Comments on: When did America get so pessimistic? A clear-eyed view from Zachary Karabell Thu, 06 Feb 2014 10:10:54 +0000 hourly 1 By: Alexander12 Wed, 21 Nov 2012 15:04:13 +0000 All our systems are based on growth. Some regions do not grow any more, so we tried to fix that pumping cheap money into the economy. This caused various bubbles and we see them burst one by one. We are all over our heads in debt, in an order of magnitude that defies common sense. The proportion of real value to monetary volume kept diminuishing, the very definition of a bubble. Everybody is happy because, well, there is cheap money to be had. Only at some point, the trust is gone, the money bubble bursts. And this is something, our politicians will deny until their (political) dying day.
Why does that amaze you?

By: ZenGalacticore Mon, 19 Nov 2012 16:11:00 +0000 I would go back a little further as to the origins of modern American pessimism. It started with the assassination of JFK, followed by the folly of the Vietnam War, and the Watergate scandal, topped off by the Arab Oil Embargo and the taking hostage of 400 Americans in our embassy in Tehran, Iran.

And it hasn’t helped that we have more than doubled our population since 1950, and yet, know-it-all elites insist we must grow our now 312 Million even more to, “keep up with China, and provide workers to support the millions retiring,” even though we can’t create enough jobs for the people we already have.

And what do most politicians say is the solution to a shortage of skilled workers, doctors, engineers, etc.? Do they propose more intensively educating, re-educating, and retraining our own people? No. Most of them talk about importing skilled and mathematically inclined foreigners, while abandoning our own.

It may be comforting to know that people have said that the United States was headed for destruction since before the ink was dry on the Constitution. Maybe FDR had it right when he said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

By: deLafayette Mon, 19 Nov 2012 07:47:36 +0000 PROFESSIONAL HUBRIS

{How did a country that for much of its history exhibited a (sometimes naive) willingness to ignore obstacles and plunge forward become a society that struggles to turn its gaze away from the dangers that loom just ahead? In short, how did the United States become so pessimistic?}

Easy, people came to believe during the Reaganomics years the “sustainable excellence” that quacks like Karabell keep feeding them – in the forlorn hope that excellence means profits and profits are the sine qua non of an economy.

Let’s cut the BS. America went binging on cheap-credit not excellence – which was just another catchword to be bantered about by “business gurus” feeding off an ill-conceived notion that all technological innovation is almost certainly American born and bred.

Believe that as you will, because, though important, it is not just THE prime mover of an economy. The other is excellence in political governance, meaning economic policy making – which is at the heart of our domestic economic mess.

Three points sustain that above argument:
*The first is the cheap-credit nonsense that prevailed throughout Greenspan’s reign at the Fed, that nourished the realty-bubble built on fraud that has burst all over us to cause the Great Recession.
*The second are two disastrous wars that cost trillions of dollars and seriously indebted the nation.
*The third is our disbelief in the early 1990s that China, coming out from behind its bamboo curtain, would displace un- and semi-skilled manufacturing jobs in the US. Which is what has happened, much to our chagrin, and is permanent in nature.

What sort of “excellence” does the above demonstrate. One of professional hubris that dominates America’s business leadership.

America has a reason to be pessimistic. A dogmatic political party largely responsible for the three lamentable errors cited above insists that it has done no wrong and insists upon its political legitimacy. Which is certainly not excellence in politics.

By: Bob9999 Sat, 17 Nov 2012 20:16:54 +0000 Fear is a way to motivate people politically. No one ever made a profit by betting against America over the long term.

By: TheUSofA Sat, 17 Nov 2012 18:50:48 +0000 When did America get so pessimistic? This gets space on the op-ed? Reality mean anything to you? I’m guessing you’re fairly comfortable and thus a bit detached from that reality.

By: actnow Sat, 17 Nov 2012 15:01:00 +0000 If you read the news and look at the quality (or lack of it) in our government, and the challenges that face us, one can’t help but be deeply concerned. By almost every measure, this nation is on a path to third world status, and our “leaders” either don’t get it, or don’t care. This is the simple reality. I will begin to become optimistic when I see our nation start to get real about the big problems that face us, and considering the quality of our educational systems, the circus that is our media and government, mass illegal immigration, and $23 trillion in unfunded liabilities, I’m not there yet.

By: thinker72 Sat, 17 Nov 2012 02:42:40 +0000 America’s place as the dominant global power is under threat. This is actually a good thing, with countries like China, India, Brazil etc… industrialising at a furious rate, trying to join the ranks of the rich west we are going to see expanded competition for trade and goods but also a huge expansion in global markets. The world economy may be in the doldrums for the next period but ultimately things look rosy. No doubt the world is going through a transitional phase in the power games and change always bring angst and fear, and truly America’s role will be somewhat diminished, but again this is a good thing, it’s brutish foreign policy of the last decades is hardly something it really wants more of. Anyway the world stage is set to become a more cosmopolitan and exciting place for eveyone. How’s that for positive?

By: Missinginaction Sat, 17 Nov 2012 02:22:30 +0000 The world is still a very beautiful place and for that I’m grateful and thankful. I had a great career and was able to retire early and with dignity, grateful again. I’m most grateful for the good health of my family.

I am a pessimist with regard to our economy though.

The reason is that I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics/Finance from a good private school here in New York.

Some of the older readers at this site might recall a comedy troup from the seventies called The Firesign Theatre. They produced a record in 1974. It was called….

Everything You Know is Wrong.

I fondly remember that title every time I read comments made by most Presidents of the various Federal Reserve Banks and by most members of the ECB.

That’s why I’m pessimistic. I do not understand how unlimited QE and open ended ZIRP are helping our economy. In 2008/09 I was OK with this, but now I’m just plain frightened and well pessimistic.

So, how do you get a scared and pessimistic soul like me to open up his wallet and spend?

By: UauS Fri, 16 Nov 2012 23:37:08 +0000 Yes, we are at the crossroads. The world is changing (in many ways thanks to America), and America is adapting to the changes that we helped to bring about (computers, Internet, first black American President, even China advances… just to name a few).
Change is painful, frightening, not always straightforward. So people are scared, people argue. Folks that benefited from the old ways are adamantly defending them. They surely have gained enough money and influence so that they do have many followers… But all this is also proving that we ARE changing, and changing for the best. I have no doubts about it. It is proving we ARE a democracy, and, despite all of its shortcomings, democracy works.

By: mcoleman Fri, 16 Nov 2012 18:08:00 +0000 My biased opinion is that the negativity is the fault of the right wing in America. Yes, the economy is crappier now than it has been in decades, but remember, even during the booming 90’s (balanced budgets, stock market on fire, no major military conflicts) the Republicans still tried to kick Bill Clinton out of office.

Back then it wasn’t the economy, but that the president and his cabinet were flushing America down a moral sewer. Also, I remember a magazine cover (Time? Newsweek?) touting the fall of the white male. I can’t remember why white males were in so much trouble back then, but Rush and Pat R and Pat B certainly thought so.

When Obama took office, Rush famously stated he hoped the Obama administration failed. In other words, he hoped America failed, and the congressinal gridlock that followed seemed to echo that sentiment. I think that pretty much sums up the view of the right. If they are not in charge, they are just fine w/ the country as a whole failing and they will do everything they can to steer it in that direction.

It’s like someone poking a hole in a dam and then crying “flood”.