Greetings from Washington, DC where — after nine-plus inches of rainfall over six days — the sun is again shining. Friends and neighbors report epically flooded basements and worse.
And how about that Climate Change?
What I’ve discovered lately is that many normally healthy individuals among us have, this year, gotten seriously ill. In fact, this April, I spent over four days in hospital with an IV dripping antibiotics into my bloodstream to treat a serious gastrointestinal condition.
I’m all recovered. I hope.
So, what is making us so sick? I have no causal connections to make, but there are many corollaries to consider.
We are a nation of debilitated people that is enduring monumental stress. We cannot escape daily tweets from you-know-who, all which seem to blame someone or some others — but not him or the Russians — for some problem. We are like moths to the flame; in many cases, we cannot avert our eyes from our poison of choice: CNN, or MSNBC, or — let me try to keep from regurgitating breakfast — Fox News. Watching the constant feed loop of reactions to this or that which himself tweets has rendered many of us addled by Trump Derangement Syndrome.
And let’s be fair, the other side loses its collective $#:+, too.
We’re told that the economy is steam-rolling forward. Today, the government reported 4.1 percent economic expansion. (Woo Hoo.)
Is anyone woo hooing?
Real wage growth pancaked years ago. Those of us lucky enough to have steady employment are suffering through another year of wage and salary retrograde, especially Millennials. And now, American soybean farmers — the president’s natural constituency I suppose — are losing billions in sales of product to China, as a result of China’s reactions to the President’s tariffs against Chinese goods. And it will get worse.
Our friend and Tightrope podcast guest Eva Grodberg’s enterprise, Epic Experiences, is booming. She just concluded one of her best months in business, and, we couldn’t be more pleased for her. But the spike she’s seen in summer bookings — the reason why so many of her clients seek from her immediate escape to some sunny and secluded tropical locale or a Norwegian fjord— may be the result of them enduring so much stress at home. To those feeling the palpable effects of American Life, please seek immediate escape via Epic Experiences. You won’t be disappointed!
There is no official government dissatisfaction index to chart our collective woe; Jimmy Carter’s famous “Misery Index” elicited more scornful reply than it provided insight, but there should be something to provide the American workforce a tracking metric, because, workers today are at wits end. Those glorious economic spikes, represented in today’s 4.1 percent Second Quarter 2018 expansion result, are not turning into rising wages as was promised; instead, last year’s massive tax cuts are rewarding shareholders via over $400 billion in corporate stock-buybacks.
Helen Weiss, my savvy 89-year-old active Wall Street investor mother-in-law, says it best: “You wanna earn a good living? Learn how to play the stock market!” And she’s right. It used to be that a worker earned a comfortable living from wages and salaries. But, since the 1990s, that is less and less the case. Interestingly, learning to become a savvy investor may be the key to millions of Americans once again earning a good living so that they can do meaningful work, work that is profound, but also saves the planet, empowers people, and is fun. When we are less reliant on a paycheck, more of us will do the work that we want to do rather than the work others want us to do.
In the months to come, we will be exploring the topic of active investing as a tool to liberate us to do meaningful work. We think it could be the positive tipping point for the meaningful work revolution.
Meantime, take really good care of yourself and your heath. Book that postponed summer vacation. Unplug from the news and social media. Nourish your belly with tasty but healthful food, your body with fun travel and experience, and your mind with a good book or an art exhibition or a dramatic show.
During August, we will be hard at work, getting ready our new Fall Season of The Tightrope with Dan Smolen, which begins on Friday, August 31, 2018. Please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, or where ever else that you listen to podcasts, by keywording “The Tightrope with Dan Smolen.” That way, you’ll be alerted when new episodes are streaming.
The podcast episodes in production are amazingly good and we cannot wait to hear your reactions.
Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot remain the Debilitated States of America much longer. We must change ourselves and our circumstances.
And we will.
That is why I believe that our best days lie ahead.
DAN SMOLEN is executive producer and host of the podcast, The Tightrope with Dan Smolen. Listen and subscribe to us by keywording “The Tightrope with Dan Smolen” on Apple Podcasts. Also, please rate us and offer suggestions for future guests and topics.
Image credit: Norwegian Fjord, Getty Images.