Surely we put more thought into our candidates for public office than we do for choosing the latest fashion. If not, then low voter turnout is a good thing.
On the econonomy, I noted the 4.4 percent unemployment figure this week - which clearly reflects full employment. The stock market shows optimism, and on the farm scene high commodity prices for corn and other grains have raised prospects for a good income year for producers (though livestock producers may not fare quite so well given higher feed costs). All this should bode well for candidates that support pro-growth policies. However, this assumes you get the right message and can discern such policies in the current climate.
It is instructive to note, however, that some leading Democrats are trying to signal the public that they are going to take a moderate tone if their party gains the majority in the House or Senate. (Barney Frank on Financial Services was the latest of this group.) It does seem odd that the party advocating change wants to give you more of the same if they do get the upper hand. Hmmm..
Anyway, for my birthday, I want to recognize one person: my mother. I have long believed that the customs of birthday gifts ought to be changed. Instead of giving gifts to the person who was born, who after all had nothing to do with the process, one should give a gift to one’s mother instead. This year we got my mother flowers on my birthday. After all, she had a lot to do with my being there on my first birthday, and in my surviving until the present day. (For example, even though she may have thought "I'm going to kill these kids if they track up my floors again", she never did follow through on those kinds of thoughts. In fact, if you knew my mom, I think it would be doubtful she even had such thoughts. I wish we could all be more like her.)
I was just asking my class the other day how many long-term relationships they could think of that were seriously lopsided or one-sided. I could only think of one: your relationship with your parents. They always keep giving to you, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. So, here’s to you, Mom on my birthday! (And Dad, thanks to you, too. You are also great. But your role in the birth experience was, well, less exasperating.)
For those following the blog (including new readers from Economic Trends, the newsletter—if you did not get a copy, please send us an e-mail and we’ll try to see that you get on our mailing list), be assured you don’t always get sappy commentary like this one. And you usually get more than you saw this last week – we were all terrifically busy having those full and busy and good lives. Well, at least full and busy. Regular commentary returns next week.