Perception Is Reality, Or Is It?

Posted by Bull Bear Trader | 4/04/2008 09:55:00 PM | | 0 comments »

About every week we get a new survey about how terrible things are in the country. While the numbers change slightly, they often have a similar characteristic - things are bad, but not necessarily for me. A recent NY Times / CBS News poll is a good example. From the poll, 81% of the respondents felt that “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.” Only 21% felt that the overall economy was in good condition. On the other hand, when asked about themselves, more than 70 percent said that their financial situation was fairly good or very good. Granted, the questions are not exactly the same, but I always find this interesting, nonetheless.

Maybe even more disheartening, the poll also found that Americans blame government officials for the housing crisis more than banks or home buyers. Breaking down the statistics, 40% of respondents said regulators were mostly to blame, while 28% blamed the lenders, and only 14% named the borrowers themselves. While it is easy to argue that the blame should be spread around, at some point you have question the decisions some homeowners were making, along with others in the system. When pressed for more details, a clear majority also said they did not want the government to help the banks, even if the measures would help limit the depth of any recession. I guess the question "Would you prefer to lose your job for 0, 6, or 24 months" was not asked.