Americans’ Economic Gloom Festers as Stocks Hit New High: Gallup Stumped

For them, asset bubbles just aren’t helpful. On the contrary.

Gallup’s weekly survey has been trying to determine to what extent American consumers would get hit by the Brexit vote and the financial volatility that came with it: the two-day dive, the central-bank agitations, the massive dip-buying, the big rally since. Throughout, the survey found that Brexit bypassed Americans. But something else hit them, and economic confidence has been falling despite the market highs. Gloomy comes to mind.

In Gallup’s report today for the week ending July 17, the overall Economic Confidence Index dropped to -17, the lowest point so far this year, matching the prior lows in late June and in August 2015:


In January 2015, the index reached +5. Americans weren’t exactly wallowing in exuberance at the time, given the index’s theoretical range of +100 to -100 (it hit -65 in November 2008), but it was the most positive level since the Financial Crisis. But for the past 18 months, the trend has been south.

In the spring and summer 2015, that trend south was fairly pronounced, but then gas prices dropped through the winter. And that, according to Gallup, perked up consumers. Now, this honeymoon is over.

The overall index is an average of two components: how Americans see current economic conditions; and how they see future economic conditions – whether the economy is going to get better for them, or worse.

The Current Economic Conditions index has been stagnating in negative territory, with a downward trend. Today’s reading of negative -7 is the a result of 24% of Americans saying the current economy is “excellent” or “good,” and 31% saying it’s “poor.”

This has been consistently the case during these recent “good times”: about one-third of Americans think the economy they live in as individuals is “poor.” We’ll get to that again in a moment.

But the gloom for Americans in the real economy isn’t so much in the present. It’s in the future. The index for future economic conditions dropped to -27, even lower than August last year – which was the time “when the stock market plummeted over concerns about the Chinese economy,” as Gallup reasoned at the time. Now US stocks have hit new highs, and the outlook is getting even gloomier!?

Only 34% of Americans said the economy is “getting better,” while a normally stunning but now new normal 61% said it is “getting worse.”

This chart from Gallup shows the Current Conditions index (dark green line) and the Future Conditions Index (light green line). Note the gaping difference between the two, though there was hardly any difference in early 2015:


So how can pessimism fester like this when a global flood of liquidity is driving the prices of US stocks, bonds, and homes to new highs, and interest rates to new lows?

Gallup grapples with this question:

The reasons for lower public confidence in the economy since mid-June compared with the beginning of the year are unclear.

But it’s not Brexit – nor fears about “national security”:

Economic confidence initially fell the week ending June 19, before the Brexit decision on June 23.

Concerns about national security and its effect on the U.S. economy in the wake of international terrorism also do not appear to explain the dip. For instance, confidence remained level after the attack in Nice, France, last Thursday, averaging -18 for Monday through Thursday and -17 for Friday through Sunday.

And the notion that the economy is once again hunky-dory is, inexplicably, not helping those Americans feel better either:

Notably, several positive economic signs have not boosted confidence. National gas prices remain low; U.S. stock prices hit record highs last week; consumer spending is sturdy; and job creation, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, picked up in June after a disappointing May.

So Gallup goes on a fishing expedition…

One possibility is that the U.S. presidential election is creating uncertainty about the future of the economy.

And stumbles on a logical answer….

Another possible explanation is that Americans need to see more evidence of GDP growth, wage growth, and sustained improvement in the job market before their confidence in the economy will show signs of life.

Indeed, consumers don’t live in the Wall Street economy. Their double-digit credit-card interest rates don’t necessarily reflect the Fed’s zero-interest-rate policy. Mortgage rates are low, but home prices have soared, and mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance have soared along with them. Car loans are cheap, but cars have gotten a lot more expensive, and despite record low interest rates and over-stretched loan terms, payments are pushing the envelope of the possible. Health-care expenses have soared. As have rents. Over the past few months, gas prices have started to tick up. And if you’re going to send your kids to college, you’re in for some rude surprises.

