.
March 7th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Is the federal government broken beyond repair?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Today is the 158th day the federal government has operated without a budget. The clock is ticking on the two week extension Congress approved last week which kept the government from effectively shutting its doors for business this morning.

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).
U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Here's sort of where we stand: Republicans want to cut spending by at least $61 billion which was what the House of Representatives agreed on a few weeks ago in their bill. But the Democratic majority in the Senate only wants to cut $10.5 billion.

Hello, we're looking at a projected deficit of $1.65 trillion for this year alone.

Not to suggest that our Congress people lack guts, but last Friday Republican Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn introduced a bill that would cut about $400 million a year from the budget by stripping all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They want to kill Big Bird and Elmo.

Not a word about touching entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare; but children's programming apparently is on the table.

In this week's Time magazine cover story, Fareed Zakaria wonders if America's best days are behind us. He points to how the U.S. now compares with other wealthy countries when it comes to student test scores, graduation rates, life expectancy, crime, and of course national debt. We're falling behind on all fronts. Zakaria says: "The larger discussion in Washington is about everything except what's important." Like killing funding for Sesame Street.

Here’s my question to you: Is the federal government broken beyond repair?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kathleen in South Carolina:
It is broken because we have allowed the radical elements on both sides to push their agendas rather than the country’s agenda. Nothing will improve until all states come up with non-partisan groups to decide balanced voting districts instead of "safe" ones. By forcing radicals to compete on a level playing field in open primaries, most of them will lose and maybe we can get back to rational, adult government. If not, we're toast!

Laura in San Diego, California:
We have let our differences drive us too far apart. Everyone needs to come to the table and compromise. Term limits would help a lot of this, politicians fear to stand by their principles and those of their constituents on account of an outspoken minority. Just look at how much got done during the lame duck session.

Gerry:
If the current politicians in power keep focusing on the next election in 2012 more so than on matters of indisputable importance, then, not only they, but the nation will be broken beyond repair. A collapse, although probably not imminent, does not seem beyond possibility.

David in Raleigh, North Carolina:
As Thomas Jefferson said, when the poor figure out they can loot the treasury if they elect the right politicians, America is done. Looks like we're there.

Roni:
I really hope the federal government isn't broken beyond repair. I have two grandkids who will bear the brunt of it if it is. When did compromise become a dirty word? I always though politics was the art of the possible. Yet, what I see today is disgusting. With both parties trying to out-demonize the other, I wonder if it is hopeless.

Ken in Atlantic City, New Jersey:
Yes the government is monetarily broke and internally broken beyond repair. The worst thing is that the president and congress have no interest in fixing the problem. No one is willing to cut defense, end the two wars, cut corporate subsidies, nationalize the oil supply, or raise the top tax rates.

Jason:
Yes, and no I no longer care about the next election Jack, I care more about the next revolution, American revolution. It's time.


Filed under: Government
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Carl

    Jack,

    I would have to say so. They are very corrupt, they only serve themselves, they are totally out of control and need to be replaced. In my opinion, by what i've seen, their isn't an honest politicians anywhere, to me, both political parties are just corrupt and worthless. I also feel like we will fall on our faces and go totally broke before anything will be done about it.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  2. Stephen Paul

    Absolutely Jack. I believe it's time to tweak our Constitution and bring it up to date with our times. Our fore fathers didn't fully appreciate the greed and selfishness of politicians. We as a country need to keep politicians from becoming professional at stealing and wheeling and dealing for their own good and grandizement. Our biggest issue is we the people have no voice. We need a voice so we can be heard. Washington doesn't even know we exist outside of the beltway until it's election time, then they care long enough to be voted back into office for another round of me too, me too and how much can I get. THe only good politician is an unemployed politician!

    Steve
    Nashville, In
    Nashville,

    March 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  3. RB in CA

    No, the government is not broken beyond repair, but it is going to be a long and painful process to get it back up and running efficiently. Bipartisan cooperation is paramount to this nation’s recovery but that doesn’t seem very achievable, given the zeal that the freshman members of congress have demonstrated so far. Their rallying cry seems to be, “Damn the torpedoes! Follow the Party line!”

    RBH
    Chino Hills, CA

    March 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  4. MNResident

    The question reminds me of the response Ben Franklin gave in 1787 when asked what type of government the US was going to have. His respnse: 'A republic, if you can keep it....." This country has had issues before, and the answer to the "is it repairable?" question is always "it is up to the American people to make that decision." It's up to the American people as a whole, not the people who preside in government circles, to fix what's wron in this country.....

