In "The Bursting Point", his op-ed column in the September 4 New York Times, David Brooks asserts that "confidence in civic institutions is plummeting ". He tells us that the "national humiliation" arising from Katrina and its aftermath "comes at the end of string of confidence-shaking institutional failures that have cumulatively changed the nation's psyche ". Brooks writes that each such failure " is another blow to national morale " and that "[t]he sour mood builds on itself, the outraged and defensive reaction to one event serving as the emotional groundwork for the next ".
"As a result, it is beginning to feel a bit like the 1970's, another decade in which people lost faith in their institutions and lost a sense of confidence about the future. "
I think Mr. Brooks spends way too much time in Washington D. C. and in New York City. But I also think his views are typical of many elite opinion leaders in the USA.
I do not believe that this is the sort of commentary that accompanies bull market tops. My conclusion: the long term trend in stock prices remains upward - stay long!