Real household incomes have languished for the lower 80%, which most likely includes the 61% in the Future Conditions Index above that expect the economy they live in to get worse for them, regardless of how perfect those conditions will be for corporate CEOs.

And real incomes have declined for the bottom third, if they even have jobs. This includes most likely those 31% in the index above who found that the current conditions of the economy they live in are “poor” for them, regardless of how beneficial they might be for those Fed-coddled folks that are holding a lot of inflated assets. For them, it’s immensely tough out there, and asset bubbles just aren’t helpful. On the contrary.

But unlike stocks, a housing bubble can only go so far. Read…  Why this Won’t Work out: Rampant Rent Inflation Collides with Stagnant Incomes

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  51 comments for “Americans’ Economic Gloom Festers as Stocks Hit New High: Gallup Stumped

  1. Jungle Jim says:

    This speaks volumes about Gallup, but very little about the American economy. The stock market decoupled from the real economy years ago. That stocks are up means essentially nothing to John and Jane Public. For them, life is increasingly financially precarious.

    It’s hard to know which is more out of step with reality, the Fed or the Obama administration. The administration is now trying to sell the idea that the indentured servitude of student loans are a plus for the economy.

  2. VegasBob says:

    People understand that we have a Potemkin economy.

    The economy may look ‘healthy’ according to government statisticians who massage away any inconvenient numbers that pop up, but there is little of substance to back up that rosy view of the economy.

    People instinctively know that policies such as zero interest rates and quantitative easing are fraudulent measures that do not benefit ordinary people living in Main Street America.

    Another point that no politician can ever admit is that technology is destroying jobs faster than it is creating jobs. This means that millions of people are essentially becoming useless to the economy.

    Meanwhile, politicians of both parties look the other way as millions of undocumented immigrants stream across our borders.

    Further, as the country has been de-industrialized over the past 30 years or so, the remnants of the US economy have been turned into a gigantic skimming operation in many respects.

    Tens of millions have ‘jobs’ that consist of little more than seeking to ‘skim’ off a piece of someone else’s wealth while providing little or nothing of value for the money collected. The financial, insurance, medical, and educational establishments come to mind as prime examples.

    When it comes to tangible goods, many manufactured goods that were once viewed as ‘quality’ products are now basically junk. Such products are not even worth buying anymore, even at cheap Walmart-level prices.

    To the average person, true political and economic reform seem to be unachievable.

    So it’s really not too difficult to see why the average person is not very optimistic about America’s future economic prospects.

    • @VegasBob: Pushing a virtual “Vote Up” button.

    • evodevo says:

      Me too +1000

    • Intosh says:

      Not only the junk goods but also the junk food.

      Inevitably at some point, an entire generation would never experience real quality products and food that they parents and grandparents have known.

      As for tech eliminating jobs, there is a second wave coming. With all the tech giants investing on AI and robotics/drones, the next big jobs extinction will take place in the services sector. I’ve been telling friends and family with very young kids: you might want to encourage them to become computer/software engineers or developers. In 20-30 years, we might no longer need pharmacists or accountants.

      • RE: I’ve been telling friends and family with very young kids: you might want to encourage them to become computer/software engineers or developers. In 20-30 years, we might no longer need pharmacists or accountants.


        The problem is that in 20-30 years we may well not need computer programmers/developers either, and will only need the highest level systems analysts and [physical] maintenance technicians.

        This is not to say that we are in economic “end times,” but that the socioeconomy is changing at an unprecedented and accelerating rate, in ways we cannot foresee or understand. We are in the position of the hunter/gatherer trying to understand the introduction of agriculture/animal husbandry but over a lifetime rather than over several millennium.

        • night-train says:

          Interesting and and well stated comment. Serious thought food.

        • Intosh says:

          Of course, there is no bulletproof path towards a destination that far away but if these kids gravitate around the IT sphere, they at least have a relatively better chance than someone else who is studying some other trade.

          Someone who graduated with a computer science degree 20-25 years ago has a better chance of finding a job now than someone who became a librarian.

