In a perfect world, we would all have numbers affixed to our foreheads providing an indicator of intelligence and lack thereof. Unfortunately, this is not only impractical, but would likely lead to discriminatory practices. Nevertheless, we have something known as The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) which provides an aggregate public gullibility metric. Yesterday, The Conference Board reported May's CCI was 35% than that of April, indicating that the many of the 5000 households surveyed believed the government's Green Shoot PR campaign:

For certain, anyone within earshot of a teevee has heard the business media trumpeting the Green Shoot PR campaign. Any new economic indicator that is less negative is being proclaimed as positive and a confirmation that the recovery is at hand. (Considering all of the chicanery the government has condoned in the last six months, the accuracy of the most recent indicators is questionable.) The message is ubiquitous and apparently effective, demonstrating that the American public's appetite for propaganda is insatiable.

After all, didn't the teevee shill the following:

1. The Y2K non-apocalypse.
2. Electric deregulation
3. WMDs to justify the Iraq War.
4. 401k retirement plans in place of financial literacy.
5. The perpetual increase of housing prices and real estate speculation.
6. Consumption at the expense of saving.
7. Media consolidation
8. Diseases manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry, i.e. Restless Legs Syndrome.
9. A service economy based on truly unnecessary industries, instead of tangible good production.
10. Trade and immigration policies that led to a depressed standard of living in many parts of the country.

I would have thought that after seeing 40% of their retirement assets disappear, 30% of their home's value erode, 10% unemployment, an unprecedented $12T deficit, and the specter of massive tax increases, the public might start to question the MSM and whose interests it really serves. Apparently, the transient comfort provided by predatory optimism is preferable to reality. Thus, allow me to accomodate with the following inspirational excerpt from Time magazine titled, "Good Times Are Coming!," circa 2005:
Do we really consume too much and save too little? Fed data show that while debt has been rising, so has net worth, and debt as a percentage of net worth does not look overstretched. I am not unmindful of the risks. But I do think most of the analysis wildly oversimplified, particularly when the problem is identified as "imbalances," as though the economic system's natural state had been perturbed and until returned to balance it was out of whack.

My point is simple: this is just one of the things people are worrying about while the broad economic picture could hardly be better. General Electric just reported strong earnings and is confident of double-digit growth. IBM did the same. Citigroup chief financial officer Sallie Krawchek said recently on CNBC that it was "credit nirvana," the best environment they had seen in almost 15 years, and Citigroup raised its dividend another 10%.


  1. And the brain, apparently, dies first.

    There is no reason to lose hope, so long as you are hoping for something positive, like true economic growth. Hoping for the return of the debt-induced farce of the last 8 years is futile and dangerous.