Despite storms, wildfires, quakes, higher gas prices, and failed Washington policies, Americans are - according to The University of Michigan - their most confident since January 2004.
But we think it's clear what is driving the optimism... total delusion!
Americans have never been more confident that that stock market will rally further in the next 12 months...
And despite the fact half of America lives paycheck to paycheck, they have never, ever, been more confident of retiring comfortably...
Additionally, inflation expectactions - both short- and medium-term - tumbled in October.
Expectation for income growth soared to their highest since 2006!
As UMich notes, consumer sentiment surged in early October, reaching its highest level since the start of 2004. The October gain was broadly shared, occurring among all age and income subgroups and across all partisan viewpoints.
There is an unmistakable sense among consumers that economic prospects are now about as good as could be expected.
This "as good as it gets" outlook is supported by a moderation in the expected pace of growth in both personal finances and the overall economy, accompanied by a growing sense that, even with this moderation, it would still mean the continuation of good economic times.
Although such an outlook is typically recorded in the late phase of an expansion, its occurrence is independent of the ultimate length of an expansion. Indeed, nothing in the latest survey indicates that consumers anticipate an economic downturn anytime soon - which contrarians may consider a clear warning sign of trouble ahead.
Nonetheless, consumers anticipate low unemployment, low inflation, small increases in interest rates, and most importantly, modest income gains in the year ahead. It is this acceptance of lackluster growth rates in personal income and in the overall economy that signifies that consumers have accepted, however reluctantly, limits on the pace of improving prospects for living standards.
The data indicate a robust outlook for consumer spending that extends the current expansion to at least mid 2018, which would mark the 2nd longest expansion since the mid 1800's.