    • Christopher says:

      Agree. Here is my boots on the ground report. I own a successful moderate to upscale furniture resale store in S Fl. Our sales are off year-over-year 30%. Our ‘season’ (like most businesses here we rely on the busy winter months) was deadly, and now in the dog days, our usual year-round locals have simply vanished. And I know other similar places are experiencing the same. And this is furnishings, in heavily transient South Florida – I can’t imagine what more simply discretionary type businesses are dealing with. It kills me but I’m looking at layoffs soon if things don’t turn around. My RE friends are still busy as hell and prices (and rents) are holding steady/up….I guess all the money’s gone once you move in, and people are living on lawn furniture, and ramen noodles.

    • Observer says:

      The undocumented aliens are all going home because there are no jobs and people hate them. Documented aliens are taking the jobs through state sponsored labor suppression via visa programs such as h1b. Fruitnpickers are leaving, code slaves are coming.

    • Cary says:

      Vegas Bob,

      Concise writing and thinking award of the year goes to you sir.

  3. OutLookingIn says:

    The ‘underground’ economy is doing just fine.
    No contracts are signed, no bills written, no tax collected, no record of job, no hours kept, no names recorded.

    This covers most all aspects of society. From the garage machine shop to the doctor who makes house calls. Need a dress sewn? Or fresh vegetables? How about leather boots repaired? Going to rebuild that staircase? The list is endless. All by word of mouth.

    People are increasingly turning their backs on government at any level, that strangles the life out individual enterprise. They realize that the penalties could be severe if officialdom were to serve them, but most agree they have nothing to loose anyway.

    This is the future going forward. The corrupt system is being starved.
    Barter and “trade” are alive and doing quite well. Those who think of themselves as “good government citizens” are avoided like the plague. All “deals” pass through a vetting process by word of mouth and the chain of who you know, before the deal is sealed with a handshake.

    • Mary says:

      Spoken like a true man. Take a bow and starve the beast.

      • RE: The ‘underground’ economy is doing just fine. No contracts are signed, no bills written, no tax collected, no record of job, no hours kept, no names recorded. This covers most all aspects of society.

        I only wish this were true, and I suppose at one level it may be, but in an industrial/technological society it is a [Ayn] Randian dream.

        Modern society depends on its ports [sea and air], transportation [air, rail and canal], public safety [police, public health,courts], and government funded research [e. g. integrated circuits, internet, cnc, cad/cam, shale oil, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and yes its financial system/banks, etc.] for its operation and continued existence.

        The human species did not go extinct when previous civilizations collapsed such as Rome, the Mayans, the Greek Dark Age (c.1200- 800 BCE), and the dynastic Egyptian collapse. What did occur is that social/technical development was set back by several hundred to several thousand years, and many advances such as writing were totally lost.

    • Meme Imfurst says:

      Sorry but I think you are dreaming on each point.

  4. nick kelly says:

    Agree with all the above but think Gallup has a point about the presidential election.
    The fact is the US is showing signs of political instability.

    You can all the institutions, constitutions, etc. that can be written but in the end government requires the ongoing, day to day, consent of most of the people. This means that in a two party system, where a 5 % margin is a landslide, and Bush Junior won his first term by a few hundred votes (if he had more votes) then a large portion of the voters will have to accept governance by the party they didn’t want.
    This acceptance has to begin and continue with the leadership of the losing party.
    I don’t think many Americans of either party would not agree that the tone of political debate in the US has fallen. This trend has been going on for some time. A few years back a United States senator, a lady who was
    getting on in years but probably in a safe seat ( the US senate has a very low turnover) suddenly quit and gave her reason: the poisoning of the tone.
    I’ve only had a few short glimpses of the UK parliament in action. The two parties, (if there is a third it sits next to opposition) sit facing each other a very short distance apart- many US living rooms will be as long.
    The debates can be rancorous and possibly shocking to some- catcalls, booing, banging desks etc.
    But in quieter times they actually have conversations, often laced with British humor. Around last Christmas when this mood prevailed, one younger female Labor MP got to her feet and began by saying: “I didn’t have this bloody cold when I met the PM last week..”
    The Conservative minister replied: “Don’t worry, we’ll put the mistletoe away next time..”
    Last week David Cameron addressed the House for the last time as PM.
    A Labor MP with a very old name in UK politics ( Rees- Mogg?) got up and said that Cameron had ‘conducted himself with great dignity and I hope our side would have done the same if we had lost’