    March 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  5. Joe R - Houston, TX

    Yes. In it's present form, yes. Once a constitutionally limited republic – the federal government has been co-opted by politicians who ignore their oaths of office in favor of guaranteed reelection by granting market protections, subsidies and monopolies to their corporate friends and partners. It's only a matter of time.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  6. Norm

    The federal government is not broken beyond repair but suffers from the effects of too much tinkering by both wealthy, influential people and social advocates of the poor. There are "too many chefs in the broth."

    The government needs to be downsized significantly so that it can achieve its Constitutional responsibiities, no more, no less.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  7. John from Alabama

    Jack: The federal government is not broken beyond repair, but Congress is in need of a major overhaul. It needs term limits, it needs to take away President George W. Bush's taxcuts for the rich, and extend the age to qualify for social security to 65 with max benefits at age 69. This new age limit should effect those who have less than 15 years in social security payments into the trust fund. Medicare and mediaid by increasing contributions by people who use medicare, but mediaid is another story for each state.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  8. Pat in Michigan

    If it is then the two party system funded by corporate america is to blame.
    It about Money.It has always been about Money and it will always be about Money.
    When this country folds then the money men will pack up their tents and move on to the next country to be raped and bled.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  9. jenny- seatle,wa

    when you have the same non elected money political action commitee 's that controlthe democratic and republican party leaders that we elected, but that they, do the agenda of those who direct them based on immoral amounts of money, yes, our federal system is broke beyond 2 party monopolized repair.....What adds to our demise is the fact obama is the one pulling the strings,and biden keeps forgetting what the strings pull.......we need a true independent ,independent from oil and gas , which both parties cater too, even when it seems they got thier boot on the offshor oil and gas...they still give opermits to foreign companies in alaska,, (shell)

    to bad our govt encourages consumption of gas,, its only way they can get the tax revenue,, they didnt base taxon gas on money, but on gallon charge... which is why we went from 7 million barrels a day to 14 million barrels, all while govt gave tax breaks and free subsidies to car manufacturers and dealers when they sold a car that gets less than the 1970 honda civic, which got 50 m.p.g. for those that remember.. obama probably doesnt know cuz he was in a 3rd world country growing up...

    March 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  10. Steve, New York

    That's what you get when you have a weak inexperieced leader and do nothing Democrats that are afraid of their shadows. They need to hibernate another 6 weeks and another 6 weeks every 6 weeks.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Absolutely, without question. The country is firmly in the hands of the wealthy and powerful, no matter which political party is in control, and that means no one is doing what is good for the country, but rather only what is good for the wealthy and powerful.

    It might as well be a monarchy.......it behaves like one.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  12. Conor in Chicago

    No. The Federal Government is not broken. It's institutions and founding documents are just fine. What's broken is the political system. The two main parties have been fighting a civil war of sorts for the last 20 years and it's getting worse. We will be fine if we could just settle all of this.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  13. David

    It's not so much broken as it is bought and paid for.

    Until the lobbyists are curtailed we'll have the best government money can buy, One of the major reasons we are unhappy with Obama is his failure to deliver on his promise to rein in the lobbyists. Business as usual is not change.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  14. Ed from California

    As long as the brain washed/narcissistic middle class voters keep voting for even more narcissistic Republicans to run this country. Who by the way only work for their masters, the super rich, and not for anyone in the working middle class. Our federal government will be "fixed", alright. But, all those who are left in the working middle class will continue to be flat broke and busted, beyond all recognition(FUBAR, or SNAFU). I can only pray the middle class voter wake's up and takes a stand for their rightful place in this country. The world is waking up, hopefully the American middle class does too.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  15. David from Citrus Hieghts CA.

    No, not yet, but we really need to remember what the role of Government is supposed to be. We have over time allowed our Government to move further and further from its role as defined by the Constition, to the point where our Government is anything but "limited".

    We as a Nation are sliding down a slippery slope of Entitlements, and over spending, with the Government being the answer to all things. Long gone are the days of personal responsibility, and ambition. It seems as though we have created, and given birth to a new generation who have emerged from the womb with their hand out!

    March 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  16. Jenna

    Is the federal government broken beyond repair?

