The last comparable Fourth of July was probably in 1980, when there was a recession, skyrocketing petrol prices and an Iranian hostage crisis, with 53 Americans being held in Tehran.
Frank Luntz, perhaps America’s pre-eminent pollster, argues that his countrymen are much more downbeat now than in 1980. “The assumption with the Carter years was that it was a failure of the elites, not the system. We thought the people in charge screwed up. We didn’t blame ourselves.” Remarkably, many Americans think things will only get worse and the good times will never return.