As a small-business owner, I don’t need to wait for the government reports of leading indicators and indices to know that there’s been a tightening in people’s willingness to spend over the long hot summer of 2010. The day-to-day experience of talking to clients and other business owners confirms that something is choking off spending for many as they hunker down for worse times ahead.
I’m going to lay some of this at the feet of President Obama but it’s more than just a matter of policy. Barack Obama is hurting the economy in a way that would have been hard to predict back in 2008 when even his harshest critics agreed that he showed qualities of charisma and leadership that caused so many to feel confident again in America’s future.
That feeling about whether things are going to be better or worse tomorrow drives people’s economic decisions at a gut level. It’s beyond ideology and party loyalty. What the economy is with dealing with right now is the death of hope.