Are We Talking Ourselves Into A Depression?

By Noel Sheppard Associate Editor,

More than half the country believes the economy is collapsing into a full-blown depression.

Such was revealedby Rasmussen Reports Tuesday:

Most Americans (53%) now think the United States is at least somewhat likely to enter a 1930s-like depression within the next few years. [...]

Adults in their 30s are the most worried, with 62% who say it is likely the nation will slip into a deep depression. Less than half (47%) of those Americans over 65 think the country will slip into a 1930's-like depression.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of investors and 53% of non-investors say it is likely the country will slip into a serious depression. Forty-one percent (41%) of investors disagree, along with 38% of non-investors.

With unemployment standing at 8.1 percent - which is nowhere near as bad as 1982's 10.8 percent or 1975's 9.0 percent - why are people so extraordinarily bearish?

Is it the constant pessimism being expressed by the press and the White House?

Since Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on Sept. 15, the Obama-obsessed media, realizing a financial crisis would help the Democrat presidential candidate defeat John McCain, have been continually depicting economic conditions as being the worst since the Great Depression.

So has candidate, president-elect, and President Obama -- that is until a few days ago, when he mysteriously declaredthings are "not as bad as wethink."

It is unclear which "we" the President was referring to, as for approaching six months he has told Americans that the world is close to coming to an end.

Now, half of them believe it. Talk about your inconvenient self-fulfilling prophecies.

To be sure, the continued decline in stocks and real estate prices -- this week's rally notwithstanding -- has to be taking its toll.

It certainly is on Wall Street, as a well-watched surveyreleased by the American Association of Individual Investors last Thursday found 70 percent of respondents to be bearish, the highest number in the report's 22-year history.

The Obama administration clearly isn't helping matters, given how markets have plummeted since Inauguration Day and continue to respond negatively to every so-called solution coming out of Washington.

Add it all up, and Americans right now seem to need a psychiatrist to help them deal with their feelings of hopelessness and ennui.

Or maybe we just need everyone to stop talking about depression -- for it's clearly depressing.

Noel Sheppard is associate editor of the MediaResearchCenter's He welcomes feedback at