    Moving on to my point about decreasing US political civility- this can only go so far. And I think Trump may be the test. I don’t think some US states would be prepared to accept a Trump presidency- and a de facto form of succession could take place.
    In what form? Well, the US probably already surpasses any democracy for security surrounding the president. If Trump is president, the cost to a state of a visit may become an excuse to ask they not happen.
    ‘States’ Rights’ are more often invoked or attempted by GOP states- a Trump presidency might see more Democrat ones.

    The US has to recover the spirit shown at General Lee’s surrender, where the Union Army immediately issued rations to the defeated.

    • nick kelly says:

      PS: ‘secession’ not ‘succession’

      And, if the losers should accept the winner, shouldn’t they accept Trump?
      In my opinion he strains this past the breaking point. You can’t expect a candidate running on intolerance to be tolerated.

    • VegasBob says:

      Nick, I agree with most of what you’ve written.

      Unfortunately, both major parties are authoritarian now. Both parties enjoy telling other people what to do through an assortment of dictated rules and regulations, and common sense is usually thrown out the window.

      Both Democrats and Republicans are speeding toward a totalitarian police state, though for different stated reasons.

      The problem is that even though there are a few areas of agreement, there are irreconcilable differences between the two parties that will not go away, regardless of whether the neocon warmonger Wall Street shill is crowned or the blond egomaniac takes the brass ring.

      • Thomas Malthus says:

        Not long ago Merkel was saying Europe had to have compassion and let refugees in.

        The other day she said there may be radicalized individuals among the refugees.

        Setting the table for something?

        And now some of those refugees are killing Europeans

        Switch to the US. Cops caught on tape murdering blacks.

        No charges – no prosecutions….

        Setting the table for something?

        And now the black community is responding by murdering policemen – as might be expected.

        Conclusion: the PTB are orchestrating all of this. They are purposefully inviting in the chaos — creating fear — anarchy.

        Why? Because they know that civilization is about to end.

        It is about to end because we have run out of cheap to extract oil — and growth stops when oil is priced too high.

        They can see that all of their gimmicks to try to keep the economy growing are starting to push on strings.

        The masses are restless — they will eventually tip over the cart …

        That cannot be allowed to happen. But of course they cannot be seen to be hammering protestors — that would only inspire more protests… and that would indeed tip over the cart.

        So instead what they are doing is creating fear — by inviting in refugees – by having cops kill blacks —- because that will allow them to at some point institute police states.

        That means that they can stop people from protesting the collapse in opportunity for the average man — they will forget about all that — because they are afraid…

        And people who are afraid only care about being kept safe. They will throw freedom out the window for security. They will welcome the military onto the streets

        Mark my words — this is going to get worse — the shootings and stabbings will not stop – then the politicians will announce that draconian measures must be taken…

        And the masses will applaud.

        • Merf56 says:

          I cannot believe it but I must agree … And the fearmongering is working beyond what I consider TPTB’s expectations. I hear the talk it in the grocery store, conversations in my local restaurants, and worst of all among my own lesser informed family and friends. They are all cheering on the new police state tactics and are living in a weirdly irrational fear of terrorists behind every lamppost, no matter whether they are arguing from the left or the right…

        • wratfink says:

          There are reasons for demonizing Muslims. After all, our oil is buried under their sand.

        • Thomas Malthus says:


        • nick kelly says:

          The price of oil is the same for everyone, in fact higher for most places than the US because Denmark, Sweden, Japan, for example have no oil.
          But the violence in the US is unique to the US ( in the developed world) as is its gun mania.

