Carol M. Highsmith
Statue of the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, before the U.S. Treasury building on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.
We are witnessing a revolution of lower expectations. Economic times are hardly great, but Americans seem remarkably copacetic.
The excesses of the financial crisis have been institutionalized, not erased. Fortunes amassed by selling bogus securities, foreclosing on mortgages and abusing bankruptcy laws have been safely banked. The likes of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn and President Trump — and his princelings — have been rewarded with the pinnacles of power and prestige.
Good jobs and wages still advance tepidly as compared to the closing decades of the 20th century. Most families are stuck with the same income — or less — and the essentials of middle-class life — housing, health care and a college education — are much tougher to afford.
That’s why Procter & Gamble can no longer grow hawking new and improved laundry detergents or “shaving systems” to replace ordinary razors.
When you have lemons you make lemonade but when you don’t have sugar, you pretend.
Recent polls indicate as many Americans believe themselves middle class as before the crisis, and most are satisfied with their jobs, feel they are getting ahead and no longer fear outsourcing.
Perhaps times are better than the economic data indicate, but as someone painfully trained to understand the quality of federal statistics, I can attest things are still worse than during the Reagan-Clinton golden years.
Americans exhibit denial because they know elected politicians are either…