Saturday, August 13, 2011

Reflections on the Debt Crisis

There is a dark mood over America and its growing. While Congress seems pleased with itself over the passage of the debt ceiling package, those outside the bubble world of Washington's Beltway. aren't so happy. We sat and watched with white knuckles and disbelief at the asinine brinkmanship being played out on our television sets every night. A recent poll revealed much more. Only 10% of Americans are happy with Congress irrespective of political party. Think about that number for just a minute folks. That means that overwhelming majority of us believe that Congress has failed. Revolutions, civil wars, and mass strikes and riots are not uncommon when approval ratings drop below 47%.

There are two points about that number that I find most interesting. The first is that this figure is not a fluke. While the approval rating of the president tends to flux, depending on what he's recently said or done, the approval rating for Congress has remained in the dumpster for some time now. Congress is supposed to the representatives of the people. They are the modern Tribunes. So, what does it say when We the People believe our Tribunes have failed us, and continue to fail us? This leads me to the second point which I am concerned about. Given that "the mob" often take to the streets whenever the approval ratings of their representatives drops below the 50% mark for any length of time, what does that say about and to us? In order to answer both questions, I think the first place to start is to look the poll itself.

The poll was conducted by Fox News between August 9-11, 2011 comprised 904 registered voters. The poll indicated that only 10% thought Congress was doing a good job while 81% disapproved of Congress's job performance. Only one in three said the country was headed in the right direction. 71% said they were not optimistic about the country's economic future. 81% of Republicans, 74% of Independents and 46% of Democrats thought America was in economic trouble.

With respect to the debt agreement, despite the Beltway's backslapping, 52% of us disapproved of the agreement compare to 36% who approved of it. Of that, only 12% felt that the agreement would improve the economy. 50% of those polled said the agreement was "weak" while 28% though it was "terrible" according to the Fox News article. In response to related questions, 74% expressed concern that the federal government will continue to spend more than it takes in. By 3 to 1 margin, the respondents thought Americans were already over taxed. So, taken as a whole. the poll reveals what almost everyone of us already know: The economy is in trouble and we have no leadership.

To avoid the possibility of biased polling data, I decided to check out a recent CNN poll. This poll, which was taken approximately August 4, 2011 revealed that only 14% of the respondents approved of Congress's performance. The article stated that this was only the third since 1974 when CNN began doing polling that the Congressional approval rating fell below 20%. The first was in June 1979, a month before Jimmy Carter gave his infamous "malaise" speech, and the other was in March 1992 during the, again, infamous House banking scandals. The last time CNN conducted a job performance poll of Congress was in January of this year. At that time, Congress had a whooping 22% approval rating. According to Gallup, the recent 10% is the worst in history, with the previous low being 13% in December 2010, however, World Net Daily reported a 9% approval rating in July of 2008, but what's a few percentage points among friends right? The point is that the vast majority of Americans are beyond disgusted with Washington. My question, however, is this: Are Americans sick and tired of being sick and tired with the beltway Crowd, including not just Congress of either political stripe, but also of their corporate paymasters---the lobbyists---the global corporations who pull the strings?

Some 11 years after our invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, we've made little progress. Afghanistan is still crawling with Taliban; the US back government is ripe with corruption and incompetence, amid the changing loyalties of tribal chieftains and government bureaucrats. On the up side, we have severely crippled (but by no means killed) the effectiveness of the Taliban. Al Qaeda has been nearly destroyed, with many of its top tier leaders given a one way ticket to Allah, including bin Laden. Much of its second and third levels have been decapitated as well, but it still remains a dangerous enemy with mutations springing up in far flung places like Kenya and Yemen.

Iraq remains a very unstable nation. The nation is rife with corruption and sporadic violence aimed a destabilizing the country, while Iran waits like a hungry lion to devour its neighbor as soon as we leave, which goes all the more to emphasize our strategic and tactical blunder of invading in the first place. Following the first Gulf War, Hussein was rendered regionally impotent. Yet, he remained strong enough to keep the religious radicals in check. We've seen Moslem citizens rise up against their military backed strongmen with varying results. However, how successful they will be in the long run remains questionable. Meanwhile, the zealots wait in the shadows and pray for weaknesses. The result is an even more volatile Middle East providing the West's oil.

Globally, we've seen not just the increase in radical Islam, but also the spread of Islam through out the world, especially in Europe and the United States. We've seen the delayed reaction of the silent invasion by recent events in Oslo. We've watched a failing global economy, again, most notably in Europe and in America, especially with a credit downgrade and lack of political leadership. Riots are now rampant in London, so known for their passivity because there are no jobs and no money for the government handouts. The Ships of State have no crew, no captain, no rudder and it's out of fuel.

America too is being invaded. This invasion comes in the form of illegal immigrates in search of economic opportunities, not as political or religious refugees. They have no desire to become American Citizens, learn our language or adapt to our values or traditions. As a result, our economic infrastructure has been stretched to the point of collapse. Our Middle Class, once the industrious spine of the American economy, is nearly shattered; its jobs outsourced to our ideological enemies in the sacred name of profit while unions, once the protectors of working class America, are unable or unwilling to do anything more than provide a hollow chorus to their quiet sobs as the American Dream of a home, a decent job, and better times for their children fades from memory. Where have you gone Meany, Chavez and Mary Jones?

When will Americans take matters in their own hands and demand their country back? We are given the illusion of choice each election cycle. The truth is that there is little meaningful differences between the two leading political parties anymore. Both have the same moneyed masters. They are two sides of the same worthless plug nickel. Today, we are caught between three worlds. One bequest to us by our Founding Fathers and the other by those seeking a socialistic enlightenment for the betterment of Mankind. Perhaps the former is too idyllic and distant while the latter is too idealistic, but either are preferable to the third which seeks to enslave us to faceless corporation masters; to create a post-national world of economic serfs. That is the world we increasing live in.

Fox Poll:

CNN Poll:

Gallup Poll History:

World Net Daily:

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