          BTW: although I don’t hunt any longer, I once did a lot of it and have owned many rifles and shotguns- getting my first .22 at 12 and buying my first 12 gauge at 14 (used. on installments, I still remember the surprise when the hardware store owner said he’d trust me for the last installment)
          But I never felt a need for a handgun- although a flintlock would be cool.
          And calling an assault rifle a sporting rifle..which sport?

        • Very good post, I applaud heartily !

          I have heard this too many times to remember, something like, “Those who are willing to trade freedom for security deserve neither” .

          First of all let me say this is extremely judgmental, and written ( no doubt ) from the POV of a person rich enough and protected enough to have total freedom and security. But that person is not my concern here.

          My concern here is my freedom & security and that of my close friends and family. Not sure I’d rather that all were “dead and free” as opposed to “less free and still alive” .

          OTOH, we have North Korea, so there’s that.


  5. Denial is not de river in Egypt….

    IMNSHO what Gallop is seeing is two different economies/societies which might as well be on different planets. The (largely virtual) securities [stocks, bonds, commodities, FX, derivatives, etc.] markets and the real “Main Street” markets have almost nothing in common, other than the continual drain of capital from the real market by the parasitic virtual markets.

    The large majority of Americans have not had an [highly massaged/adjusted] inflation adjusted increase in income for over a generation, and when loss of workplace benefits such as defined benefit pension plans, employer paid health insurance, tuition assistance, increase in unpaid overtime, and stable employment with possibility of advancement are included, there has been considerable loss.

    Increasing numbers of the consumers and electorate are ignoring the “agitprop” of the major media and political parties, and, at long last, are beginning to reach their own conclusions. Such an awakening is long overdue.

    • evodevo says:

      Yes. This. Wall St. and DC Beltway types have absolutely NO clue, just like mainstream economists. Most of us peons are surviving, not thriving, and nervous about how long the job(s) we now hold down are going to last, given the penchant for vulture capital to swoop in and decimate a company, extracting “value” and laying us off, or a multinational to ship our jobs overseas with no penalties, like they’ve been doing with impunity for 30 years. In such “uncertain” times, no one is going to buy a new home or vehicle without a LOT of thought. A lot of people are up to their necks in debt as it is. And that doesn’t even consider a whole generation of milennials, etc. who are so burdened by their college debt that they will never recover. So, economic elites, what are YOU going to do about this, huh?

  6. Kreditanstalt says:

    Good article! And spot on…even my own standard of living has been somewhat reduced over the last 15 years and, with more and more people living part-time service-sector paycheck to paycheck, that’s true for the entire bottom 70% of the population.

    The reason Gallup doesn’t get it is that they are part of the system. And it’s a system that worships numbers, direct connections, experts, statistics, plans, theories and models. And when that rage in the general population is inchoate and obscure to number-crunchers (but bloody obvious to the hoi polloi) it is not “quantifiable”, not “measurable”…

    Ergo, it is “irrational”, “puzzling” and “inexplicable”. These people SHOULD be happy and grateful!

  7. night-train says:

    How are polls conducted these days. Most of the people I know with landlines let machines or voice mail answer their phones to avoid telemarketers. I also know many who have cut the landline out altogether. Do the pollsters call cell phones? Just wondering.

  8. Uncle Frank says:

    Those with good paying jobs with little consumer debt that own homes and regularly contribute to their retirement plans, invested in the stock market, feel confident for a good reason. The others that live paycheck to paycheck, in massive debt and rent have problems that naturally leads them to be pessimistic regarding the economic future. The numbers these days are skewed by those described in the latter situation and unfortunately are on the increase in this country.

    I am in neither group, being a retired home owner living on a fixed income, with no mortgage and no consumer debt. The ZIRP and QE policies of the Federal Reserve for the past eight years have had a detrimental effect on my life style in that I have reduced my discretionary spending considerably over that period. Thus contributing less to economic growth in my small part. Fortunately, I’m not adversely affected by the high costs of health care affecting most people.

