Gallup Economic Confidence Index Plummets To August 2010 Level As Poverty Effect Laps Wealth Effect

Tyler Durden's picture

For anyone wondering why a hypothetical situation in which Bill Dudley met with former colleague Jan Hatzius and told him "ok, we bailed you guys out, now it's your time to kill oil" seems all too possible in our day and age, the latest news on the economy from Gallup should make it all too clear. As of April 11, the polling agency's Economic Confidence Index has dropped to -37: the lowest reading since August of 2010. It appears that disgust with $4+ gas (Poverty Effect for all) is more than offsetting Brian Sack's attempt reclaim the Russell 36,000 (Wealth Effect for some). Gallup's conclusion is absolutely spot on: 'Global events, continued political battles about the budget in the
nation's capital, and a weak, if modestly improving job market add to
consumer uncertainties. As a result, it is not surprising that consumer confidence plummets even as Wall Street continues to do well. However,
if consumers continue to lack confidence and spending doesn't increase,
it is hard to see how the U.S. economy can continue its modest
improvement. In turn, it would seem Wall Street and Main Street will
have to align at some point going forward. Either Wall Street will prove
right and economic conditions on Main Street will improve or the
reverse will prove to be the case."

(source: Gallup)

Some views from Goldman on the collapse in consumer sentiment (which unlike the Conference Board and UMichigan actually polls people instead of Fortune 500 CEOs):

Americans' optimism about the future direction of the U.S. economy plunged in March for the second month in a row, as the percentage of Americans saying the economy is "getting better" fell to 33% -- down from 41% in January. It is also down three points from the 36% of March 2010.

Percentage of All Americans Saying Economy Is Getting Better, January 2008-March 2011 TrendOptimism in March essentially matches last year's low points: 32% in July, 33% in August, and 32% in September. However, it remains higher than it was throughout 2008 and early 2009.

Economic Optimism Declines Across Demographic Groups

While upper-income Americans remain more optimistic than their lower- and middle-income counterparts, optimism among both groups declined substantially in March. Despite Wall Street's strong first quarter performance, the percentage of upper-income Americans saying the economy is getting better fell to 41% in March from 50% in January, leaving it at the same level as a year ago. Lower- and middle-income Americans' economic optimism also fell in March, to 32%, from 40% in January.

Percentage Saying Economy Is Getting Better, by Income, January 2008-March 2011 TrendOptimism about the future of the economy declined across all political parties during the first quarter. Democrats remain the most optimistic, with 45% saying things are getting better, but this is down from 55% in January and 52% a year ago. Independents' economic optimism is at 31% and Republicans' at 21% -- both down from January.


Americans of all ages also became less optimistic about the economy in March. Young adults continue to be much more optimistic, however, than do older Americans.

Percentage Saying Economy Is Getting Better, by Age, January 2008-March 2011 Trend

Gallup's self-evident conclusion:

Even as economic adversity seems to mount, the U.S. commodity and equity markets remain near their highs for the year. Surging oil and commodity prices mean higher profits for many companies and investors. Further, a weak U.S. economy suggests the Federal Reserve will continue its easing policies despite some tightening in Europe. While the weakening of the global economy may not be good for U.S. exports, the declining U.S. dollar may moderate the negative impact on many U.S. exporters and their stock values.

On the other hand, American consumers face several major challenges. Soaring gas and food prices not only reduce disposable income but also discourage additional spending as the cost of necessities increases. Global events, continued political battles about the budget in the nation's capital, and a weak, if modestly improving job market add to consumer uncertainties. As a result, it is not surprising that consumer confidence plummets even as Wall Street continues to do well.

However, if consumers continue to lack confidence and spending doesn't increase, it is hard to see how the U.S. economy can continue its modest improvement. In turn, it would seem Wall Street and Main Street will have to align at some point going forward. Either Wall Street will prove right and economic conditions on Main Street will improve or the reverse will prove to be the case.

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ivars's picture

Wealth effect (DJIA) will be gone in about 2 months or so-back to pre QE2 levels:

Obummer's picture

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Americans, good people of the world.  Tonight I would like to spend some time with you to address the role my administration has taken since the financial crisis to bring our economy back from the brink of certain destruction.  This is a success story, clear and simple.

Like other Americans some of the things I hold most dear include a healthy economy, fair business rules, and a financial environment that strongly encourages entrepreneurship and good old-fashioned American know-how. America has the most business-friendly environment on the earth. That has not changed since the financial crisis hit hard in 2008. It will not change in the coming months, I promise you that.

