The Number of Americans Who Feel They Will Be Better off in a Year Is at a Record High

Markets are relatively flat to start off this session-shortened week (thanks to yesterday's holiday), as recent volatility appears to have subsided for the time being. Stock market gains (such as we've seen this year) help to reduce fears quite a bit ... and investors seem to be a bit more relaxed than they were just a short time ago.One of the interesting things I saw in my morning reading of Daily Shot, was the claim (based on a Gallup survey) that household financial optimism "remains robust" ... in fact, the statement was made that with regard to the view of how people think things will be one year out ... the number who feel they will be better off is claimed to be almost at a record high.Of course ... many haven't done their taxes yet. Rumor has it that quite a few will be unpleasantly surprised this tax season. Personally, I can't say ... as I haven't installed my Turbo Tax yet.With regard to consumers there are two competing comments on consumer credit ... which could possibly lead to different conclusions. The Mortgage Banking Association reports that "mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are at multi-year lows" ... but before you get too excited another report (per the NY Fed) shows that delinquent student loans continues to rise and, per one note below, defaults in auto loans just set a record.So will student loan problems and our national debt filter into the U.S. economy? They haven't yet. But many say to give it some time. This indebtedness can't be ignored forever.On a final note for today, it seems that toy manufacturers are finally catching up with mainstream America.There is actually a Barbie doll that is in a wheelchair ... and the last article below correctly concludes that it is a smart move by Mattel ... as while it might not be a top seller ... is just the right thing to do.There is a further rumor that another Barbie might be in the works ... to better capture our present culture ... a divorce Barbie!Yes, physically it is the same Barbie we have known through the years, but there is one major difference in the accessories included with the divorce Barbie.It comes with half of Ken's things.

... as of 11:31 AM today ...The U.S. budget deficit ... is something we discuss for a day or two ... then forget about until another milestone is reached ... but it is big and we are allowing it to get worse ( PBS)... though something else about to get worse is the weather. No, this is not me on climate change pedestal again ... it is just a statement that almost 2/3 of us will feel the effects of an upcoming storm ( USAToday)... yet another storm heading out way looks to be financial. Remember all those easy car loans? A record number is delinquent. Can you imagine what this would look like if employment wasn't so good? ( Axios)A lot of money is being put into driverless vehicles. Yes, they are heading our way and ... by many indications ... will slowly become part of our daily lives ( TheRobotReport)Do you brag about how well you multi-task? Well, you might be kidding yourself ... as not giving full focus on a task at hand could result in quite a few errors ( BBC)Quick ... down on the floor. How many pushups can you do? If 40 or more ... your heart will be quite grateful. I can do 40 ... but doing one at a time means I have to get on the floor 40 times ( FoxNews)... meanwhile, toy manufactures are finally focusing on the desire of customers ... and increasing products. A Barbie doll in a wheelchair? I agree with the author who claims this is long overdue ( CNN)