Friday, September 18, 2009

Confidents, pessimists or realists - Who's talking to economic pollsters now?

Want to know how weird it gets on the recession front lines?

Dame Vera Lynn, an iconic World War II era vocalist, topped Britain's music charts last month, outselling both the Beatles and the Arctic Monkeys. It's not surprising maybe. Slews of recent surveys of our confidence in our economic future are all over the map. I think that suggests recession fighters on jobs and home fronts now feel as stressed out as the Greatest Generation was 65 years ago.

Consumer confidence rose in August, but pollsters find that many of us are still pretty edgy out here. We have reason to be, New York Times editorial writers declared recently. And six in 10 households surveyed by Country Financial fear their retirements will be as bad as or worse than what their parents are going through now, the Illinois insurance insurance and investment management company reports.

Plus, remedies that used to work don't seem to now, reporters Janet Novack and Stephanie Fitch find in an upcoming Forbes magazine piece outlining how the economy is roughing up the middle class. That in turn makes what we think is a traditional recovery all that more difficult, say researchers at the University of Michigan and elsewhere.

That brings us back to Dame Vera Lynn. If you are a movie fan, hum along with the final moments of the classic Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

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