I don’t know if you did the same thing Wednesday morning when you turned on the television, but I breathed a sigh of relief. No more of those nasty midterm political ads. No matter what side of the fence you sit on, I think many of us can agree it’s nice to not have to hear those rants anymore coming from the old idiot box.
I also think many of us can agree we are still proud to call ourselves Americans. We may find ourselves grumbling over tariffs, trade and President Trump at times, but for the most part we live in a very good place compared to the rest of the world.
I had the privilege this week to hear Joe Kerns, president and owner of Kerns and Associates, speak at the Alltech ONE Ideas Forum where he reaffirmed that very notion, especially when it comes to our future in markets.
Kerns recently had the opportunity to sit by a former chair from the Kansas City Federal Reserve System on a two-hour flight and pick his brain about the state of our nation. The former chair told Kerns our production-driven nation should be in good shape for some time and here’s three reasons why.
1. We have the best infrastructure in the world.
“We might have some crumbling bridges, we might have some opportunities and you might hit a pothole on the way home but in aggregate you travel anywhere in this world and when you come back to the United States you fully realize we’ve got the best infrastructure,” Kerns says.
As far as agriculture is concerned, Kerns says we’ve got the best deep-water ports and the Mississippi River running right down the middle, “which has probably seen its better days as far as locks and dams are concerned but it’s still functional.” We also have rail lines to move everything from where it is produced to where it needs to be, and relatively efficiently.
2. We have an unrestricted monetary exchange.
“Anytime you go to China, you hand them a $100 bill they hand you the equivalent back in renminbis,” Kerns says. “And when you come back at the end of the day and if you don’t have that receipt and say, ‘here’s my renminbi, I would like my $100 back.’ Guess what they say? No dice. You have to have the receipt. It’s not a free exchange of money.”
3. Lady justice is blindfolded.
Kerns says this is the one that struck him most during that conversation and still gives him goosebumps every time he talks about it. The reason being, Kerns says is our court system doesn’t know whose interest to represent on either side of the scale and because of that we are going to continue to attract capital.
“So, after a very, very bitter fight that we just had between the Democrats and the Republicans and all of the animosity that was built up, we come together as a nation and I would still contend with all of our problems, we are still the best spot ever to live,” Kerns says. “It’s the best era we’ve ever lived in and it is the most opportunity we have ever had on a forward stream.”
After all, the world population is going to continue to grow and there is going to be more food consumed in the next 50 years, than the past 7,000 years.
While the United States spends only 6% of our income on food, there are many nations that spend 25% to 35% and with the gross domestic product projected to go up, up, up, there are going to many more abundant opportunities for U.S. agriculture.
“Suddenly the correlation should start to click in your mind — there is a huge opportunity, but it is not on our shores,” Kerns says. “We live in the greatest nation with the greatest opportunities we are ever going to have.”