There are those who say the US is doomed, that there is no way out from our problems with deficits, future entitlement promises, and a dysfunctional political system. And in my darker moments I worry that they are right.
I get the problems, probably more than most. But there is a way out. Hopefully, it does not entail collapse first, as some suggest. But it will require a lot of hard decisions. Some will be very hard.
For example, many point to the unfunded Medicare liabilities of some $70 trillion. I don't worry about them so much, as they will never be paid, at least not under the current system. LONG before we get to that point, there will be a crisis that will force us to deal with the issues. Rule: if something can't happen, then it won't. We can't pay the Medicare bill, so it won't happen. Something else will happen in the meantime. It may not be good or pleasant, but something will come along to change the rules. More taxes? Fewer benefits? That is up in the air. But the system as it currently stands will not be allowed to prevail. Ask Greece how that is working out for them.
In today's Outside the Box we look at a country where they had an even worse problem than we are faced with here in the US. They were on the ropes and their bond market was balking. Yet, their left-wing government made some very hard choices and turned things around. And now they are on top.
The country? Canada. Maybe we need to look north for a lesson. My friend David Hay, Chief Investment Officer of Evergreen Capital Management, was vacationing in Italy, where he reviewed a great new book on the Canadian turnaround of the mid-'90s. This week we get the short read of a remarkable story. May it happen in the US and in developed countries all over the world.
Your "I know I am such an optimist" analyst,