The PJ Tatler

Most Americans Glad to See the End of 2013

Nearly 70% of Americans believe that 2013 was a “bad” or “very bad” year according to a new poll by Economist/YouGov. How bad was it?

Apparently, it wasn’t as bad as last year. Nor was it as bad as 2008, the year of the financial meltdown.

Still, the numbers tell the story:

Overshadowed by the bungled debut of Obamacare and congressional gridlock, most Americans in a new poll dubbed 2013 a bad year that will be quickly forgotten. For more than four-in-10, the perils of 2013 hit home hard.

“Put simply, most Americans are happy to see 2013 go,” said the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.

— 54 percent called 2013 a “bad year” for the world. Another 15 percent called it a “very bad year,” with just 3 percent calling it a “very good year” and 29 percent a “good year.”

— Only 13 percent of Republicans say 2013 has been a good year for the world.

— Obamacare is a failure. “There are almost no issues where a majority of Americans have seen improvement. Only a quarter say health care coverage is better today than it was a year ago; more than half say it has gotten worse, reflecting the continued poor assessments given to the Administration’s health care reform (in this week’s Economist/YouGov poll, for example, a majority continues to call it a failure, and nearly half think it should be repealed).”

— 41 percent called 2013 a bad or very bad year for their families.

Since I’m pushing 60, I can testify that 2013 doesn’t come close to being a really bad year compared to some others. Any year from the 1970’s beats 2013 hands down for awfulness, except perhaps 1976, which briefly lifted the gloom of the decade as we celebrated America’s 200th birthday.

It didn’t last long. That fall, we elected Jimmy Carter.

The absolute worst year of my lifetime was 1968, and its hard to find someone older than 10 that year who would disagree. Assassinations, riots, and a general feeling that everything was coming apart made that year a hellish one indeed. Coming in a distant second was 1979 with 13% inflation and another energy crisis. For me, it was The Year of Peanut Butter Sandwiches. I couldn’t afford more than 5 gallons of gas at a time, which was lucky because that’s the amount that gas station owners were allowing you to buy. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan and the Iranians took our diplomats hostage. And sitting in the White House was a president who blamed the American people for his incompetence.

In contrast to those two annus horribilis, 2013 was a walk in the park. I suppose your personal financial situation has a lot to do with your outlook on how good a bad a particular year might be. At the moment, things aren’t too bad for me, which doesn’t mean I don’t worry that this time next year I’ll be in a bad way.

We better get used to the uncertainty. We’re living in Obama’s economy now and uncertainty about the future is its defining characteristic.