Has there ever been a time in history when fewer people could tell whether times were good or bad?
Take the economy. On the same television program one expert will be all bulgy-eyed because we are on the verge of a great depression, while another will point out we have turned the corner and are getting rosy with prosperity. No one seems to know, and it leaves us with the horrible feeling that we are already in whichever condition we are supposed to be approaching.
Experts say the recent election was no disapproval of President Reagan's course. But House Majority Leader Rep. Jim Wright says the government has to take some firm and decisive action, presumably to save an economy which is already in good shape. He says the United States can sell offshore oil leases to bail out the social security system, which of course isn't in trouble.
Maybe the modern sign of prosperity is when the stock market goes up faster than unemployment.
The administration in Washington is becoming increasingly aware that its foreign policy should have more clout. But it doesn't know how to enforce a clouty foreign policy and still keep it acceptably wishy-washy.
Any number of political prophets have decided Ronald Reagan will not seek a second term. On the other hand, Sen. Paul Laxalt has been appointed to head up the GOP, and he says he would not have taken the job if we weren't sure Ronald Reagan was going to run again. And no one seems to be very sure which way would be considered good news.
Whether times are good or bad perhaps can be determined when the administration becomes more seasoned. What would make it more seasoned would be to have more pepper. Not necessarily Claude Pepper. But if it does need more Pepper, it certainly doesn't Laxalt.
Please excuse the punditry. All this uncertainty makes us go for the jocular vein.