Well. Uwe Reinhardt highlights retirement income data to challenge this idea.
Meanwhile, just a few minutes on the Intertubes this morning yielded these items of interest:
Recession was deeper than government previously thought
How the older half lives
How bad is Nevada?
So, (1) the economy continues to suck; (2) fewer people are saving for retirement, more of the aged are living alone and there will be more aged and alone people in the future, a majority of whom depend on government Social Security for their income and (3) the economy continues to suck, and this "republic of property owners" contains a lot of property without owners.
So, yeah, great "culture of independence" you got there. At least the top quintile is doing pretty well, and they're the group Barone hangs around with and thinks about.
On a more positive note, early returns on the much derided government directed automaker bailouts are good:
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, was asked if the administration was in effect saying “we told you so” to conservative critics like Rush Limbaugh who have continued to denounce the auto bailout.
Some wanted to walk away, Mr. Gibbs said. But he added, “The president didn’t think that walking away from a million jobs in these communities made a lot of economic sense.”
Barone needs to get out more.