In his June 29 column in the New York Times, David Brooks says that Biden does not get enough credit for his success as President. He says:

The misery index is a crude but effective way to measure the health of the economy. You add up the inflation rate and the unemployment rate. If you’re a president running for re-election, you want that number to be as low as possible.

Biden should be cruising to an easy re-election victory. And that misery index number doesn’t even begin to capture the strength of the American economy at the moment. There are a zillion positive indicators right now, as the folks in the administration will be quick to tell you. The economy has created 13 million jobs since Biden’s Inauguration Day. According to the Conference Board, a business research firm, Americans’ job satisfaction is at its highest level in 36 years. Household net worth is surging….

Why are Americans feeling so bad about an economy that’s so good? Partly, it’s inflation. Things have stabilized recently as inflation has dropped, but for a while there, real wages really were falling. Prices on things like gas and food are now significantly higher than they were three years ago.

Part of it is the media. A recent study found that over the past couple of decades headlines have grown starkly more negative, conveying anger and fear. That’s bound to spread bad vibes through the populace.

But the main problem is national psychology. Americans’ satisfaction with their personal lives is nearly four times as high as their satisfaction with the state of the nation. That’s likely because during the Trump era we have suffered a collective moral injury, a collective loss of confidence, a loss of faith in ourselves as a nation.

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