They don't feel anxious, because they never had anything to be anxious about. They grew up in an America surrounded by phrases—"strongest nation in the world," "indispensable nation," "unipolar power," "highest standard of living"—and are not bright enough, or serious enough, to imagine that they can damage that, hurt it, even fatally.
We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.
That from Peggy Noonan.
Noonan opines that the “feeling” around this recession is different than even the ones experienced in the mid-to-late seventies and early eighties because people felt that there was “a way ahead” in previous economic downturns that is absent here.
We weren’t quite that politically/culturally cognizant back then but aside from the existential state of dread displayed by Noonan there are concrete ways we can stem this tide. Gee, maybe not passing healthcare reform that keeps checking in around the $1 trillion mark each time it gets taken to the CBO wood shed might be a start.
Cap and Trade remains yet another way by which Noonan thinks that the ruling class can keep clubbing the golden goose of American prosperity and expect it to survive.
We’re not giving in. Ultimately, we remain optimistic but simultaneously baffled and somewhat disheartened that this many horrible ideas can keep cropping up and gaining legislative traction at the worst of recent times.
Noonan's quote above does a good job of explaining why.