November 26, 2014 | Commentary on Economy, Economic Growth, Religion and Civil Society

Fourteen Things I'm Thankful for in 2014

Every poll of recent months shows Americans in a foul mood when it comes to the economy, their personal finances and the general direction of the nation.

Most Americans think the great American Dream -- the idea that our children will achieve a standard of living higher than our own -- is dead. Others say that the environment is on a crash course with planetary devastation due to global warming. And if that doesn't do us in, the deadly virus Ebola may spread like a great plague over the earth.

Not a lot to be thankful for.

Or is there?

Thanksgiving is a time to cast aside the gloom and pessimism and look to the things that have gone right in the last year. It turns out there are lots of things going right in America today.

I always challenge college and high school kids: When was there a better time to be alive than today? And what country would you rather live in than the United States? Only a fool who knows nothing about the past would say that things were better 25 or 50 or 100 years ago than now.

So here are my 14 reasons to give Thanksgiving in 2014:

1. You are likely to live a longer and healthier life than any other generation since man walked on the earth.
Life expectancy rose by another year in just the last five years and has hit a new high of 77 years. Death in chidhood or even as a young adult is rarer than ever. In the last 100 years Americans have miraculously tacked on almost 25 years of additional life. Life expectancy today is up to 77 in the U.S. We are living healthier at every age. Sixty is the new 40.

2. We are winning the race for the cure for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, MS, ALS, and other crippling and killer diseases.
In 2014 the survival rate from most forms of cancer was the highest it has ever been. The age-weighted death rate from heart disease has been cut in half in the last fifty years.

3. Ebola has been contained. No we are not all going to die from this killer virus. Medical researchers now report that a vaccine for Ebola will soon be widely available - and Ebola will be eradicated forever.

4. The stock market is on a wild upward ride making us all wealthier. Stocks hit a new all time high in late October. Trillions of dollars of new wealth have been creates. Since most Americans own stock directly or through pension and 401k plans, a rising Dow Jones Industrial Average makes us all better off. Since the stock market crashed at the end of 2008, valuations have nearly doubled in six years.

5. America is within sights of becoming energy independent.
OPEC is dead. The shale oil and gas boom has increased U.S. Energy production by almost 60 percent in the last six years. We are now the largest producer of natural gas in the world (so sorry Vladimir Putin) and we will soon be the largest oil producer. By 2020 the U.S. Will be the world's dominant energy player in the world.

6. Gas prices have fallen to below $3 a gallon in most states. This Thanksgiving the pump price will be lower than at anytime in recent memory. Fill er up!

7. Flying and driving are safer now than at anytime in history. Visiting grandma this Thanksgiving? Highway death rates (deaths per million miles traveled) is at an alltime low. No major US airlines experienced a crash in the last 12 months despite billions of passengers traveling. The safest place to be at anytime is on an airplane.

8. Your laptop or tablet computer has more computing power than every computer used by all countries in World War II.
You have more information at your fingertips than all the books in the Library of Congress.

9. Violent crime rates in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest levels in at least 40 years. The streets in America are safer than ever.

10. The planet is not warming. In most places in the United States temperatures were cooler than 30 years ago. Also, there were no major North American hurricanes or earthquakes in 2014. The climate change alarmists and their prediction models have been dead wrong about a catastrophic warming trend, look for them to pivot back to their 1970s primal scream about a second ice age coming.

11. America has reduced it's greenhouse gas emissions more than any other nation in the last six years. That's because we are burning more natural gas and less coal.

12. America is still by far the number one desired destination nation for the world's immigrants. We take in about one million immigrants each year more than all the other industrial nations combined. These freedom seekers still see America as the greatest land of opportunity.

13. The Google car is right around the corner.
Very soon, smart, driverless cars will take you anywhere you want to go whenever you want to go at a fraction of the cost of owning or renting a car. And by the way, they are safer, with far fewer accidents too!

14. Last but not least: Fat is good for you after all.
So while you give prayers of gratitude this Thanksgiving, eat up. Smother that bird with grease and gravy and buttered mashed potatoes and all the fixings. No need to feel guilty, just happy to be alive in America at this amazing point in time on earth.

 - Stephen Moore is chief economist at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Stephen Moore Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Project for Economic Growth

Originally appeared in Fox News