(This is a guest post from the author’s blog.)
Back during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase that Clinton campaign officials used to keep the focus on the troubled U.S. economy. The truth is that Americans as a whole care about very few things more than their own economic well being, and by keeping the debate focused on economic issues, Clinton was able to defeat George H. W. Bush. Nearly 20 years later, that slogan is as true today as it ever has been. The American people care dearly about their own wallets and bank accounts. With the economy tanking badly and with unemployment at very high levels, dissatisfaction with the U.S. government is at record highs. In fact, according to a newly released poll by Pew Research centre, just 22% of Americans believe that they can trust the government in Washington almost always or most of the time. Nearly half of the respondents said that the government has a negative effect on their daily lives. Only 25% of those responding expressed a favourable opinion of Congress, which was the lowest favourable rating for Congress in a quarter century of Pew Research centre surveys.
So why are the American people so angry and frustrated with their government?
It’s the economy, stupid.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their homes, and millions more Americans are on the verge of losing their jobs and homes.
There are approximately 5.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening. RealtyTrac projects that there will be 4.5 million home foreclosures in 2010. The economic nightmare just keeps going from bad to worse.
The result is a massive horde of pissed off American voters.
As long as Americans are fat and happy and their wallets are full, most of them really could care less how involved the government is in their lives. But when things go bad economically, all of a sudden the government becomes a major annoyance.
And this is not a Republican v. Democrat thing either. The truth is that both parties have been radically expanding the size of the U.S. government for decades. Both parties have been spending taxpayer money like there is no tomorrow. Both parties have mortgaged the future of America to please their constituents. Now average Americans from both parties are alarmed at how large the government has become and how badly it is screwing things up. Just consider the following quote from USAToday.com….
“The government’s been lying to people for years. Politicians make promises to get elected, and when they get elected, they don’t follow through,” says Cindy Wanto, 57, a registered Democrat from Pennsylvania who joined several thousand for a rally in Washington on April 15 — the tax filing deadline. “There’s too much government in my business. It was a problem before Obama, but he’s certainly not helping fix it.”
If he wants to get re-elected, the best thing that Barack Obama could do to get votes would be to get the U.S. government to spend as much money as humanly possible in a last ditch attempt to stimulate the U.S. economy with a flood of paper money. That might work just long enough to get re-elected and buy himself another four years in the White House. Of course that strategy would also likely create hyperinflation and would make the long-term financial problems of the U.S. government far, far worse.
But unless the American people start feeling a lot better about the economy, they are not going to look too kindly on anyone who is currently holding office either in 2010 or in 2012.
Meanwhile, playing politics is more profitable than it ever has been.
Barack Obama and his wife Michelle raked in a cool 5.5 million dollars in 2009.
Sarah Palin has earned approximately 12 million dollars since last July.
According to Forbes magazine, Glenn Beck made 32 million dollars in the 12 months ending March 1st.
Politicians may not be very popular these days, but it sure is a profitable racket if you can get into the club.
Republicans make a ton of money convincing millions of Americans that the Democrats are the cause of all the problems that they are experiencing. Democrats make a ton of money convincing millions of Americans that that Republicans are the cause of all the problems that they are experiencing. Meanwhile, both parties continue to pile up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and continue to sell out the future of our children and our grandchildren.
Neither party seems interested in addressing the root causes of our national financial nightmare. Instead, politicians from both parties seem to think that they can keep making all kinds of promises to get elected and then never delivering on them.
Well, the American people are starting to wake up to all of this nonsense. Tens of millions of Americans are experiencing extreme financial pain and they are looking for answers.
Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is going to get a whole lot worse, and very few of the politicians in Washington have the guts to tell the American people the truth.
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