"We have too many people in government who have made it their career to be in government," he says. "And they don't seem to be in it for the country. They seem to be in it for themselves or their party."

He isn't looking for the government to help restore his financial security. He says he'll keep working hard and hope for the best.

It's an impulse rooted in American culture, he says.

"What made our country great," Arvin says, "was people sucking it up, working hard and being energized to go in a direction because they could believe in their dreams and know their dreams were possible because they believed in themselves."

One way he thinks he may realize that dream is with an invention he hopes catches fire: A makeup case Arvin decided to design after noticing how powder from his wife's compact case would spill.

His wife is trying to turn the cases into a business. He says she's sold hundreds of them at trade shows and on eBay. And Arvin is seeking a patent for his design.

"Maybe this will take off," he says. "Who knows? But you just have to keep trying and not give up. That's the American way."

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To watch video of Arvin and for more on this topic, go to: http://bigstory.ap.org/topic/mood-of-the-nation

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