Malaise (pronounced mal-aze) is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, an "out of sorts" feeling, often the first indication of an infection or other disease. Malaise is often defined in medicinal research as a "general feeling of being unwell". The term is also often used figuratively in other contexts; for example, "economic malaise" refers to an economy that is stagnant or in recession.

- Wikipedia

President Jimmy Carter in a 1979 speech got into trouble when he said the country was in a "national malaise." In reality, he didn't use the word "malaise," but this was a difficult time for America and most realistic people would have privately agreed with his assessment of the national mood. Times were not unlike they are now: economic stagnation, foreign policy frustrations, legislative gridlock. But this is America, you just can't come out and speak your mind, especially if you are the president, because you will have your words turned against you in the next election, if not before.

This period was probably the worst economic time until the last two years. Inflation was high, the energy crisis was frustrating people, and the Iran Hostage situation had not yet started. In researching this quote, I read most of the remarkable speech he gave. It was concerned and honest. He should have known better. Here's one paragraph:

Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy. As a people we know our past and we are proud of it. Our progress has been part of the living history of America, even the world. We always believed that we were part of a great movement of humanity itself called democracy, involved in the search for freedom, and that belief has always strengthened us in our purpose. But just as we are losing our confidence in the future, we are also beginning to close the door on our past.

The word "malaise" came to mind when thinking of the stock market as well as the current national mood. Since The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed above 10,000 in October, it has risen above or fallen below it seven more times. The economy seems to be gradually improving, but not enough to get investors interested. Being an optimist, I believe the stock market and the economy will shake off the malaise and rise again, but who knows when.

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