Great column Mark - and a well thought out comment. The previous commenter is right - companies are running scared and hoarding their resources just in case things go south again - kind off like squirrels - hoarding for winter.
Although orders have increased year- over- orders have not returned to pre-recession levels, and by trimming down their work force, and doing more with fewer employees, companies keep the money rolling into their bank accounts..... and staying there.
When we see 2007 order levels return you'll start making the big bucks again - it's the same for most small businesses today, so at least you know you're not alone. When this will happen is anybody's guess, but I'd guess that we have a couple years, at least, before things turn around. And, difficult as it is to say, we may never return to those golden days since they were based on an artificially induced and manipulated reality.
Sorry I can't be more consoling and upbeat, I'm just trying to be a realist - which is hard for me since I'm an optimist by nature. .... Like you :)