ESSAY Why Is America In a Blue Funk?

Fed chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress last week that the economy was not doing all that badly yet consumer confidence was weaker than he had ever seen it. In a nation of consumers, low consumer confidence is more than an unwillingness to buy. It is a loss of faith, a statistical measure of national anxiety. As the year ends, a morbid pessimism has settled over the nation, a Great Depression not of the economy but of the psyche.

It is precisely this disparity between economy and psyche, between how bad things really are and how bad we think they are, that...

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