Give us back our confidence, Messiah!

Mr. Obama finds himself the leader of a nation with depleted confidence in all sorts of institutions of American life, from the banks and auto industry to government and the news media. America’s very place in the world seems in doubt to some, as China and Russia push to create a new international currency to replace the dollar and others challenge the nation’s economic, military and cultural dominance…

Some economists dismiss the importance of confidence at a time when so many pillars of the system remain broken. “That’s not going to fix it,” said Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland. “The economy got bad and the people lost their confidence, not the reverse. People getting their confidence back is not going to restore banks to solvency or consumer demand.”

The problem, Dr. Morici added, “is not confidence; it’s substance.”