"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline" despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.
"We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today," he said. "We have benefited greatly" from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.
Mr. Gramm said the constant drubbing of the media on the economy's problems is one reason people have lost confidence. Various surveys show that consumer confidence has fallen precipitously this year to the lowest levels in two to three decades, with most analysts attributing that to record high gasoline prices over $4 a gallon and big drops in the value of homes, which are consumers' biggest assets.
"Misery sells newspapers," Mr. Gramm said. "Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."
By the way: is this elitist? Because I can’t tell anymore. I think these kind of statements are only elitist if a Democrat says them.
It certainly shows how out of touch Phil Gramm is from the lives of ordinary Americans. You know, I don’t think it’s the headlines that have caused Americans to lose confidence, it’s their own experience. It’s the fact that there’s too much month at the end of the money, and the cost of gas and groceries have made things like healthcare a luxury. It’s the fact that President Bush’s $64 billion economic stimulus plan fizzled like a soggy firecracker.
But let’s blame the media and call Americans facing real economic trouble “whiners.” And remember: telling people that their economic woes are all in their head is never, ever elitist.