The WSJ has a new opinion column by Peggy Noonan, and it's worth reading.
The new economic statistics put growth at a healthy 3.5% for the third quarter. We should be dancing in the streets. No one is, because no one has any faith in these numbers. Waves of money are sloshing through the system, creating a false rising tide that lifts all boats for the moment. The tide will recede. The boats aren't rising, they're bobbing, and will settle. No one believes the bad time is over. No one thinks we're entering a new age of abundance. No one thinks it will ever be the same as before 2008. Economists, statisticians, forecasters and market specialists will argue about what the new numbers mean, but no one believes them, either. Among the things swept away in 2008 was public confidence in the experts. The experts missed the crash. They'll miss the meaning of this moment, too.
Noonan talks about two main issues in this column. The first is that more and more people are tired of being told the same old "Jam tomorrow" promises, and just don't believe them any more. In increasing numbers, the American people are realizing that there's no reason why what failed yesterday and the day before should work if tried again, unchanged, tomorrow. People don't believe that Congress or the White House will fix the problem. They don't believe that the government knows how. And they're right, because the government is too mired in business-as-usual to think outside the box. No matter what promises are made in their campaigns, once they get ensconced inside the Beltway, it's the same old same old.
Noonan's other issue is another thing that an increasing number of Americans have caught on to, and that Congress hasn't.
We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.
And that's the real problem. Capitol Hill is totally out of touch with America; and, as a general rule, Capitol Hill neither knows, nor cares.