The National Mood – Malaise 1, Optimism 0
Pew Research and USA Today’s most recent survey on the national mood shows the malaise that people feel about their government working anytime soon in the near future. Deep political divisions within Congress, exacerbated by six years of the Obama Administration, have turned a normally optimistic public into the Scrooge-aholics.
If the recent narrow passage of the cromnibus bill is any indication, it will be business as usual, and there will be no discernable difference between the Democrat vs. Republican approach towards solving our national problems. We’ll continue our trillion dollar march toward the cliff leading to the financial abyss of national insolvency. The public, at large, is not fooled by any of the inflated rhetoric coming out of Washington. The deep divisions between the philosophies of the parties exemplified by its leaders is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Obamacare is here to stay, unless the US Supreme Court does the work that the spineless pols don’t have the political will to do. With a ruling in favor of the plaintiff in King v. Burwell, one could expect that would just about put a nail in the coffin of Obamacare. However, given that the President continues rule by Executive fiat, with no actions taken by Congress to stop him, the takeover of one-third of the economy by the inept plutocrats will continue on course. The public recognizes that the gridlock on national issues, be they economic, social, or homeland security has a deleterious effect not only on the country as a whole, but on them personally. The general feeling of, “is anyone listening to us?” has become a mantra that the professional class of Congressional Washingtonians have become tone-deaf to.
However sagacious one might believe the public may be over political issues, the poll indicates that people citing unemployment as their number one concern appears to have declined 10 pts. from January 2014. With the national unemployment rate at 5.8%, (not taking into account that the national labor participation rate is at an all time low) obviously some of the American public is taking this economy to be the new normal.
Pity. For those of us old enough to remember what a roaring economy looks like, the indicator most disconcerting is the results of the younger adults out there. The newly minted college grads and other young adults (18-29) now working as baristas or at Best Buy (at least they’re working) who thought they would be in careers of their choice, have their optimism meter down 13 pts. that things will be better in 2015. This is a national tragedy for a country that has always been proud to say that our children will have it better than we did. Our country was built on that premise, and now we’re watching it, at an excruciatingly slow pace, fade into meaninglessness.
Will 2015 be a Seinfeld-style year, or, will Congress surprise us as they lurch and jolt to action. My bet is on the latter, but only because some major national event, be it economic or defensive in nature, will demand it. So, for polling purposes, count me in the half-and-half camp.