Not to rain on President Obama's parade, but the American people (at least the current crop) do not weather hardship well. The difference between us and our forebears from the 1930's is that they never had it all that good to start with, so the Great Depression represented, for them, a more severe degree of personal restraint, not a quantum contraction of lifestyle as our current situation demands.
Our history of living high on the credit hog, those big fat cars and houses we really couldn't afford, the flat-screen TVs, the travel, the dining out, are all too vivid in our recent memory. We got used to the taste of prosperity, even if it was just a chimera. We want it back, pronto. A few more months of denial, and we're going to forget that the crash happened on George W. Bush's watch. All we'll think about is that Obama seems to be spinning his wheels at a furious pace, but we're no closer to moving back into our mcmansions.
That'll be right around when things start heating up for the off-year Congressional elections, and the Republicans will be more than happy to point out how little progress we will have made under an all-Democrat government.
How did it all begin? Heck, who will be able to remember that far back?