Monday, August 8, 2011

Public opinion of Congress at historic low

We're all aware of the recent talks about the debt ceiling in this country and how polarizing these talks have become.  What's surprising is that somehow Americans have come together to reach an overwhelming consensus: We're unhappy with Congress.


A recent New York Times/CBS poll revealed that 82% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress has done.  This is the highest percentage in the history of the poll, which dates back to 1977.


As originally reported by the New York Times: "More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt-ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country." (read the rest of the original article here)


These are scary economic times, indeed, and many people fear another recession on the horizon for this country.  What makes it all the more frustrating, I believe, is that most of us can't wrap our heads around what's really going on and how it should be fixed.  This is, of course, why we elect leaders - to work toward solving problems we can't.  But people are becoming more and more frustrated and disenchanted with the way Congress is handling this problem, politicizing potential solutions and using them to strengthen each party's agenda.  It is incredibly disheartening; we elect our leaders to show vision for the future, not to spend time divvying up blame and credit for the past.


Among other interesting findings in the poll was this: 63% of Americans believe that households with an annual income of at least $250,000 should see increased taxes to lower the deficit.  This is an interesting development, as nearly two out of every three Americans think that those fortunate enough to be blessed with more should consequently give more back to their country.


I'm not sure any of us knows an easy answer, or that one even exists.  But one thing is certain: It's time our leaders in Congress stop bickering and have an intelligent, sensible conversation about where we are, how we got here, and we're going to go from here.  

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