What the heck is it going to take to make us happy? The amount of anger, sadness, indifferent, apathy and frustration is so thick it hits with gale wind force every time I turn on the news or ask people about how they feel. It seems the farther up the economic food chain the greater the despair.
I make sure to speak to receptionists each day who remind me on rainy days that it was overdue, on hot days we had a long winter and on cold summer days that fall is the best of all seasons.
I'm an eternal optimist but also a realist which leads to internal conflict but never despair. It's far too early to give up on America. Even people that don't consider themselves pessimists have to be cautious about falling into certain traps. The biggest trap is accepting and then rewarding mediocrity.
I get why some would say that's exactly what the stock market is up but they would be wrong. Sure, Fed action makes stocks more attractive than other investment vehicles but the Great Rotation out of bonds hasn't materialized yet and none of that Fed money is hitting paychecks on Main Street.
The stock market reflects expanding global prosperity as each day more and more companies are getting the majority of revenue and profits from outside the United States. There will be hiccups and bumps in the road but I buy that global prosperity thing because people around the world are hungry to be what America is but willing to give away these days. While we should cheer progress and even let out an occasional sigh of relief the economy is long ways past elation over green shoots. The economy should look like an unstoppable force of nature- a growing Redwood reaching for the skies.
It's the Economy, Stupid
So, yes, the economy is the steady rain that quells our enthusiasm even if your own situation is pretty good you have family, friends, neighborhoods, communities, town, city, states and the nation moving along with a decided limp. So, we deal. Part of that means retreating to the point GDP is 1.7% and homeownership hits an 18 year low. On Tuesday the market was poised to move higher if consumer confidence numbers from the Conference Board came in above 83.0. As it was the actually number 80.0 but commentators called it "strong," pointing out it was at near five-year high.
The thing is this number used to be higher and we used to be happier.