Sunday, July 10, 2011
Scary American Stats
Rasmussen Reports maintains a daily presidential tracking poll and, as of Sunday, July 10, President Obama’s Approval Index rating was minus-19. If he wasn’t such a narcissist this might bother him, but one gets the impression he is so convinced of his ability to lie his way out of any situation, that he will continue his present trajectory.
The kabuki dance regarding the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling limit provides a useful insight to the workings of Washington, D.C., and the principles—or lack of them—that drive the Republican and Democratic parties.
Democrats want to raise taxes. Republicans want to cut spending. The latter course of action is the only one that will pull the nation back from the brink of default and insolvency. The U.S. now owes so much interest on what it borrows that economists say it will take a decade just to pay it, let alone address the principal.
Here are some scary stats about America and its citizens that say something about how a great nation has slid into bad habits, bad behavior, and bad judgment :
We have the highest rate of illegal drug use in the world.
We have more reported rapes, murders, and total crimes in the world.
We have the largest prison population of the entire world.
Between December 2000 and 2010, the U.S. ran the largest trade deficit in the world every year, $6.1 trillion dollars. The U.S. has had a negative trade balance every year since 1976.
The U.S. has accumulated the biggest national debt the world has ever seen and it is getting worse, expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.
On Sunday, the tracking poll showed that 21% of voters “Strongly Approve” of the way Obama is running the nation. That’s just short of one-in-four voters and is a fairly constant number reflecting those voters who are (a) too stupid to realize just how much trouble the nation is in, (b) too devoted to Obama to see any flaws, and (c) too committed to the Democratic Party to step back and ask why we are in the midst of a depression.
Why those who analyze and comment on public issues will not call it a depression escapes my understanding. We have unemployment rates that are comparable to those of the 1930s, home foreclosures from coast to coast, and, most importantly, a consumer confidence rate that is in the basement.
All the Democrat talk of “shared sacrifice” is just nonsense, given the fact that the top earners—the millionaires and billionaires—pay the largest amount of the taxes (the top 10% pay 68%) while somewhere close to 40% or more pay no taxes. Rewriting the U.S. tax code would bring everyone closer to actually sharing the burden of providing Washington the revenues politicians routinely waste.
The “social justice” programs of the 1930s and 60s, Social Security and Medicare, need to be fixed or, better still, phased out. It must, of course, be done with regard to a huge population of seniors who paid into these programs, neither of which even comes close to being “voluntary.”
They are about as voluntary as Obamacare’s demand that you buy health insurance even if you don’t want to. Meanwhile, it will continue to wreak havoc on what is arguably the best health system in the world. This might account for why 26 states have joined in a court case against it and why the House has already voted to repeal it. It is the Democrat controlled Senate that is the obstacle.
It also accounts for why 40% of the voters Strongly Disapprove of Obama’s performance in office at this time. The majority of voters are not stupid. Rasmussen reports that “55% of voters nationwide believe that cuts in government spending are good for the economy.” In addition, “54% also believe that raising taxes will hurt the economy.”
What these statistics reveal is that there is a shift in the direction of common sense and an understanding of fundamental economics. It also explains why voters in the 2010 election returned political power in the House to Republicans. What remains to be seen is how many of those newly-minted GOP representatives keep their pledge not to raise taxes.
It is troubling, though, that “Overall, 46% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president’s performance” while “53% at least somewhat disapprove. “Somewhat”? What does it take to get people to look at Obama and see the worst President of the modern era?
Historians will look back at this period and rightly conclude that the nation was politically very sharply divided between liberals and conservatives. Look to the Obama administration to play heavily on the fears of those who believe that their Social Security checks will be cut or not arrive at all. They will suggest all manner of other cuts and changes as well that slow the welfare train. It is classic Chicago-style and Democrat politics that depends on buying votes.
The worst of this is that it is precisely the “redistribution of wealth” that has gotten us to this point along with a housing bubble created by government entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Together they distorted the housing market by providing the mechanism for low-cost loans to people who did not qualify to receive them. Unbelievably, they are still in business.
The stats tell us that it is the slim majority of voters that will determine the future and tucked in among them are the independents upon whom everything depends.
© Alan Caruba, 2011