Over in comments, Low-Tech Cyclist writes:
Grasping Reality with Both Hands: The Semi-Daily Journal Economist Brad DeLong: Time to get back to the Washington Post Death Spiral. On today's front page, upper left, is an analysis piece by someone named Neil Irwin, who can't make sense of why consumer confidence is at its lowest level in 30 years.
He doesn't mention that job creation stays down a lot longer around each recession than it used to, that incomes haven't made it back to where they were before the last recession, that the unemployment rate seems to have lost its connection to the number of Americans employed, and that there's no sense that anyone knows how high the price of oil will go, how low the value of their houses will go, or how far the dollar will fall. People know they had no leverage to get a raise during the boom, and they know it's only going to be worse during the bust.
In other words, people know their personal situations are shaky, and they're afraid the economy's fundamentals may be screwed too. That oughta do it. But Irwin doesn't see any of this.