Letter: 20 years go by quickly
For the most part in the U.S., 2000 to 2010 was a lost decade in stocks, and post-2008 was a time for most of us working adults in America to put our heads down and try to put the pieces together. We spent time applying to countless jobs, working jobs we didn’t want, and all the while raising kids or welcoming the kids back home from college because there wasn’t a job out there.
It was more important — and the path of least resistance — for us Americans to get back to full-time work and just get on with our lives. Far better than me have explained the transition of our economy to a service-based one, but as the 2016 election showed, there are cracks in our culture, pride and know-how that only started seeping to the surface because of it.
Today, under a shelter in place order brought about by COVID-19, most of us peace-loving, climate conscience, try-and-do-the-right-thing citizenry, try hard not to get wrapped up in partisan politics.
Since 2016, under the “America First” moniker, we took a very blunt approach to take back those yesteryears of American greatness with trade wars and tariffs. China spent the 2000s building itself into the second-largest economy in the world. We have all seen the pictures showing massive development in China. They single-handedly created the “commodity supercycle” of the early 2000s, all the while building a manufacturing export empire.
As national pride soared and factory floors ran around the clock, Xi Jinping became party leader for life. Xi, at any time, could have swept Trump’s rhetoric under the carpet with honey potion and kept doing what they have always been doing since 1972, but instead played table stakes to show the world it was time for differences to be drawn.
Today, news articles are clearly illustrating that China now produces most of the key ingredients to our most needed health care drugs, they produce our life-saving equipment to keep our front-line defenders safe, and if we really wanted to peel back the onion, they produce almost everything we touch in our daily life. As we will see in the coming weeks, our unemployment rate will soar into the double-digit teens, something that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. The bulk of those jobs are service related.
I know most aren’t thinking about global supply chains too closely or the massive $6 trillion currently being pumped into Main Street and the financial system to stave off a depression and steady the country, but we need to. Thinking bigger for the next 20 years may involve five- and 10-year plans that don’t expire with new elections.
Will we have the courage of sustainability in the next cycle?
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