I have recently been more personally privy to the side of this economic downturn most affecting unemployment and welfare recipients. There seems to be a very prominent attitude of disgust toward the rich, anger toward the government, and helplessness. My husband, who is a solo-attorney, has been contacted an uncountable number of times from potential clients seeking things like "free counsel" on how to make "work-related" injuries seem worse so that benefits will be further extended. I have also been wrongly accused of "not having to worry" because my husband is a lawyer, so we "must be rich."
Most of the country is blissfully unaware of the fact that financial difficulty is hitting nearly everyone, and does not exclude the independent professionals who are likely still paying back exorbitant educational loans (doctors, dentists, etc).
I think America was in a position of spoiled-brattism (if you'll permit the term) in many ways, just before this economic crisis hit. We are no where near the crisis levels of the Great Depression, yet our media and society would have us think this is exactly where are at or are headed. Unfortunately, the America of 1929 was much more prepared to handle it. Families and communities were stronger, the church was stronger (as a social welfare outlet, even), and people generally expected less.
For many people, this has been a forced opportunity to change our perspective about "wants" vs. "needs." I'm not sure, however, that the idea is catching on completely.