    Given the expected easy money policy of the central bankers to continue going forward, my personal confidence factor in the economic future is thus trending downward. Meanwhile those invested heavily in this asset bubble economy will continue to be beneficiaries of the Fed’s policies and have a rosy outlook. Sour grapes on my part? No. I deal with the cards life has dealt me and live reasonably well for the short time period I have left in this world.

  9. Paulo says:

    Great comment Vegas Bob.

    I was talking to my sister down in WA, yesterday. They are doing pretty good living a stable and responsibly funded retirement. However, as we talked about events she simply said that it was all ‘getting to her’, that it is making her depressed and worried. Specifically, the entire World in turmoil and strife has led her to believe that the centre is no longer holding. Coupled with the nightmare election cycle, the criminality of the ‘Economic System’; all have been making her focus inward towards her family and her day-to-day life. That focus is the only thing keeping her from sinking into a depressed hole.

    I told her that was a wise thing to do. (Buying anything not needed is pretty much not on her list).

    I am also about 1/2 through reading ‘The Big Short’. Finally, I have an easy to understand explanation of swaps and derivitives etc., and am very disturbed as the book unfolds. Very disturbed. I had no illusions after following those events closely, and watching the movie ‘Inside Job’. Nevertheless, I had absolutely no idea how criminal this all was? Plus, how complicit the actual sub-prime consumer was in the game? Does a tomato picker making $14,000 per year actually believe they should own a $750,000 home? (No wonder people surged across the border for work in the oughts.) I am at the point in the book where they are descibing the three kids making a killing who pick stocks based on world events/disastors. I started to wonder about shorting different stocks linked to Turkey, Britain, France…and the list kept growing. Then, I remembered that it is all rigged, anyway, and bottom feeders like myself are simply fleeced by the insiders. That is, if someone would even take my trade. Hmmmm, that’s out.

    Instead, I have decided to remain an informed spectator, way way off on the boonie sidelines. I have cash and no debt, with no plans to buy anything that isn’t needed. The only real question I have is why violence has yet to be directed at investment bankers? Sure, there are a lot of people writing and waving fists, but I surmise these people, (Lloyds and Jamies) still walk about without security details? And the Rebubs blame Hillary and the Dems blame Trump…..the NFL starts training camp, and baseball October will just ease out the election. Don’t forget Pokemon Go, people mindlessly wandering around with their nose on a screen in wait for some cartoon character to say, “wow, you got some points”, while others buy their stock.

    It’s a freaking nightmare. Why would people feel positive about anything beyond their own home and circle of friends?

    • Markar says:

      You are observing and feeling what millions of us are who have been paying attention. I believe 911 was the beginning of the end of the republic and 2008 was the end of the beginning. We are circling the drain as a society, socially, economically, and financially and it has been propped up with lies, fraud, and confetti money longer than any rational person could have believed. A war mentality of hunkering down and trying to stay out of harms way has blanketed us and is a sad way to live. What comes after it all implodes, which it will, is anyone’s guess.

    • polecat says:

      Yeah…..that’s it in a nut shell…..

      …why venture out further then what you can reasonably control…

    • nick kelly says:

      Re: the Big Short- It is kind of funny that when the reclusive math nerd decides that housing is going to crash- there is no way to short it.
      Goldman and others have to invent a way.

      And when Goldman and US others themselves become convinced it’s going to crash they become desperate to exit long positions they’ve taken to make a market. Target number one: the Germans.

    • sharonsj says:

      I am still slogging through “The Big Short.” The best explanation I’ve read of why the financial industry continually screws whomever it can is in the book: a mid-level money manager, making $175,000 a year, gets promoted to managing the CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligation) which he doesn’t understand and doesn’t need to understand. His job is to buy and sell them because he and the giant investment firm he works for collect a fee every time a CDO is bought or sold. As a result he personally earns $6 million in one year. By the way, the firm knows the CDOs are crap.

