Over at 538, Tim Mullaney picks up on a topic I’ve obsessed about in the past: When you remove politics from the equation, most people seem pretty cheery about the state of the economy. Here’s the latest:
Bill Fox sells cars….Like other car dealers, Fox is seeing near-record sales: Somehow, he said, consumers don’t seem as worried about the economy as the pundits say they are. “We’re not seeing [anger] at all,” said Fox, a partner in Auburn-based Fox Dealerships. “The way I account for it is, the public sees economic indicators that are OK, their job’s not threatened, and they may be afraid of the future, but the monthly [car] payment is good.”
….Even as Americans tell political pollsters that they are worried about the economy, they tell a different story in a separate set of surveys that are used by economists and investors to forecast consumer spending behavior. On Tuesday, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, hit a nine-year high….Even people with only a high-school education — whose economic woes are often cited in media reports explaining Trump’s rise — are about as confident today as they were before the recession began, according to the Michigan survey.
Consumer confidence is now as high as it was throughout the boom years of the aughts, which was good enough to keep Republicans in power until scandals overtook them in 2006 and the economy collapsed in 2008.
No politician—not even most Democrats—wants to say publicly that the economy is in pretty good shape. Why? Because they don’t want to appear to be out of touch. After all, even in a good economy, there are still plenty of people who are hurting. But practically every bit of evidence suggests not only that the economy is humming along pretty well, but that voters know it. Donald Trump is doing his best to convince everyone that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but if the September consumer confidence numbers are anything to go by, most of the American public isn’t buying it.