Citizens lose faith in government
Published: Thursday, October 24th, 2013
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that we citizens are losing what little faith in government we had after the last government partial shutdown fiasco. About 800,000 so-called non-essential government workers were furloughed for three weeks while both political parties tried to make it look as if the other was responsible for the mess.
According to the most recent Gallup poll Oct. 3-6, only 18 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way the nation is being governed, which is down 14 percentage points from the 32 percent recorded last month before the partial government shutdown began. We are surprised that as many as 18 percent are happy with the government being run as it is now. You would think it would be less than that.
This means that 82 percent of us are not satisfied with the way our government is currently functioning, which should be a wakeup call to both political parties and the president. Instead of solving any of our problems, we continue to delay decisions that need to be made to solve them. The term “kicking the can down the road” has become so overused it is getting ridiculous. How many times can we kick that can?
For instance, Congress extended the $16.669 trillion debt ceiling by allowing the Treasury Department to issue as much debt as is needed through Feb. 7 next year. Current spending levels are authorized through Jan. 15. They didn’t even set a limit on the debt Treasury could incur. So until next Feb. 7 any amount of money can be spent, which seems to be a worse solution than we had before. At least we had a debt ceiling before all this occurred. Is the government totally out of fiscal control?
An Oct. 17 article by Annie Lowrey in The New York Times points out that while the government will operate under different rules for the next few months at least, nothing in the new debt law changes the fundamental situation. “The government cannot borrow more than authorized by Congress, which means that the potential for default remains alive.” This makes some sense.
It seems that Congress has no control over the nation’s purse strings anymore because of all of the entitlement programs that keep growing and there seems to be no attempt to root out the waste, fraud and abuse that is so rampant in government today. The so-called debt ceiling means nothing more than a figure that has to be routinely raised to accommodate increased spending. Nothing is ever seriously done about spending cuts, other than talking about them.
In the last go-around, Democrats seem to have gotten most of what they wanted. The president, members of Congress and their staffs will still retain an unbudgeted subsidy to help pay for their cost of Obamacare and the labor unions and big businesses will still get their exemptions from the health bill. The only concession Republicans won is the requirement that the government confirm the income eligibility of people receiving federal subsidies under the health care program, which should have been an essential part of the original bill in the first place.
The latest Gallup poll report says the president’s job approval rating dropped three percentage points from the second quarter this year to the third quarter. It now stands at 44.5 percent which puts him in the middle of the pack from recent presidents during this same time period. It appears the hard core liberal Democrats are still in the president’s camp.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll this past Tuesday shows that members of Congress have only a 12 percent approval rating, which is a new low in 40 years of polling. This is the worst rating since Gallup polls dating back to 1974 when 85 percent of Americans disapproved of the Legislative Branch after a government shutdown. Worse news for incumbents is that 47 percent disapprove of the actions of their own elected representatives with only 43 percent approving of their performance.
With low approval ratings like these, you have to wonder how these figures could possibly get any worse.
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