"Yes, we can." That was Barack Obama’s mantra as he took the helm of the nation nearly two years ago. Even though the economy looked scary, he—and we—had a sense of optimism that we could fix it. Not only would we avoid a second Great Depression, but we’d make things better.
Since then, we’ve successfully pulled back from the precipice. Private employers have added jobs for 10 straight months. In September, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the recession ended in June 2009.
And yet despite these improvements, we seem to have lost our can-do conviction that the economy can indeed improve, that we can again create good jobs for all who need them. There appears to be a growing acceptance that slow job creation is “just the way things are.’’ A growing fatalism convinces us that the economy will be stuck at the bottom for quite some time.