Readers who frequent this column will recall our long-held dictum that everything cycles. Be the subject investments, economics, politics, or otherwise; everything in this world has a tide that ebbs and flows, albeit on different schedules.
Nevertheless, it remains of utmost importance that in any of these areas, when the flow of tides change directions, we must adjust in turn. Doing so is far more profitable – and eventually far easier – than attempting to swim upstream.
Today there exist surprising crowds of people who have made names for themselves acting solely as antagonists; people who have little or nothing to say if they aren’t provided someone or something to rally against. Of these, Glenn Beck stands out as among the most vocal and probably the most recognizable.
And just what has made Glenn Beck famous? Rallying against unsound monetary policy, speaking out against progressive welfare programs, lambasting unaccountable government czars and, most noticeably, revealing in minute detail the background of a president unqualified for election and – in all likelihood – presently serving his last weeks with any real authority.
Do any of these arguments add value in any way? Do they put forth any reasonable alternative or call for real change? More importantly, do any of them matter if Obama loses reelection and the US federal government tightens its fiscal purse strings?
A recent quote said of this election that “if Barack Obama were running unopposed, he’d have nothing to run on.” In other words, with a president devoid of any meaningful progress or accomplishment after three years in office, any reelection campaign waged by Obama is built solely on bashing Romney.
Quite often we see the same thing in business. Instances abound where businessmen, spokesmen or pundits survive only because they have someone to struggle against. Theirs is not a constructive struggle; they are simply saying what people want to hear – following the path of least resistance.
A quick story: Around the time George W. Bush was coming into the White House, a caller into Rush Limbaugh’s radio show asked the conservative host what he was going to do now that he wouldn’t have Bill Clinton to speak out against. Rush responded that there would always be issues and events to discuss, and as time went on his subjects changed from those he had discussed during the Clinton years.
The point here is that the United States is presently undergoing a major shift, just as it was around the new millennium. In fact, this instance is likely much larger are further-reaching than was seen a decade ago. The US is now in the midst of major shifts in the sphere of politics, finance, manufacturing and production, employment, military and entitlement spending, and the list goes on.
The question now is which of those pundits who have spent the past several years building names for themselves can make the necessary shift from being critical to constructive in their commentary.
Far harder is it to avoid the flavor of the week, but instead to change with the times as required – regardless of popularity – when time calls for such a shift. After all, the one trick pony can be amusing for a time, but when they cease to serve a purpose they’re the first ones sent to the glue factory.