Being positive in negative political times

Investors and business analysts tend to be optimistic and hopeful about future economic prospects. Cynics might say that it’s because negativism hurts business. Although we all have conditioned attitudes toward life, positive views benefit both our personal health and how others react to us. Still, to avoid deceptive ideas, “false prophets” and bitter disappointment reality must overcome emotion.

Despite the daily deceits from government officials and their statist allies, the contention of opposing forces and media propaganda, most Americans remain reasonably optimistic—especially about long-term investing and economic security. A couple of articles in the current American Fund Investor Magazine ( provide examples:

“Do as I do: Financial lessons passed from parents to children” features personal stories of three families whose parents’ positive influences about spending, saving and investing helped set them on a “path to greater freedom.” For Jason Sutphin in North Carolina, fiscal restraint, setting spending priorities and saving for wants were taught by his parents.

This reminds me that regardless of our personal conditions and external factors, the quality of our lives depends upon being taught the proven traditional virtues of civil life—including self- discipline—, associating with successful people and making proper choices.

The other Investor Magazine article reported “Energy independence for the U.S. is approaching.” Despite frequent media doomsday hype and government obstructions, within a decade America will be energy independent. Further, there’s a “coming U.S. renaissance” in domestic manufacturing—“Made in the U.S.A”—, and “Housing is on the move,” according to American Fund managers and investment professionals.

Portfolio Manager Jim Rothenberg says that our technical advances in energy resource extraction make this a “game changer.” It’s now possible, with geologic innovations and fracking and horizontal drilling technology, for energy companies to tap “vast” natural gas and oil resources.

In addition to shale oil and gas extraction, infrastructure and transportation technologies have “profound implications” for our economy. For example, Portfolio Manager Martin Romo reports that “In 2012, more than 200,000 carloads of crude oil were moved by rail in the U. S.—40 times more than in 2006.”

In a related story from the October 3 issue of the Wall Street Journal (, U.S. oil prices rose 2 percent based on news that the southern part of the TransCanada Corp. Keystone XL pipeline is nearly complete. American oil prices have been depressed relative to world prices because of the lack of infrastructure to carry thousands of barrels of oil piled up at a large storage hub near Cushing, Okla. during the past three years. The new pipeline will efficiently move 700,000 barrels of crude per day to refineries on the Gulf Coast. This North American resource will replace imports of higher priced overseas oil.

Investors and analysts remain optimistic despite “political headwinds” that negatively influence our energy needs. Radical environmentalists and political supporters persist in efforts to sabotage American energy production and use—the Obama administration refuses to approve the pipeline from Canada to Cushing. They divert valuable resources to inefficient, wasteful, but politically approved and subsidized energy. Still the southern leg of the TransCanada pipeline infrastructure promises to give us an economic boost thanks to the U. S. energy industry, and the optimistic support of American investors.

It’s difficult to be positive with the daily onslaught of negative news about divided, dysfunctional and crony federal government. We can only have faith that remnants of the American spirit will prevail; that some individual citizens—motivated to improve their lives by creating, making things and investing—will carry on with activities that give all of us more economic freedom.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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