OPINION

JUST PLAIN TALK: Thanksgiving, time to remember things we are thankful for

Buz Livingston
Buz Livingston

I’m thankful for the United States Constitution and would be more thankful if people read it. It’s a fantastic document that has given our nation a framework for the longest-lasting republic on the planet. When it was completed, a woman asked Ben Franklin, “What have you given us?” He replied, “A republic if you can keep it.”

I’m thankful my hurricane panels stayed in storage. However, I am not thankful for my windstorm premiums.

While it gives me great joy to see the Georgia Bulldogs win the SEC East, I’m more thankful for my diploma. Without it, my life would be vastly different. When your kids come home from college for Thanksgiving, encourage them. A degree doesn’t make you more intelligent, but it may open a door somewhere down the road that may not be on your radar today.

Speaking of college, I’m glad tuition was reasonable then. It is stunning Congress specifically singled out student loans from being discharged in bankruptcy in 2005. Not to be “Debbie Downer” around turkey day, but student loans now total over $1.5 trillion, more than automobile or credit card debt.

I’m thankful for Spellcheck in Word and Grammarly on the web. But, if someone would invent “Dumb Check,” I would be set for life.

I am thankful John Bogle decided to market an index fund. It was not an immediate hit; instead, it was closer to a flop. I am glad he stuck to his vision; you should be, too. Remember Woody Allen’s quote, “Ninety percent of success is just showing up.” Keep plugging away; something good may happen.

I am thankful for the most expansive infrastructure program in my adult lifetime. Infrastructure jobs pay well and can’t be exported.

Let me give another turkey day shout-out to Bill Bernstein, author, neurologist, and investment advisor. In “The Birth of Plenty,” he points out several necessary conditions for prosperity to blossom.

First, property rights and the rule of law are essential; they are prosperity’s foundation. Second, as with property rights and the rule of law, scientific rationalism is essential for economic growth. For centuries, religious dogma and state tyranny thwarted the scientific method. Third, another leg supporting prosperity is easy access to capital markets. Fourth, efficient transportation and communication provide the final boost. Initially, it was river transport followed by steam power, then railroads, and today the internet. Once, China and the Middle East were more advanced than Western Europe. Both areas stagnated because they discounted property rights and ignored the rule of law while allowing religion and state tyranny to trample the scientific method.

I am so thankful for the girls and boys who make the noise up and down the A; our musical talent mesmerizes me. Thanks to the venues that support them, too.

All my peeps will be here for Thanksgiving and that makes this holiday extra special. And for my wife, Susan, like Hayes Carll I will stay.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.