We’re there, much earlier in Obama’s term than under Carter:
U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops to Three-Decade Low Amid Economic Headwinds
Confidence among U.S. consumers plunged in August to the lowest level since May 1980, adding to concern that weak employment gains and volatility in the stock market will prompt households to retrench.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment slumped to 54.9 from 63.7 the prior month. The gauge was projected to decline to 62, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.
The biggest one-week slump in stocks since 2008 and the threat of default on the nation’s debt may have exacerbated consumers’ concerns as unemployment hovers above 9 percent and companies are hesitant to hire. Rising pessimism poses a risk household spending will cool further, hindering a recovery that Federal Reserve policy makers said this week was already advancing “considerably slower” than projected.
“The mood is very depressed,” said Chris Christopher, an economist at IHS Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. “Consumers are very fatigued and very uncertain. In the short term, people are going to pull back on spending.”
A review of 1980 data at the related web site indicates that the values from March through June of that year were 56.5, 52.7, 51.7, and 58.7 — an average of 54.9, exactly where the August 2011 number came in.
I blame Bush, Republicans, and the Tea Party (/sarc).
As to the Carter comparison, I don’t think we’re going to be that “lucky.”