Some Americans look at our recovering economy and wonder if we could go back into recession.  But folks, a recession can not happen here. Our financial system is safe and sound. Our regulations are much stronger than they were in 2008.  My administration, working with our friends in business and on Wall Street, has seen to that. We have engaged with leaders from Main Street to ensure that they are heard. The dollar is strong and sound thanks to our efforts at value deflation. And, finally, American ingenuity will solve all problems thrown our way. America is still that shining light on the hill.

Much talk has been made about banker bonuses and bail-outs. Let me be clear that such talk is a clear threat to our standards of democracy, human values, and American decency.  For behind those who wish to take a man's reward for hard work are the very terrorists we have been fighting against for so long.  And now these terrorist organizations have infiltrated the very heart of America, and are in our living rooms and bedrooms even as I speak.  Rest assured that I will do everything in my power as President of this great nation to repel this threat to our freedoms, and that in the coming months we shall take decisive action against this new menace to our financial stability and to our Constitution.  Thank you, good night, and God bless America.

NOTW777's picture

hope and change

most ethical admin ever - nancy

unwashedmass's picture


the mistake this article makes is thinking that Wall Street gives a flying fuck about how Main Street is doing.....

what they care about is draining every last dime from the peasantry that they can....

then, they will move some other population and destroy them.

cramers_tears's picture

Obummer... Stop It!!!  You're scaring me!!!

mogul rider's picture

Yes we can!!


We now know who the "we" was he was talking about

Michael's picture

Are they actually pricing in an end of QE2 debt monetization and selling off commodities? How quaint.

Corn1945's picture

Wall Street doesn't fucking care what happens to "Main Street." They are totally insulated from the consequences of their own bad bets. The country could be a flaming ruin and the government would extract just enough from the starving peasants to keep Wall Street alive.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

I like your Avatar - where did you lift it?

Grappa's picture

Just have to comment here, that they are not completely insulated from the consequences as long as they live and "work" in this country. If law enforcement is impossible by the goverment and everyone related, then the people can do this instead. 

vote_libertarian_party's picture

So it's good news because people will be so depressed they will buy i-thingys.


Yeh, that's the ticket.

RobotTrader's picture


Imploding consumer confidence


Fire up the rumor mill about mergers, takeovers, etc.

IdiotInvestor2's picture

I lost a bunch of money on TYC during the dot com bust. Thought I was diversifying ! It gave me some solace to see that bastard behind bars. Not too long ago, justice was served in USA.

The situation is very different today. Look at Angelo Mozilo. Settled his case.  Why wouldn't the optimism in US be down ?

Cleanclog's picture

Does it matter? As Joseph Stiglitz recently wrote for Vanity Fair, the upper 1% of Americans make more than 25% of the annual income every year and control about 40% of American wealth. In the past 10 years, their incomes have gone up 18% while the middle class has seen their incomes decline. That is just the upper 1%.

Dump the Charitable Contribution Deduction maybe?

hedgeless_horseman's picture would seem Wall Street and Main Street will have to align at some point going forward...

I don't see why.  Earnings?  LOL! 

BKbroiler's picture

careful, if you touch the top 1% it makes you socialist. What we really need to do is get rid of Medicaid and Medicare and lower the top tax rate to 25%, that way McDonalds employees pay the same as Bill Gates and the old people can beg in the streets.  That's the only fair solution I can think of.

/saracasm off

LowProfile's picture

and if you take away their tax/regulation/corporate advantages it makes you capitalist.

topcallingtroll's picture

Low corporate taxes and a simplified flat tax improves economic growth and everyone could benefit. It doesnt nevessarily worsen the income gap. Singapore is an economic.powerhouse.

BKbroiler's picture

really?  Singapore is your example?  You should be caned. The flat tax argument is just as bogus as the anti-minimum wage argument, and both are held strictly by those who have never held minimum wage jobs or been in a low tax bracket.  Please.

"The truth is that virtually any flat-rate tax plan that adds up must, by simple arithmetic, produce huge tax cuts for those with the highest incomes and therefore big tax increases on almost everyone else"


BKbroiler's picture


"While corporate profits have increased, the wages of Singaporean workers, except for those at the higher end, have barely budged in real terms."

....Singapore. retard.  I almost chocked on my falafel reading that nonsense.


Hephasteus's picture

The average person can't be given enough debt tickets to put the world into service to them. They would want stupid peaceful things. Not machine guns or 8 barrel cannons the size of volkswaggens. They would also not want renewable energy where they spend every weekend cleaning their solar cells and checking the specific gravity of their batteries while the governments burn the rest of easy free energy as oil. You can't run things unless you are "creating jobs" which means you are creating all the tools and resources necessary to control and manipulate.

