Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Eve is a Time for Reflection and Hope

A Message of Optimism for 2012

By Mark J. Donovan

My daughter commented this morning that New Years Eve is anticlimactic and that she doesn’t really understand what all the fuss and excitement is about. Though I can understand her point of view to some extent, as I’ve watched the ball drop in Time Square every year from the comfort of my sofa for as long as I can remember, I explained to her that New Years Eve represents a time of reflection and hope. That it’s a time when we think about all that was and wasn’t accomplished in the past year, and what we dream to accomplish in the year ahead.

For me this past year was a good year. The family was all healthy, the kids did well in school and their careers, my job went well, and I finally got my private pilot’s certificate. I also got a chance to visit a number of areas of the world including Europe, Asia, California, and the Caribbean. Considering the state of our country and the economic and political upheavals around the world, I feel very fortunate. About the only personal negative was Google’s Panda search engine update that continued to plague and much of the rest of the internet in 2011. But even monopolistic Google couldn’t dampen my spirits that much this year.

I’m also very hopeful for the year ahead. 2012 is a presidential election year and I’m very optimistic that the Great Pretender will be sent packing and will be replaced by a person of real substance and experience. With even just the hope of real change in the political climate, I’m confident the stock market will continue to rise, and that the businesses climate will improve and more people will find jobs. Simply the thought of a new political leadership landscape that is interested in producing more domestic oil in North America alone in the next 12 to 18 months should be a boon for the economy as soon as the first half of 2012. Couple that thought with less red tape for businesses and a stable tax environment, corporations and the stock market should be giddy in the months ahead. And yes, that giddiness will trickle down in the form of new jobs and hiring, and an improved housing market. My only real fear is that people won’t realize why the stock market is rallying prior to the presidential election and that the Great Pretender gets re-elected. To be crystal clear, the stock market will rally because of future expectations, rather than current economic policies that have hamstrung this country for 3 plus years.

For Europe I’m also hopeful. Although, I believe more days of reckoning are still ahead for them in the next 3 to 6 months and that their economic maturity growing pains will inflict occasional aches on the world markets. With an improving United States economy, however, I believe the aches felt around the world will be tempered. I also think China will see renewed growth as their inflation levels are beginning to recede. With lower inflation, the Chinese government will be able to go back to its policies of pro-growth by easing its monetary policy.

The only real concern in 2012 is the Middle East. It will most likely continue to be a hotbed of fomenting political hatred between its own people and factions in Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Diplomacy, and the threat of a big stick, will be key to keeping the peace inside and outside of those countries.

So to conclude, 2011 was again another difficult year for the world including the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. No doubt 2012 will have its challenges as well, particularly in the Middle East. However, I am very optimistic for the United States. I believe with a change in the White House the citizens of this country will rally to a President who is truly proud of his country and communicates a positive message to its people.

No comments: