From my latest NYT column, here is one excerpt:
During the financial crisis, the prices of stocks, homes and other assets all fell, leaving the American public feeling less wealthy. In fact, the Federal Reserve reported last week that the crisis had erased almost two decades of accumulated prosperity for a typical family. The American economy and its financial system failed a giant stress test, at least when compared with previous expectations. Feeding the fears today are the crisis in the euro zone, the slowdown in China and political polarization at home.
In short, there is a prevailing sense that we are simply not as safe, financially speaking, as we used to be. The productive capacity of the economy may appear largely intact, but the perceived risk is significantly higher.