There Will Always Be Some Excuse Not To Prepare For The Future

Somewhere along the line, our students have been taught that because of climate change, the world is going to end before they reach a ripe old age. Somehow the idea that the earth’s climate goes through cycles is not mentioned. Also not mentioned is the fact that in the past the earth’s climate has changed drastically, and we are still here. Remember, they have found plant fossils deep under the ice in Greenland. Aside from the destruction of the scientific method, what our children are being taught also has real-world consequences.

Marketwatch posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Young people blame climate change for their small 401(k) balances.”

The article reports:

Lori Rodriguez, a 27-year-old communications professional in New York City, is not saving for retirement, and it isn’t necessarily because she can’t afford to — it’s because she doesn’t expect it to matter.

Like many people her age, Rodriguez believes climate change will have catastrophic effects on our planet. Some 88% of millennials — a higher percentage than any other age group — accept that climate change is happening, and 69% say it will impact them in their lifetimes. Engulfed in a constant barrage of depressing news stories, many young people are skeptical about saving for an uncertain future.

“I want to hope for the best and plan for a future that is stable and secure, but, when I look at current events and at the world we are predicting, I do not see how things could not be chaotic in 50 years,” Rodriguez says. “The weather systems are already off, and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to be a little apocalyptic.”

It’s a fairly safe bet that Social Security will not exist by the time she is old enough to retire, so if the world chooses not to end before then, she will be up a creek without a paddle.

The article lists other consequences of what our children are taught regarding climate change:

Mental-health issues affecting young adults and adolescents in the U.S. have increased significantly in the past decade, a study published in March in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found. The number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 reporting symptoms of major depression increased 52% from 2005 to 2017, while older adults did not experience any increase in psychological stress at this time, and some age groups even saw decreases. Study author Jean Twenge says this may be attributed to the increased use of digital media, which has changed modes of interaction enough to impact social lives and communication. Millennials are also said to suffer from “eco-anxiety,” according to a 2018 report from the American Psychological Association, with 72% saying their emotional well-being is affected by the inevitability of climate change, compared with just 57% of people over the age of 45.

The article concludes:

Similarly, Rodriguez said that, even without the threat of climate change, she likely couldn’t afford to save for retirement — and might not need to. Because she comes from a Latina family, she says culturally it is expected she would move in with family in old age and not have to pay as much in retirement costs.

“Both of my parents are immigrants. I did not grow up in a culture of professionalism. I graduated with thousands in student loans — I have never made enough money to save for the future,” she says.

Although she does not save money for retirement, Rodriguez does take action for the future: she’s taught herself to garden (“in case of a total collapse of the food system,” she says) and invests in learning hands-on skills like mechanics and bike repair.

“It’s kind of my own version of retirement,” she says.

Erin Lowry, author of “Broke Millennial Takes On Investing,” recommends preparing for retirement no matter what you believe will happen, referencing the Y2K phenomenon, when some people sold their belongings and made other rash choices in the belief that the world would end with the dawn of the year 2000.

“Even if you have a defeatist mind-set about the future of the planet, it’s better to prepare as though you, and the planet, will survive into your retirement years because the alternative is also bleak,” she said. “Failing to properly plan for a future means guaranteeing yourself a more difficult life.”

The baby boomers survived hiding under their desks in case of nuclear attack and the Vietnam war. We grew up to be tough old birds (with a few exceptions). I don’t think the problem here is the teaching on climate change–I think the problem is raising children without the moral foundation our country was built on. I also think parents need to let their children fail occasionally. Everyone shouldn’t get a trophy.

The Latest Economic Numbers

On Friday, Market Watch reported that the U.S. economy did better than expected during the first three months of 2019.

The article reports:

Reports of the demise of the U.S. economy proved unfounded as first-quarter activity showed surprising strength. The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2% annual pace in the first three months of 2019, the government said Friday.

The gain was well above forecasts. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 2.3% increase in gross domestic product. The economy grew at a 2.2% rate in the final three months of 2018.

Inflation moderated a bit in the first quarter.

The article includes other good economic news:

Final sales to domestic purchasers, which excludes trade and inventory behavior, rose 2.3% in the first quarter, the smallest gain in three years, but still well above what economists were expecting.

