Seven years of Barack Obama’s bright and cheery optimism and America is suffering from despair. The president and his flunkies assure us that things are great. The economy has recovered; unemployment is low; the stock market is high; everyone has health insurance; black lives matter; white privilege has been diminished; we have declared war on climate change.
No one much cares about winning wars. We now care that the military is politically correct. No one much cares about growing the economy. We now care about social justice. We are not debating tax policy. We are mired in a public discussion about transgendered restrooms.
For those who believe the goals are not incompatible, the evidence says otherwise.
However good the Obamaphile media thinks the country is doing, a closer look at the American psyche tells a different story. Suicide rates have not quite reached 1932 levels but they have been going up.
For most of America the Obama recovery has been a mirage. The rich have gotten richer while the rest have languished. The middle class has been hit the hardest. More and more people have fallen out of the middle class and are just scraping by… if that.
The good economic news seems more to have been produced by the Federal Reserve. Moneyprinting has enriched a precious few while economic policy has left the rest behind.
In a self-pitying essay for The Atlantic Neal Gabler recently described his own financial problems. Perhaps it’s a symptom of our times that writers are obliged to write about their penurious circumstances and their financial mismanagement, but one would have preferred that he had been more discreet. To be fair, more discreet means fewer readers and lower fees. In our culture, exhibitionism pays. Surely, this fact contributes to the general despondency.
Americans are living through a period of economic decline. Beyond the misery lie the statistics. The one that stands out, to Gabler and to us is this: How many Americans have enough emergency funds on hand to pay for an unexpected $400 expense?