Are Americans Really Miserable?
John Edwards is basing his entire political career on the idea that the typical voter is as angry, greedy and envious as a plaintiff-friendly jury in a malpractice case. Democrats in general are campaigning on the "America sucks and we're not gonna take it anymore" platform.
Are they right? Are we really in such a foul mood? Maybe not.
The latest Gallup poll shows that 84% of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives, and a clear majority are "very satisfied."
Meanwhile, the American economy continues to show an amazing resilience during a brutal period of rising oil prices and a declining housing market. As economist Kevin Hassett notes:
If someone told me last December that construction of single-family homes would drop in 2007 by 27 percent, about the current estimate from Economy.com, then I would have expected the economy to be in recession. But a collapse of that scale did occur, and annual GDP growth, according to the latest Economy.com estimate, was about 2.5 percent. There are plenty of developed countries that would take that type of growth every year.
Me, too. Instead, households are wealthier, more jobs are being created and the world economy is still booming, even without America's economic engine overperforming to pull it along.
Oh, and the vast majority of happy Americans think our nation is on the wrong track.
Could things be better? Absolutely. But things could be a whole lot worse. That's what the "wrong track" folks have forgotten.