Which helps explain why, despite his setbacks, Baker remains an optimist.
But also a realist. To blunt the pain of higher gasoline prices, for example, he's invested in a Toyota Prius for the long run. His home's value has tumbled. And while it's still worth more than he paid for it about 13 years ago, Baker hardly expects its value to soar in coming years.
He's confident his business will thrive â¿¿ if the construction industry can sustain its gradual recovery and if employers eventually start hiring as freely as they did before the Great Recession struck nearly five years ago.
"My wish for America is to get out of any recession or depression and go positive," Baker says. "Let people have jobs again."___ To watch video of Baker and for more on this topic, go to: http://bigstory.ap.org/topic/mood-of-the-nation