(Editor's Note: Tom Williams, a retired coffee service operator, believes the American electorate will seek a change in policies that will unleash a new era of prosperity for American business, including vending and refreshment services. Williams founded Coffee Butler Services Inc. in 1967 in Washington, D.C., grew it into one of he nation’s largest OCS companies and sold it to U.S. Office Products Inc. in 1995. Williams has always been an astute observer of government affairs. He wrote the following blog explaining his optimism exclusively for VendingMarketWatch.)
By sometime in 2012 or early 2013, a 10- to 15-year run will begin that just may dwarf all other growth periods in American history. We are now, and have been for a few years, witnessing and living the proverb “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” For those of you who have struggled, sacrificed, streamlined, become more efficient, and survived, hang in there — your reward is coming.
Yes, there are already a few areas in the U.S. where the economy is either not so bad, pretty good, and even a few areas where it’s great. And yes, there will certainly be some “fits and starts” all around the country, but when it finally gets up some steam in a couple of years, it will provide opportunity you will find hard to believe and changes in the American business environment you will find even harder to believe. I’ll enumerate those later in the article. It will be just like the “perfect storm” that has shaken the American economy so badly for five or six years now. But then, a combination of events and changes will come together to work very positively for business — possibly for as long as a generation.
An advantage of having lived 74 years without Alzheimer’s (yet), you have experienced and seen a lot of things that when taken altogether, can logically point to some reasonable conclusions. Two reasons the above could be concluded are either a simple reversal of a business cycle or a redirection of the swing of the political pendulum.
Another reason, and I love this one, is Winston Churchill’s observation that “Americans can always be counted on to get it right — after they have exhausted all other possibilities.” The main problem is that we have been exhausting the wrong possibilities for such a long time. But very soon now we will really get it right.
We started down this road in earnest right after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Like most adults living at the time, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. Then Lyndon Johnson took over as president. Having spent four years at The Rice Institute (now Rice University) in Houston, Texas and another two years working in and from a Texas base, I was fairly familiar with Johnson’s history as a senator, senate majority leader, and even some of his rise to prominence in Texas. I even remember when his long-time chief of staff Bobby Baker was caught in an Ocean City, Md. condominium building bribe scandal and had to resign. Johnson was considered one of the most effective senate majority leaders of all times by occupants of both sides of the aisle and Baker was given a lot of credit for his deft handling of Johnson’s legislative objectives.
Most important though, I also remember the whirlwind activity resulting in bills he got credit for getting through Congress in his “first hundred days” as president — a record by most accounts. Partially due to his experience in moving legislation in Congress, but he also benefited from “sympathy” votes and the shock resulting from Kennedy’s assassination.
After a short respite during World War II, the country had resumed moving “left” again with more regulations and government control, but at a somewhat modest pace prior to Johnson’s ascendancy. Then his new laws, referred to as The Great Society, provided a surge in government involvement and control that was unequaled since Roosevelt’s “New Deal.”