our opinions: ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT In The Comfort Zone Still Lots To Be Thankful About Brett Hobson BY BRETT HOBSON E very day on the news and in our local newspapers we see death, fire, flood and famine. For the past decade, our local news, the national news and the world news have shifted their focus from what’s right in the world to what all of us can agree is very wrong. Since it’s the end of the year, I would like to focus on what’s right in the world, or maybe not the world, but our own little piece of it. Here are some of the highlights: The Economy Unemployment is at a 17-year low, with more than two million more people employed than before. The growth in the past two quarters has held steady at 3 percent, a solid number according to US News and World Report. A tax overhaul is being considered by Congress that would slash the corporate tax rate, revamp personal taxes and bring millions of dollars back to the US that have been sent overseas to keep away from the IRS. The message that National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn used to give busi- nesses about moving out of the US has changed based on the tax overhaul currently being debated in Congress. 92 Education The performance gap between low and high income chil- dren has narrowed, and low income children have made great strides in school preparation, compared to those entering school in the 1990s. According to the National Center for Education, statistics showed that math and reading gaps have narrowed because children have more access to books and read more with their parents. More parents are now aware that the first few years of a child’s life are the most important in cognitive development. Healthcare Although our healthcare system is much debated and in the news of late, whether it’s Trumpcare or Obamacare, we can be proud of the quality and quantity that’s avail- able to all of our citizens. We aren’t a country that provides socialized medicine forcing people to wait months for a doctor’s appointment. We aren’t withhold- ing care to the sickest and weakest because they aren’t contributing to the system. Medical tourism is growing in countries like Canada where patients wait almost half a year for specialized treatments, including chemotherapy and joint replacement surgery, instead of coming to the US and paying out of pocket for care they can’t receive in their own country, according to a story from ABC News. Immigration Most people agree that in order to live in our country, you should come here legally and want to conform to our laws and government working towards becoming a citizen. One of my favorite quotes is from British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said, “A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in. And how many want out.” In 2017, 752,800 people became naturalized United States citizens. Less than 5,500 people renounced their US citizenship in 2016 according to numbers provid- ed by the IRS. Many of those people renounced their citizenship because of tax policy. As an expatriate living overseas they face double taxation. Few, if any, cited the most recent presidential election as their reason for leav- ing the USA. Freedoms This is what I am the most thankful for, not just this season, but throughout each year. Because of our Constitution, I can choose to worship the way I want to, to have the job, the house and the life I want to because of the freedoms that are afforded in a document that was originally written on four pieces of paper. I have the free- dom to run my business the way I want to, within the laws that have been enacted by my elected representatives, and to not employ workers who do not have our collective success in the forefront of their consciousness. So take a moment this season to think about all of the things we are thankful for in our country, in our county and in our own homes. I’m thankful for my home and my family, which includes our customers who we have been honored to serve since 1962. Have a very blessed Christmas season and a Happy New Year, Brett Hobson, Comfort Experts P.S. I want to be your heating and air conditioning expert.