My eternal optimism for the New Year is with the American people. It is not with a newly controlled Congress or the battered leadership in the White House.
Optimism has always been the soul and spirit of successful Americans, buttressed by a backbone of resiliency. Americans in 2007 will continue to improve their lives, their communities and the economy despite the incremental setbacks imposed by Congress, and the inability of the administration to achieve breakthrough legislation on the big issues that matter the most. The big issues will not change in the coming year – namely, national security, sustaining a vibrant economy, restructuring Social Security and Medicare and runaway government spending.
The Americans who will improve their lives in the coming year are the ones who will not fall for the political rhetoric. They will see their present situation as an opportunity to take another positive step forward. Democrats continue to trumpet that this vibrant economy, low unemployment, home ownership at an all-time high and higher average wages are only helping the rich. They consistently illustrate the old saying that numbers don’t lie, but liars use numbers. Sometimes, the liars don’t use any numbers at all.
This vibrant economy will give some workers a boost to their company-sponsored retirement plan in the New Year, and it will give some workers an opportunity to participate in a retirement plan for the first time. Low unemployment means nearly everyone who chooses to work will have a job. For those who choose to work two jobs to get that first home or send their children to college, the New Year will bring some new hope. These optimistic families are not waiting for a new tuition tax deduction from Uncle Sam.
Higher average wages are driven more by those who choose to work a little harder, and more consistently, than they are driven by those who choose to stay stuck in class warfare neutral, or those waiting for an increase in the minimum wage. Granted, some people will be worse off in 2007 because of circumstances beyond their control, but there is no government agency called the “Department of Happy” to make their dreams come true.
For those Americans who believe in pursuing their happiness rather than waiting for another incremental crumb from Washington, D.C., and for those who look for the best in circumstances rather than the worst, 2007 will be a Happy New Year.
Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.
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