Economic growth is pitiful. Unemployment has topped 8 percent for an exhausting 43 months. The nation is careering toward a so-called fiscal cliff, and maybe a recession.
So why is the Dow Jones industrial average, that trusty gauge of corporate America's strength, just 4 percent shy of an all-time record? And why are the smaller public companies measured by the Russell 2000 index almost there already?
Start with two words: Ben Bernanke.