Saturday, March 01, 2014

A Snapshot of America: Not A Pretty Picture


12.9%. That's the average approval rating for the United States Congress. That means 87.1% of Americans think that Congress is continuing to do an unacceptable job---a pox on both houses by the voting public apparently. Actually, that rating, which comes from Real Clear Politics, is the average of several polls, ranging from a high of 14% to a low of 10%. Gallup, for instance, gives an approval rating of 13% according to their most recent poll from January 2014. So, who do you want to blame---the Democrats or Republicans?

Well, according to PollingReport.com, through the middle of February 2014, Democrats had an approval rating of 33% with a disapproval rating of 60%. Not exactly stellar. Not to be outdone, the Grand Ole Party had an approval rating of just 22% for the same period and a disapproval rating of 72%. Nothing like an old fashion race to the bottom is there? Meanwhile, President Obama has disapproval rating of a whopping 56% for the end of February. So much for his "year of action" so far. PollingReport.com also reported that as of the end of February, 63% of Americans thought that the country was headed in the wrong direction while only 32% thought we were headed down the right road (no doubt many of those are in the hand basket business). Interestingly, that majority has been fairly consistent since at least 2012 according to the polling results. So, what's going on here?

The answer is actually quite simple. These numbers merely reflect the huge and deep disconnect between Washington and the American People---the so-called "flyover country" as the Beltway elite like to call us. There's really nothing new here. While we may not have known the numbers, each of us knew it from the increasing price of groceries to conversations while standing in line or at company water cooler. America is divided; deeply so. The question of course should turn to the obvious--what can we do about it, if anything? To answer that, I think we should look at some of the pressing issues such as illegal immigration, Obamacare, the economy, and the divide between the "haves and have nots".

Illegal immigration has been a hot topic since at least George Bush II, although President Ronald Reagan granted the estimated three illegal immigrants then living in this country a "one time only" amnesty in 1986. The result, as predicted, was a tidal wave of new illegal immigrants in the hopes that they too would be granted a "one time only" amnesty. The truth is, they've come very close to it, having been granted instate tuition by some universities (whereas ordinary students are denied), not to mention access to billions of dollars worth of taxpayer based services such as education, housing, medical care, and so forth. Meanwhile, various religious organizations have quite openly ignored federal laws and not only protected illegal immigrants by providing so-called "sanctuary", but actively assisted in finding housing, enrolling in schools, assisting in sidestepping state and federal laws, and finding jobs (which is illegal for a perspective employer). Meanwhile, Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, have bypassed or ignored existing immigration laws. What do the American Public think?

To those in Washington, it really doesn't matter, but for the record, a plurality favors stronger border security and no taxpayer assistance for those here illegally. But, after almost two decades of opposing illegal immigration being ignored by Washington, it appears most Americans have thrown in the towel. According to a recent Christian Science Monitor article, three-fourths of those polled favored allowing illegal immigrants to remain---provided that could meet minimum citizenship requirements, with the majority supporting some form of amnesty being Democrat. As an aside, in another poll, 87% of Americans still favored making English the official national language.

Regarding the economy, according to a CNN/ORC poll from the end of December, 68% thought the economy remained poor with not much hope for the near term. Half of those polled were cutting back on clothes and appliances while 36% were cutting back on food and medicine. Interestingly, according to a poll conducted by Fox in February, a full 58% think the economy is going to get worse yet. Judging by the prices in grocery store, they may well be right. Speaking of medicine, Gallup released a poll for mid-February which indicated that 51% of you did not like Obamacare. But not fret, that's slightly better than the 54% non-approval rating it has been polling, but then again, two-thirds of those polled said that if they knew then what they know now about Obamacare, it never would have passed. That's the thing about actually reading those pesky bills! Can anyone out there say "trust me"?

There's no questioning that in terms of income, there's never been a greater gap between the rich and poor. The middle class as such doesn't really seem to exist anymore. We seem to have the poor, working poor, the slightly better off (what's left of the old middle class), the near rich and rich, and the insanely uber-rich. Ideally, we should look something like an oval or egg on its side with a large middle class, a small poor at the bottom and a small rich at the top. Instead, we look like a figure eight. What then are we to do?

According to a February 4th poll by CNN, some 66% want the government to reduce the income gap (and we all know what a great job the government has done with the economy and healthcare). Of course, most Republicans disapprove of the idea while a majority of Democrats and Independents are in favor. Oddly, those earning more than $100k also agreed that the government should "do something" to reduce the income gap. There's no question that the continuing wage gap, which has thrown more and more Americans in poverty, increasing the likelihood of social unrest, especially coupled with Washington's arrogance toward Mainstreet America and ever closer ties with Wallstreet. Perhaps that's part of the reason for Washington's increased surveillance of its citizens and stockpiling of ammo. Ever wonder if they know something we don't?

While this article simply can't begin to cover all the issues mentioned in further depth, let along other, equally important topics such as the aforementioned "bugging" of America, home values, declining standard of life, crime, infrastructure decline, rising debt (especially for students), educational "dumb down", race relations, attempts to reign in the 2nd Amendment, the declining power of unions and employee associations, and so much more, it is apparent that we, as Americans, are in trouble. Perhaps more than at any other time in our history, though not necessarily as obviously. Gallup reported recently that 81% of Americans either rarely or never trusted the government. Think about that for just a moment. This is a government which is supposed to represent you and I and yet 81% of us can't trust it. You don't have to a rocket scientist...or political scientist to see where that leads. So, I ask you---what are you prepared to do about it...and then what are you prepared to do?


Congressional Job Approval
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html

Congressional Job Approval Starts 2014 at 13%
http://www.gallup.com/poll/166838/congress-job-approval-starts-2014.aspx

Obama Faces 56 Percent Job Disapproval Rating
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/01/obama-approval-rating-poll_n_4881960.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Most in US wouldn't eject illegal immigrants
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2014/0227/Most-in-US-wouldn-t-eject-illegal-immigrants-a-minority-would-OK-citizenship

Fox News Poll: Voters think worse is yet to come on the economy
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/12/fox-news-poll-voters-think-worst-is-yet-to-come-on-economy/

Poll: Majority of Americans want government to reduce income gap
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/05/poll-majority-of-americans-want-government-to-reduce-income-gap/

Pew Poll: United we stand on wealth gap
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/23/pew-poll-obama-wealth-gap-sotu/4777385/

Trust in Government
http://www.gallup.com/poll/5392/trust-government.aspx
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