Wrote two stories for our local newspaper from Tuesday’s meeting of the Floyd County (Virginia) Board of Supervisors.
As usual, bad budget news dominates. More cuts from the Commonwealth, more changes in the budget for a county living on a shoestring, just like most of us.
Saw more fallout from a bad economy while covering Circuit Court on Monday. More theft cases. People steal more when times are bad.
There’s little doubt that the current recession/depression is testing America’s ability to bounce back, both nationally and locally. At the Floyd County Board meeting Tuesday, Social Services director Carl Ayers said applications for assistance are at an all-time high, driven by pleas for help from those who have never sought welfare in their lives.
“These are people who have worked all their lives and now face the prospect of no jobs for the future,” Ayers said. “Their unemployment benefits are gone and the jobs have not come back.”
“The national mood is souring,” writes pollster Mark Penn in Politico. “While the administration has been saying the economy is on the uptick, the only measure most families care about — unemployment — is reaching new highs. To most families, a jobless recovery is no recovery at all.”
Empty rhetoric may have served Barack Obama well as a candidate, especially for a nation soured on eight years of disaster from the Bush administration but Americans now want substance behind the words and results from the promises.
Open the classifieds section of a newspaper and most areas and you find columns of foreclosure sales. Check the docket of bankruptcy courts and you find a backlog of filings. People are broke.
According to Trans-Union, one of the nation’s three main credit monitoring agencies, the average American owes $193,121 on their home and 6.25 percent of them are 60 days or more behind in their payments. In California and the District of Columbia, the average consumer owes more than $350,000.
Meanwhile, the federal government falls deeper and deeper into debt, with the federal deficit hitting a record $1.42 trillion at the end of the last fiscal year on Sept. 30. The actual federal debt is more than $12 trillion, which amounts to $38,974.34 for every man, woman and child in this nation.
Although proponents of health care reform claim the bills currently before Congress will not drive up the federal debt, they most likely will because fewer Americans have jobs or pay taxes in this down economy. You don’t need an economics degree from Princeton to see where this is heading.
So what’s the answer? Damned if I know. We’re in trouble, serious trouble and all we get from our elected leaders on both sides of the political fence is lip service. Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats and amid all that finger pointing the situation just gets worse.
And Barack Obama lacks the leadership to pull things together.
In his Politico column, Mark Penn argues:
As a longtime centrist Democrat, I would like to see the president make creating jobs his top domestic priority, I would encourage an incremental approach on health care that did not cost so much upfront and I believe staying strong in Afghanistan — the country that harbored those who directly attacked New York and Washington — is pivotal to being regarded seriously by our foes.
But as a point of strategy, the president has to get off the fence — either energizing the left or strengthening the center. And he might satisfy the left on defense and the center on health care or vice versa. The pitfalls he needs to avoid are halfway decisions all around. That path threatens to undermine support and will build bewilderment, not consensus. He has to find his voice in these areas and deliver it loud and clear. That will lift the country out of this growing anxiety and win back its overwhelming confidence.
Obama’s problems have driven his job approval rating below 50 percent, according to latest tracking from Rasmussen Reports. Even Sarah Palin has a higher public approval rating right now than the President, Rasmussen says.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of likely voters say it is at least somewhat likely the next president of the United States will be a Republican, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
The number has been trending in this direction since Democrat Barack Obama took office in January and is up 14 points since then.
While many still argue that Obama “inherited” America’s problems from the Republicans and George W. Bush, polls show that fewer and fewer Americans buy that claim.
The percentage of respondents who believe that Mr. Obama “inherited” the economic situation has dropped steadily over the year from a high of 84% in February down to 63% in this latest poll. This week’s Rasmussen Reports poll shows an even bigger drop, with 49% of respondents blaming Mr. Bush and 45% blaming Mr. Obama. This is the first time in Rasmussen Reports’ polls that less than 55% blame Mr. Bush for the country’s economic problems. It is fair to conclude that by the beginning of next year, the problems of America will be Mr. Obama’s problems, and references to his predecessor will increasingly fall on deaf ears.
Polls show Obama is losing support of the independents who put him in office in 2008 and without those independents he will be a one-term, failed President.