Now if you'd like higher taxes please text no to 1-888-FUCK-YOU

If you wouldn't like higher taxes please text yest to 1-888-FUCK-YOU.

Texting costs 25.99. We have TRUE democracy now.

Use our happy birthday package. It's only 14.99. We'll activate her cell phone camera and makes sure she isn't asleep or presently being beaten by someone at the rest home. Once she is awake we'll deliver all your text messages for best wishes to her phone and if you can't afford the entire 14.99 we have easy pay with only 3 monthly payements of 6.99. If grandma's phone is jailbroken we'll imprison her for 3 months instead.

BKbroiler's picture

I couldn't parse one coherent thought out of that entire post.  It's as if a random word generator was fed through an idiots vocabulary and converted to text with absolutely no regard for the phenomenal waste of time reading it would turn out to be.  I feel cheated of 30 seconds of my life. I can only quote Billy Madison game show host and say that "we are all stupider for having heard that."

Cleanclog's picture

Must confess I like the concept of a graduated flat tax.  Everyone pays in, but the percentage of what they pay off income increases with greater income.  But no deductions.  No mortgage, no charitable, no business subscriptions or membership dues.  Simple % of income.  

You seek a mortgage because you want the physical shelter over your head without a landlord, and can afford the payments but don't have enough cash for outright purchase, not as a tax shelter.  You believe home values will appreciate or won't. You don't expect to move for at least 5 years.  Otherwise you rent.  

You make a charitable contribution because you can - you want to do something good and you can afford to.

You buy subscriptions to WSJ and Economist and donate to ZH because you benefit from reading them.  Your understanding of the business climate is enhanced. You belong to club because encountering others or working out or eating at the clubs is something you enjoy or it advances your business - not because it defrays your taxes.  

The police, military, infrastructure etc. . . still need to be paid for.

BKbroiler's picture

no, no, no.  You "must confess you like the concept" because you know it's some pretty unfair shit to do but would save you money, or at least make you feel better knowing others have the same burden.  Buying vs renting isn't a hedonic choice, either.  If you're wealthy there are few reasons and few places nationwide were it makes more sense to rent.  

"You belong to club because encountering others or working out or eating at the clubs is something you enjoy"

I think that basically sums it up.  You belong to exclusive social clubs that further your business interest and confess to fellow socialites how you "like the concept of a graduate tax."

Fuck yall.


Cleanclog's picture

Aw shucks BK.  It's not a graduate tax.  That's for the Ivy elites.  It's a graduated tax - something like income of $10K pays 0.5%, income of $50K pays 3%, income of $75K pays 6%, Y of $100K pays 10%, 200K 15%, 400K 20%, 600K 25%, 1mil 30%, 5mil 35% 10 mil 40%, 25 mil 50% etc. Not ready to defend what proper percentage or threshold changes should be - just saying such a system would garner more participation, greater sense of "fairness", and get rid of a lot of stale, politically motivated, deductions that do not serve the economy.

slewie the pi-rat's picture


clog, i think the idea of the negative income tax takes precedent.  we must start sending goobermint employees packing.  not figure out ways to keep fattening them at our expense.  oh!  we must agre on a budget!   bullshit!  we must agree to sending the deadbeats home.  

when people file, if winning, they pay,  if losing, they get snap + whatever little else, depending ON THE IRS FILING! 

this gets rid of oceans of "social workers" in the states, too, who are probably now getting to Feb's apps.  this is insane! 

you give me the negative, tax, i'll give you something along what you want, AS LONG AS IT WORKS. 

rearranging the deck chairs is no longer cool, imv, clog.  i consider this a secondary issue.  OMG!  how can we do this?  get rid of the fukin goobermint.  about 60%.  really.  i don't know what they'll do.  i don't care.  they didn't seem too concerned when others were becoming homeless and millions of private economy jobs vaporized. 

so i make posts like below. 

lol.  after the 1st month, in the 2nd we could end the FED. 

we need a huge freaking attitude adjustment, friend.  we don't work for these shitheads.  they work for us.  believe it.  live it.  fight for it.  fight club.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

by Cleanclog, on Tue, 04/12/2011 - 19:55 #1163460

Aw shucks BK. It's not a graduate tax. That's for the Ivy elites. It's a graduated tax - something like income of $10K pays 0.5%, income of $50K pays 3%, income of $75K pays 6%, Y of $100K pays 10%, 200K 15%, 400K 20%, 600K 25%, 1mil 30%, 5mil 35% 10 mil 40%, 25 mil 50% etc

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I wonder if 'economic genius' above recognizes disincentives when he sees them?

