What causes people to think like this? There are a number of reasons, I think:
1. Mental Depression: Despite the fact we are one of the wealthiest (if not the wealthiest) countries in the world**, a lot of people in the USA are depressed. We are over-fed, drink too much, have cheap gas, fancy cars, the latest cell phones, and 500 channels of cable TV, but we still think we have it tough in the USA.2. Externalizing: One way to feel better about yourself is to blame your problems on others. So, if you are unemployed, the reason is "the economy" which is "bad" in your mind, even when it is going well. It's not your fault, right?3. Feels Good to Feel Bad: Let's face it, it is fun sometimes to wallow in your own crapulence. To feel bad is to feel good. Why try hard, when being helpless and a victim is so much easier?4. Commiserating: Misery loves company, and on these comment pages you see a lot of people sharing the "ain't it awful" mindset - and they get pissed off if you try to tell them otherwise! The world is going to hell, buddy, and don't try that Miss Mary Sunshine crap on me! That is their attitude.
5. Pot: People who smoke pot are never happy. Sorry, but it is true. They sit around all day doing bong hits and exchanging idiotic conspiracy theories, complaining about their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives, and bitching about how their boss (or ex-boss) was a jerk. They don't feel optimistic about life - they never do. Smoking pot is a dead-end, but of course, you can't tell them that!
Looking at the world through shit-colored glasses does not give you a realistic view of what is really going on in the world. And as I have noted time and time again, the way to get ahead in the USA is to perceive reality as it really is and thus have a leg-up on the majority of Americans, who live in a fantasy land of perpetual debt and depression.
Depressed people end up making poor financial choices. These are the idiots who are buying gold - convinced the end of the world is nigh (or building bunkers under their homes - and other idiotic investment in the future). Depressed people are the ones who say "fuck the future, I'm buying a jet ski today!" and thus chain themselves to finance payments all their lives.
They do not perceive real opportunities when they exist. They eschew buying a home in 1993, when they were being sold at foreclosure prices. Instead, they buy in 2005, when the market has peaked. Why? Because it takes a mountain of market euphoria to break through their layers of depression. And by the time they do act, it is too late. And their poor choices end up feeding their cycle of depression further. And it never ends.
** One comment I get from Sad Sacks of Shit, when I mention that the USA is the wealthiest country in the world, is some asinine statement like, "Well, per-capita income in Sweden is higher!" But of course, the tax rates in Sweden start at 70% and go up from there. IN REALITY, the USA has provided the highest standard of living for the largest number of people more than any country on the planet, bar none (in the history of the world!). So please, no comments about how the Swiss are doing or some nonsense like that. And frankly, the Swiss and Swedes are not having such of a go of it, these days.