Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
Friday, 1pm EST - The June "With Democrats Things Get Better" Presentation
Note new date and time. RSVP Today!
Back in the spring of 2017, frustrated by the deeply dark narratives and rhetoric of Trump’s early Presidency, I produced a response, “The Case for Optimism: Rejecting Trump’s Poisonous Pessimism”, which, as I look back now, really started me down the path of what became this Hopium project. Within a few weeks of publishing “The Case for Optimism,” I turned the data and arguments into a powerpoint presentation that I started showing around DC. That deck over time became the deck I show each month, With Democrats Things Get Better.
With Dems has become a form of political meditation for me. Each month I spend a few days reviewing the data and arguments and update them, so each time I show With Dems it is fresh and new. It is constantly evolving. The current version, for example, has an extended look at the Biden Presidency I only built earlier this year. So even if you caught With Dems a few months ago the version I will present this Friday at 1pm EST will have new data and insights. You can RSVP for this Friday’s presentation here (note this is a new day and time for the presentation).
This presentation is the distillation of my more than 30 years working in US politics and is probably the single most important thing I’ve ever produced. For those here at Hopium it is essential viewing, a sort of foundation stone for all our work and understandings here. So I will hope you join me live this Friday or watch a recording here on the site when you can. If you miss the June presentation another will come in July so try to catch it sometime this summer. It takes about 30 minutes, and I promise it will be worth your time. And if you do watch please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
It’s been a good spring, my friends. We’ve won a bunch of important elections, Putin continues to struggle in Ukraine, our President saved the country from disaster and the economy continues to roar. It’s a reminder that Joe Biden has been a good President. The country is better off. And our party, The Democratic Party, is very very strong right now.
Keep working hard all, and hope to see you on Friday - Simon
From The Case for Optimism, June 2017
So, imagine if you lived in America at a time when:
· Incomes of everyday people are at an all-time high, have been rising for at least four years now and saw their largest annual increase in recorded US history just a year ago.
· The unemployment rate is 4.3%, about at what economists consider “full employment.” This rate is historically low — over the past 70 years (821 months), the rate has only been lower in 130 of those months or just 16% of this 70 year stretch. A reminder that the unemployment rate never dipped below 5.3% during the entire Reagan Presidency.
· More people have health insurance and access to quality care than any time in American history. A recently implemented health care law has materially improved the lives of tens of millions Americans in a very short period of time.
· The US stock market is at an all-time high, and 33% percent higher than any sustained high in US history and between 5 and 10 times higher than where it has been most of last 50 years. So really high.
· The high school graduation rate is the highest ever recorded.
· Violent crime rates are half of what they were a generation ago, and cities across the US are blossoming, seeing growth, investment and people once again living “downtown.”
· Teenage pregnancy rates are plummeting, and now are at all-time low.
· There has not been a foreign fighter terror attack on US soil in 16 years, few American troops are dying overseas and the US faces no true existential threat from a foreign power.
· Due to smart policies and years of investment, the flow of undocumented immigrants into the US has dramatically slowed, seeing no net increase for a decade now.
· The US is taking control of its energy future, seeing a sharp decrease in foreign oil imports and sharp, even historic, increases in the production of renewable energy.
Would that America sound like a good America to you? I think so. And of course this list describes the America of today, early June, 2017. America is not without its problems, of course. Despite our economic success, we are still leaving too many behind. Growing levels of inequality are corrosive to the social fabric and bad for the economy too. We have too much public and private debt. Tribalism, racial strife and social coherence remain daunting challenges. Mass incarceration too. The opioid epidemic is tragic, and needs far more attention and action. Too few people vote in America, and our civic life needs renewal on many fronts…..
But it is the premise of this essay that while America has very real challenges, somehow the positive side of the nation’s balance sheet — and there is a lot there — has been recklessly ignored in our national discourse. It is my contention that contrary to the claims of our President, America hasn’t lost its greatness, and that by many historical measures there has never been a better time in all of America history to be alive. Certainly better than the Great Depression, or when we held millions of slaves in cruel bondage, or when kids worked and didn’t go to school, or before there was a minimum wage or a social safety net, or when little black kids and little white kids couldn’t drink from the same water fountain, or when hundreds of thousands were dying in Vietnam, or a Cold War could lead to nuclear annihilation at any moment? Or when sky high interest rates prevented us from buying homes, or women couldn’t vote or work or pursue their dreams, or when OPEC decided to punish America, forcing us to wait in lines for hours just to buy gas? Or especially, my Republican friends, when Ronald Reagan was President and the unemployment rate never dipped below 5.3?