Does this economic genius recognize that today, the 'rich' pay a disproportionate amount already? Does he? (or she)

And just who defines this greater sense of "fairness" it speaks about ... flat tax, bastards - make more simply PAY MORE without debilitating economic disincentives!

I feel like I'm addressing members of congress ...




BKbroiler's picture

way to try and make a point over a typo, jackass.  Your "greater sense of fairness" is a joke.  You playing 18 holes of golf instead of 36 is not the same as getting half as many food stamps, if you can process that analogy without taking it verbatim.  Your ideologies fail outside of your social club, which is why you're shit scared of letting others compete via a fair, progressive tax system like exists in most developed countries.  Keep looking over your shoulder, future's catching up.  

slewie the pi-rat's picture

very well said.  fuk the flat tax!

i'm not all too happy that crazed psychos are determining what we talk about, tho. 

not you.  lol!   the assholes who run the flat tax up the flagpole and salute it while stealing us fuking blind. 

let's just send 25% of federal "emplyees" home next month, stop "corporate personhood" in the political processes, institute the negative income tax, and enjoy the coffee!

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Alright -


All in favor of GRADUATED income taxes raise your check-signing hand and repeat after me:

I hereby declare that my ownership of property or my of ownership wealth, or my ability to earn a wage or otherwise earn some recompense for my work, both intellectual and physical, may be subject now or at anytime in the future to seizure, confiscation or nationalization by TPTB through the local, state and federal governments in existence at that time ... without any regard for property laws or of said citizens being free and sovereign ... I do hereby attest that I make this oath of sound mind and body and furthermore do swear allegiance to the powers that be (TPTB) for the purposes of governance and taxation.

So it has been spoken.

So shall it be done ...



AccreditedEYE's picture

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the stock market used to reflect the state of the populace. Sad days indeed...

slewie the pi-rat's picture

why?  buck up, bro/sis!  the stock market got "securitized", the structure of the human auction market and two kinds of membership licenses, one for market makers, was abandoned, new! digital design!  and gigundafreaking liquid sale!  good for them! 

now, stick w/ the real.  real money.  real home.  real transportation.  real insurance.  real security.  real simple.

lol!  ya either have an "eye" for it, or ya don't!  got PMs? 

IdiotInvestor2's picture

Wall Street and Main Street may not have to align if the gap between rich and poor keeps increasing. Fed can keep distributing free money, which gets used to bid every f*cking asset higher. Share holders are happy, executives with stock compensation are happy and to celebrate their happiness, they fire a few more people boosting bottom line.

It's not impossible for this to happen is it ? I mean it has been happening all along, so without a revolution, this can go on forever.

LowProfile's picture

Until earnings collapse, and corp debt can't be paid...

Cleanclog's picture

No prob.  They just governmentize that private debt.  It is really all the same to the elite elected (paid into office for and by lobbyists and corporate and occasional union interests) and the leaders of industry leaders (CEOs CFOs Union chiefs).  They just trade places and reap their rewards.  

Never mind the peon's problems. More debt, more monetization, no one can stop the game.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

clog:  take care of #1.  you are in charge of you.  stopping the game?  no.

getting yerself outa it, away from it, clear of it, and still BE you?  yes.

Hansel's picture

"this can go on forever"

Seems that way.  And the best asset classes to buy are the ones with "inelastic demand," like oil and food.  Inelastic demand is just bullshit code for "we can take these prices much much higher."

SheepDog-One's picture

I dont believe they can take prices much much higher at all. For everyone yapping about $7 gas, the oil industry reported today that demand has fallen at $3.65 national average. Bankrupt people cant afford higher prices no matter how high you raise them.

SofaPapa's picture

I'm reminded of an old co-worker of mine.  "No matter how many times I cut this, it is still too short!"  Not a bad metaphor for the last 30 years, actually...

mdwagner's picture

Wall St. and Main St. are two separate economies.  The rich don't need us anymore.

Alea Iacta Est's picture



Welcome to the REAL world, Neo.

Cdad's picture

Wait...huh?  I just got all bulled up and bought Netflix and Lulu?  WFT?

SheepDog-One's picture

DANG me too! $9 bland burritos in front of Netflix TV in your new $300 leotard outfit FTW!

TraderMark's picture

March deficit $188B

6 month total now $829B

Annual pace over $1.6T - or 11% of GDP

QE(n) me.

Bam_Man's picture

"They" are not "confident" because they fail to realize just how good they have it.

zaknick's picture

When the hell does Apocalypse Now: Amerikkka begin?? Got my popcorn, drink and a comfy view... lets get this collapse on the road, bitches!

ivars's picture

Today USD, stocks ,Oil,  PM all falling at the same time. Unusual.