Most of us sense that there’s more to revival than sudden desires for phones or cars, that the consumer isn’t always a mindless mall rat. Rational caution may be beneficial, tax breaks aimed at stimulating consumption, perverse.
Still, the same Chicago trust-o-meter carries some negative messages. In December the pollsters asked: “Have the government interventions in financial markets over the last three months made you more or less confident in investment in the stock market?”
A full 80 percent replied “less,” an annihilating mark for the performance ofGeorge W. Bush, then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed ChairmanBen Bernanke. Asked a similar question last month, 67 percent replied “less confident.”