A growing body of evidence suggests that our current crop of representatives in Washington have, in fact, formed the worst congress… ever.
A new CBS News/New York Times poll last week revealed that 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job – the highest disapproval rating since polling began in 1977. Just 14% approve of Congress' performance.
The poll comes on the heels of a debt-ceiling debate that was fraught with tension and absent of any real solutions.
Prior to the debt deal being passed last week, a USA Today/Gallup Poll in July showed that just 7% of Americans believed their representatives in Washington were negotiating in good faith. And two-thirds of respondents said elected leaders in Congress were putting their own political interests ahead of the country's interests – leaving U.S. taxpayers to suffer.
Sadly, Americans have gotten even more frustrated since a compromise on the debt deal was reached.
The CBS/NYT survey was taken on August 2nd and 3rd – immediately after the deal was brokered. It found that 68% of Americans disapprove of the way the Democrats handled the debt-ceiling debate, while just 28% approved.
Republicans fared even worse. Some 72% of Americans disapproved of their approach to the debt debate, while just 21% approved. Additionally, the majority of Americans (52%) say Republicans were too uncompromising. Comparatively, 34% say Democrats compromised too little. What's more is that 34% of Republicans think their party didn't compromise enough, compared to 26% who thought the GOP compromised too much.
Democrats have the opposite problem.
While 41% of Democrats felt their party gave up too much ground, just 20% said their party could have done more.
If the statistics are to be believed we now have one party that is stubborn and obstinate, and another that is weak and ineffectual.
"Unfortunately, results like these underscore what we've been telling Money Morning readers for years – that our legislators haven't got a clue, that our regulators are a sham and that Wall Street truly does rule the roost," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald. "What saddens me most about all this is the fact that the specific fixes are actually not that difficult to understand or implement – if we only had the political willpower to do something about a crisis that's sold Main Street down the river."
Many Money Morning readers feel the same way.
"This situation has crystallized for all to see the depth of the political agendas which are running our country under the guise of government," wrote reader Sharon S. "I think the job that President Obama and Congress have done during this developing debt-ceiling debacle could hardly be called 'doing the job' at all. With the U.S. economy struggling to rebound I see no collaboration or cooperation from the leaders and elected officials."
Many readers also have proposed changes to the electoral process.
Some suggested introducing term limits, while others suggested docking politicians' pay.
"I would cancel all checks going to the president, his cabinet, the House, the Senate members until a debt agreement is reached," wrote M.D. "And I would not compensate the lost pay. To get paid they must produce."
Unfortunately, it's hard to imagine such a solution will ever be implemented. All we can tell you is that we here at Money Morning hear you – and we're on your side.
So keep sending your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. And we'll do our best to help guide your investment choices in these difficult times.
News and Related Story Links:
- Money Morning:
Don't Look Now but the National Debt Could be $23 Trillion by 2021
- Money Morning:
The Debt-Ceiling Debacle: Another Way Politicians Could Ruin America
- Money Morning:
'Washington Math' Adds Up to the Debt-Ceiling Deadlock