The Bush economic boom is better than any in the last 10, 20...even 30 years!
Even Paul Krugman is perplexed (note: that is not hard for him to achieve).
The Democrats and the Left depended on high oil prices and devastating natural disasters to prove beyond all shadow of a doubt that Bush's economic policies were creating poverty and economic decline. Just imagine if we had not had high oil prices; or a series of natural disasters that wreaked havoc in part of the country.
Meanwhile, attempts to decrease the annual rate of growth in Federal entitlements from a 6.3% increase to a 6.2% increase (a whopping cut of 0.1%) caused this incredible hysteria.
And just to put the above pitiful attempt to decrease the federal deficit in context, imagine what would happen if some quasi-"feel-good" program that in reality did nothing for the poor were put on the chopping block. The mild accusations of simply " hating" the poor would undoubtedly morph into accusations of "genocide" that would undoubtedly make the headlines in the various media outlets (something like: BUSH UNLEASHES 'GENOCIDE' ON THE POOR!).
So, what is behind the fact that people don't feel that the economy is doing well? I propose a variant of Seligman's theory of "Learned Helplessness". But instead of being helpless in the face of inflicted pain; Americans are being inflicted with command hallucinations that unceasingly tell them that the economic situation is dire.
Seligman's theory states very simply that when a person is placed in a situation where there is no way to avoid inflicted pain, it leads to a profound fatalism and resignation to one's situation; and thus presumably to depression and hopelessness. Even when there may be a possiblity of improving the situation; the belief remains intact that there is nothing one can do to stop the pain.
The Santy variant of the theory is purely hypothetical, but is based on empirical observation, and goes like this: When a person is bombarded with unrelenting news reports and news analyses that insist that conditions are bad bad bad; and that people (somewhere) are suffering --even when such assertions are completely untrue-- and that as long as certain people are running the country and remain in power, it is hopeless to imagine that things could change and get better.
In other words, "Santy's Theory of Learned Economic Hopelessness"** works like a mindless political lesson drilled into the mind over and over again--e.g., Republicans hate the poor; Bush hates Blacks; Capitalism oppresses everyone etc. etc.--until facts, reality and truth are completely irrelevant.
Individuals may even momentarily break out of the induced hallucination long enough to note that they themselves are actually doing pretty well financially; but then they are told that they represent an aberration and that everyone else is suffering horribly. So, even if someone were to question the message's veracity; it is used as an opportunity to inflict guilt; and that effectively reinforces the learned economic hopelessness.
If we believe those who propagate the economic hopelessness and thrive off the perception of doom and gloom, then the only cure is to put them back in power.
Except for the fact that it would be like saying the only cure for your sickness is to stop the tough but effective treatment, and to allow the illess to proceed on its natural course, unimpeded.
But at least you could pretend that everything would then be wonderful; and that poverty and economic hardship would soon be erased from the face of the earth; that hurricanes hardly ever happen; and that unnatural disasters like 9/11 are simply an illusion done with smoke and mirrors.
And then those darn voices of doom in your head would finally shut up.
**NOTE: this theory only applies when Republicans are in political power at either the state or federal level. When Democrats are in power we are in an indisputable economic boom.