The value of inventories increased to $128.4 billion from $96.8 billion, adding to GDP.

The trade sector added a little more than 1% to growth in the first quarter. Exports rose 3.7%, while imports dropped by the same amount, leading to a smaller trade deficit.

Offsetting these gains, consumer spending decelerated to a 1.2% gain, the slowest increase in a year.

Business fixed investment decelerated to a relatively slow 2.7% gain, down from a 5.4% gain in the prior quarter. Investment in structures fell 0.8%, the third straight decline.

Investment in new housing was another weak spot. Residential investment dropped 2.8%, the fifth straight quarterly decline.

I believe that the weakness in the housing market is being caused by a number of things. The millennials, the generation that would currently be entering the housing market, are weighed down by student debt. There is also a different attitude among young Americans about owning a house that there was a few generations ago. In the past, many Americans looked at their home as an investment–something that would grow in value over the years. Many older people began with a ‘starter house’–a small house that allowed them to enter into the housing market. Today, couples are having children later than previous generations. Their first house is paid for by two incomes, and they are not dealing with the expense of having children. The concept of a ‘starter house’ is no longer with us. Those facts, along with the price of the home most young people want to own are working to slow down the housing market. I am not convinced any of those factors are going to change.

Even The Good News Is Clouded With Doom When The Media Reports It

Market Watch posted an article yesterday about the January trade deficit in America. The article notes that the deficit shrank to $51.1 billion in January from almost $60 billion in December. That is really good news. However, the media doesn’t seem to want good economic news.

The article notes:

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a $57.7 billion deficit.

Notice that they were more than a little off.

The article continues:

The lower U.S. trade deficit, if it persists, could provide a small boost in the first quarter to gross domestic product, the official scorecard of the economy. But the drop in imports could also be taken as sign of softening demand in the U.S. that adds to worries about a slower growth.

Whatever the case, the U.S. is coming off the highest annual deficit in a decade and it’s unlikely the gap will shrink much if at all in 2019.

The President is renegotiating trade deals. This is not an ‘instant’ process. His negotiating skills and business acumen are responsible for the growing economy–the unemployment rate is down and the workforce participation rate is up. Can someone in the media please give President Trump a little credit and show a little optimism.

Economic Policies Have Consequences

The really good news is that the labor force participation rate has increased from 62.7 in January percent to 6.3 percent in February. It’s a small increase, but it is moving in the right direction.

According to Townhall:

The rate of layoffs in the U.S. fell again in late March and dropped to the lowest level since 1973. Initial U.S. jobless claims declined by 12,000 to 215,000 in the seven days ended March 24,

…Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 230,000. The more stable monthly average of claims dipped by 500 to 224,500…The revisions erased the previous low in jobless claims, a reading of 210,000 last month that would have been the lowest since 1969. But no matter. Layoffs in the U.S. is extremely low, as reflected by a 4.1% unemployment rate that is the smallest in 17 years…The labor market is so strong that it’s even drawing back in people who’ve been out of the workforce for years. And it doesn’t show any sign of letting up. The economy added 313,000 new jobs in February and economists predict another solid gain of around 200,000 in March.

Like him or not, Donald Trump is an experienced businessman who understands economics. I am not happy with the spending that is currently going on in Washington, but I suspect that will be dealt with in due time. Until then, President Trump’s economic policies have improved the lives of many Americans.

The Democrats have already stated that they want to repeal the policies that are causing the current economic growth. If they are elected in the House and Senate in November, they will do that. This is something to consider when voting.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It lists some of the specific companies who have passed their tax savings on to their employees. That is good news.

The Economic Recovery Is Still Struggling

Market Watch is reporting today that New York area manufacturing conditions fell rapidly in August.

The article reports:

The Empire State general business conditions index nose-dived to a reading of negative 14.9, from positive 3.9 in July, marking the worst level since April 2009, the New York Fed said. The index, on a scale where any positive number indicates improving conditions, was far worse than the positive 4.5 forecast in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll.

The article includes the following chart:

NewYorkStateManufacturingConditions

The only good news in this is that the decline may cause the Federal Reserve to delay interest increases for a while.