      As long as none of these fraudsters ever pay a price–like jail time–the rigging will never end.

  10. Merlin says:

    I “like” all the comments in part or in whole. I would only add that the unrelenting attack by liberal media on traditional mores, Christian virtues, and national pride have greatly added to the fear and worry of the solid citizens that go to work every day, pay taxes, and try to live by the rule of law that seemingly does not apply to Wall Street and politicians.

    • night-train says:

      I do not find you comment helpful. It is of the ad hominem variety. The current economic situation isn’t the work of just liberal or conservative policies. It is the culmination of politicians of both parties selling influence to the monied interests for many years. Every law abiding citizen’s values are as valid as yours. And the only way forward is as one people pushing toward a better quality life for all and through being tolerant of those who hold different creeds, or none at all. Christians are not the only ones who work, pay taxes and contribute to society.

  11. wratfink says:

    Good comments all.

    Personally, I don’t spend money I don’t have and I find that I “need” less and less as prices rise on everything and income doesn’t keep up.

    You don’t need to spend a bunch of money to enjoy life. Grow a garden, raise a pet, take your kids or grandkids fishing, take a long walk in the woods and OBSERVE, not just walk.

    My socializing consists of going to the auction barn weekly and seeing my cronies, shooting the breeze and getting something to eat at the food kitchen. Often, I won’t even bid on anything.

    • polecat says:


      I don’t feel ‘compelled to buy into the moronic Pokemon Go craze……when I can just step into my yard…an be amazed at the variety of flying insects attracted to the celery that is in full bloom, just to illustrate one example…….

      …and yes, one can do a lot with less…and still enjoy life….

      It’s all about priorities !

    • Intosh says:

      I’m with you but the great majority are caught in and brainwashed by the consumption culture, caught in a race to gain social status and admiration from peers. The pressure is very powerful; it is extremely difficult to swim against the current, be a contrarian, an “outlier”, especially when you are younger. Your young (naive and lacking wisdom) friends and acquaintances would chuckle at your attitude, think you are weird or not ambitious enough, or incapable and poor.

  12. Gee says:

    low gas prices is about all that helped 2015 confidence stabilize, and now that they have been back on the rise the first half, the one big factor that matters to most of the little people is a negative. The middle class homeowners are treading water, while the rich are hiring more accountants to count all their riches from asset inflation. This isnt hard to figure out, but if you decide to stick your head in the sand, like Gallup does, well then ya, stumped is how you’ll end up.

  13. Petunia says:

    I recently had a glimpse into how the other half is living. It was just a Sunday brunch at one of the nice places in town. Something we haven’t done since before the financial crisis hit. The place was busy with tables full of families just out from church. At a nearby table I counted four adults and six kids. Our bill came in at $100 per person.
    We will not be going back anytime soon and I don’t think they will miss us.

    • polecat says:

      ‘God sure provides’…. for some……eh !

      • polecat says:

        ….especially if you are a …… ‘goldman’

        just ask Lloyd ……… he’ll set ya straight !

    • night-train says:

      It would be interesting to know how many of your fellow diners were stretching their finances indulging themselves on an expensive brunch. I’m not saying there aren’t those who can easily afford it. But, I noticed back in the oil crash of the 80s, a lot of people continued living high on the hog long after their ability to afford to stopped. Old habits die hard and many only find meaning in life through spending. It is their identity and change is hard.

      • Petunia says:

        We are new to the oil patch and I am struck by how unaffected the area seems to have been to the housing and employment disaster I experienced in Florida. I don’t know enough to say if the prosperity I see is solid, but it is definitely visible. The businesses catering to upscale customers are still open. The nice restaurants are full. The oil sector unemployment I keep hearing about is not visible to me.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          If you’re in Texas, there’s the oil-patch Texas, and then there’s non-oil-patch Texas. Day and night. I think some other states have similar divisions.

  14. Holly Hock says:

    Why the gloom? Easy. Americans can’t afford to buy the stocks, bonds, and houses. They’re trying to feed their families.

Comments are closed.