Skeptics of the importance of “uncertainty” about government policy and government actions as major impediments to spending and investment might take a close look at the August report from the University of Michigan/Reuters Consumer Sentiment Survey.
It makes it clear that this is a major issue.
Three-fourths of a random sample of consumers expect “bad times” for the economy in the coming months, just below the survey record of 82% reached in 1980.
Asked for examples of recent news that explained their pessimistic view of the economy, 25% provided spontaneous negative responses about government, a record in the 50 year history of the survey, exceeding the last record which occurred in 2010 when the health care act was passed. When asked to rate the Administration’s economic policies, 57% gave the Administration a negative rating, a record high, exceeding the worst ratings given to any past President. Only 5% had a positive view of Administration policies.
Survey director Richard Curtin observed “Consumers have shifted from being optimistic about the potential impact of monetary and fiscal policies to a sense of despair and pessimism about the role of the government.”