Obama's Right About America's Economic Cynicism

Americans are so busy being cynical about the economy that they don't see available opportunities.

By SHARE
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Help Wanted sign displayed in storefront window.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Durham, N.H., the president said:

You know, it's fashionable right now for people to be cynical. We go in cycles like this and right now a lot of people are saying "Oh, America is doing terribly" and "What are we going to do?" Let me tell you something. There is no problem out there, no challenge we face that we do not have the capacity to solve. We are Americans and we are tougher than whatever tough times bring us. What is lacking right now is our politics, what's lacking right now is that some of the worst impulses in our politics have been rewarded...

Now of course there are many who would say the president is blaming Americans. Blaming them for the bad economy, blaming them for their attitude about the economy, etc.

But I ask you, is he wrong?

[ See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

It's an election year. And how can't we be cynical? Everywhere we look there is gloom and doom headlines about the economy, jobs, housing, healthcare, immigration, terrorism, etc., especially by the campaign ads of those on the right. And of course, the right accuses the president of blaming we the people.

I didn't take the president's remarks as such. I think he's right. We are cynical. Good or bad economy, it doesn't matter. America is a cynical nation, a cynical people.

On my way to do my TV appearance to discuss this very issue, I heard a report about children who are starving in Yemen who are severely malnutritioned and who will most likely die from a lack of food.

Now I admit, although horrific, we do have children starving in America, children who go to bed hungry, and there is no excuse for that. But that is not the norm. That is not the majority. 

[ See the 10 best cities to find a job.]

On my way to the studio I saw 11, yes, 11, count them, "Help Wanted" signs. They have been there for weeks. And this week I called three separate companies which I wanted to hire to do some work on my home. Guess how many called me back? None.

The point is, we can be cynical. But the economy is improving, there are jobs out there and there are customers with their wallets open ready to hire some of you…but…you need to apply for the job, go to the interview, return the customer's call.

As I told one of my (many) Republican friends who was complaining about the economy and blaming the president (as he watched one of his three 60-inch screen televisions), even on our worst day, the poorest in America are wealthier than most middle class in other countries. What makes us great is we can rise above adversity. We survived Pearl Harbor, we survived 9/11, we have survived floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes; we can survive this bad economy….and we all know being poor isn't fashionable.