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The mad index seems to rising all the time - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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The mad index seems to rising all the time

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Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 12:00 am

There’s a bit of a debate going on these days about just how upset the American public is with the way things are going in this country.

Some would describe the mood as "angry." And in some cases, that’s probably accurate. The segment inclined to join the Tea Party movement is undoubtedly mad as hell. And these people don’t mind telling you exactly what they think is wrong.

But there likely are degrees of dissatisfaction.

For instance, many folks could be upset, but not over-the-top mad. They just don’t like some of the trends.

Meanwhile, it’s difficult to envision a big percentage of Americans who are perfectly happy.

After all, the United States just went through a recession that took the wind out of the sails of people from all walks of life.

The working class got hit hard since lots of jobs were lost. At the same time, those who could be classified as rich saw their assets reduced significantly in value. Those in between suffered as well.

Plus, it may have been toughest for older Americans living on fixed incomes. Their investments accrued over a lifetime — savings in various forms — were suddenly much smaller.

So, yeah, the mood is a bit dark. Would you rather be rocking along in style or paddling upstream?

As for the future, you can get all sorts of different opinions as to where we’re headed. The general feeling is that things are improving. But the difference of opinions comes when you try to decide how quickly the recovery is coming along.

For instance, here in the Permian Basin, the downturn wasn’t quite as earthshaking. Yes, jobs were lost, especially in the oil patch. But the unemployment numbers were more alarming in other parts of the nation.

Plus, we had some ongoing construction projects and other prospects that kept spirits a little higher in these parts.

In fact, some believe the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter by the day. Crude oil prices are trending upward and activity in the oil field is picking up again.

An individual’s level of frustration with recent events — the anger index, if you prefer — generally is tied to, of course, the performance of government.

Naturally, this is where politics comes in.

Unfortunately, the accepted brand of political conflict is to play to Americans’ emotions.

Both major parties do this. President Obama got the fancy title in front of his name largely due to the public’s concern about the lingering conflict in Iraq. Plus he promised change in other areas as well.

But now, being on the inside looking out is a liability for Obama and Democrats. And there are talk show hosts and politicians whipping up a frenzy for change from the change that the new administration brought.

On second thought, maybe we are a nation of angry people. We can’t find anyone who can provide a happy medium — that "just right" feeling that Goldilocks had so much trouble acquiring.

So if the current surly atmosphere is grating on your nerves, get used to it. No one will be able to please all the American people all the time. And it’s getting to the point where you can’t please anyone any of the time.


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