What Happened to Optimism?

Charles Payne
I have often been accused of being too optimistic, which bucks the trend of the self-loathing American, ashamed for being successful and prosperous. This sort of thinking is why the American dream of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, has been largely passed on to the next generation via immigrants. They know what it's really like to live a life of poverty and suffer social injustices — and for some, the act of putting food on the table hasn’t become much easier than the days when Cro-Magnon men had to hunt in large groups.

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There was a time when wealth was hoarded in this country, where only a very few could afford passage on a luxury ocean liner or walk down the avenue in a new mink coat. Now, there are seven million millionaires in America — and that’s not counting the value of people’s homes. More people are working today than at any other time in the history of the nation, as unemployment has dipped to 4.7%.

Yet Americans will not acknowledge their good fortune. Whenever a pollster drops by homes to conduct interviews, one would think the survey was taking place in World War II London, as the pessimistic outlook never seems to improve. Ironically, it seems those that are less well-off voice more optimism than those who are financially doing very well. Nowhere is the trend more prevalent than in Hollywood. The Academy Award ceremony was devoid of a pulse. There was little excitement among winners, no passion when the legends of the industry made their way onto the stage. Thank goodness for the true burst of joy from the guys that won best song (“It’s Hard Out Here for Pimp” is a long way from “Yankee Doodle Dandy”). Talk about people that have disdain for the very nation that made them rich and famous. Tokyo Red couldn't produce more anti-American sentiment. It's no wonder the ratings for the Oscars are sinking more and more each year.

Now this anti-American thinking has hit Wall Street with brute force. The big boys on the Street think the average American is tapped out. Bill Gross of PIMCO fame said as much last week, and that many American companies are seeking fortune abroad. I guess the prevailing wisdom on the Street is that every gadget, type of sneaker and car has been crammed down the throats of Americans, so why not bet on the Chinese, who for the most part, are still getting around on mopeds and bicycles? This sort of thinking has created an atmosphere where good news on the American economy is either dismissed or even punished. Consider it the greatest form of self-loathing, when you punish your own pockets because the economy is executing properly.

This is the mental backdrop we have to contend with over the next several weeks, or perhaps, months. On Friday, the latest update on the state of jobs will be cast down upon us. It should be a day on which we are all proud to be Americans, but instead we will all cower in the hopes that the economy isn’t quite hitting on all cylinders.

Charles Payne is the founder and CEO of www.wstreet.com and appears regularly on FNC's Cost of Freedom Business Block.

Charles Payne is the host of Making Money with Charles Payne (weekdays 6-7 PM/ET).