Those who remember President Jimmy Carter’s famous “great national malaise” speech may be wondering if the United States is not once again in a similar corporate mood. U.S. consumer confidence has dropped significantly since September, according to Rapaport on Oct. 30.
The consumer confidence ratings tend to be more significant in determining future trends than other after-the-fact figures. The troubling aspect of these latest measurements is that they show a marked plunge in expectation for the future.
While most media reports blame the public’s lack of hope for a brighter economic future on the recent government shutdown, it is quite evident that Americans have lost confidence in the entire government as a whole. In addition to the recent shutdown absurdity, the rank and file Americans are also disillusioned by a string of scandals, inefficiencies, and misrepresentations.
In many incidences in the recent past, the average American consumer has not only become skeptical of the government but downright suspicious. Lack of confidence has translated into complete mistrust. Despite almost constant hearings and investigations, there seem to be no answers and no accountability forthcoming.
The case could easily be made that the country’s morale is indeed in a much worse condition than it was after the Watergate scandal when Carter made his famous speech. By the way, despite long being referred to as the “great national malaise” speech, he did not actually use the word “malaise.”
The current mood in the country would now be described with much stronger verbiage. People are not just tired, but they are tired of it, with “it” being just about everything.