    With the GOP in charge of the purse strings or blocking everything that the Democrats tried to pass to make fixes then YES it would be beyond repair.

    But get Democrats in that aren't blocked with a Super Majority in the House and Senate and watch the repairs begin.

    We've already seen the Lip Service from the GOP. They claimed that they were the party fo JOB CREATION and we still haven't seen one single GOP Job Creation Bill on the floor and they can't point to any jobs created by the Tax Breaks for the Wealthy.

    Plus they voted against the repeal of the Tax Breaks for Big Oil just last week which would have meant BILLIONS in revenue for the nation (even though BIG OIL is currently gouging Americans – no oil has stopped flowing from Libya and the Suez Canal is wide open)

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    March 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  17. Jane (Minnesota)

    Now that businesses can spend limitless amounts of money to influence election campaigns and our elected politicians, I'm afraid it is broken beyond repair. What ever happened to "For the good of America" now it has become "What's in it for me"

    March 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Russ in PA

    I tend to think that the government appears to be broken due to the machinations of generations of politicians, convinced that they "knew better", all the while rewarded by the voters. Ben Franklin allegedly commented that "we have a Republic, if we can keep it..." The fear being, of course, that a democracy – rule by mob – would replace the Republic. And with that evolution went the belief in rule of law, property rights, and the basic notion and respect for freedom. So is our government broken, or do the majority of politicians and voters fail to believe in those three things any longer?

    March 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  19. Jim in Denver, CO

    Jack,

    No, it is not broken beyond repair. It can be fixed, but the first thing that has to happen is a cleaning of the house of the politicians that are entrenched in Washington D.C. (and at state levels too). We need term limits on both houses of Congress. Also, there needs to be controls put in place on the Lobbyists who influence them. And there needs to be campaign contribution reform (first and foremost the reversal of the Supreme Court decision on the 'personhood' of corporations).
    Things can be fixed, it just is going to take the will of the people to do it. Hopefully people are starting to 'wake up', and I'm not talking about the Tea Party bafoons. Otherwise, I may be heading to Denmark sooner than I thought.

    Jim

    March 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  20. Cheyenne

    No, its not broken at all the problem is the people who head it and the civilians who curse the politicians but don't realize that those politicians aren't making the mistakes, "We the People" are because we vote them into office and then we vote on the bills. It is our individual responsibility to be WELL informed before we vote and thats not happening so the leaders get blamed because the people don't know what they are talking about!

    March 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  21. Janet Price

    No, not beyond repair. But, if corporations and the wealthy are not soon forced to pay their fair share of taxes, the government and the entire country will be down the tubes.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  22. Pat Owens

    No, the government is just fine. It's the dim wits and grabby ones that are trying to control it that's the problem. Too much we will do it the Republican or Democrat or Tea party way. Strict term limits and the abolishment of all political parties will fix the problem. Don't care what party you were in the election once in office you're in your only allegiance should be to the people of your district. I guess the government could use a busy mother to settle things down.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  23. David of Alexandria VA

    Well, not like Egypt's, if that's what you mean. But, the Federal government has proven itself to be far better at spending money than managing money. It's very happy to grow itself new limbs without pruning the ones it has. Most vestiges of real leadership and personal accountability are not a part of the job description to be elected, even as President, having given way to partisan ideological bickering and stonewalling. Honest and complete communication about everything from Health Care to the national debt has virtually disappeared - lest the voters vote them out. I guess if the government is broken, then it's the responsibility of the voters. We all want everything the government can give us, without regard for what we can really afford or what we have to give up to get it. We believe that there must be someone left to tax other than ourselves.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  24. Pete in Georgia

    Behind every visible government there is an INVISIBLE government. What has happened over the past 20-30 years with the gluttonous spending to win votes and taxation of the middle and upper class Americans to cover said spending.......................partially...................is that the INVISIBLE government has taken complete control leaving the average tax payer in the dark as to how bad things have really become.
    In the 1760's the British behaved in the same way against the American colonies, mainly to cover the horrendous costs of their global conquests.
    People's behavior really doesn't change that much, thus..................the current Tea Party in America.

    Stay tuned.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  25. Suzanne Peters

    Not if we are brave enough to cut the tax cuts to the rich and tax breaks for oil and a surtax on corporations that aren't paying taxes. Plus reduced health benefits to Congress.
    Chicago, IL

    March 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  26. Gary H. Boyd

    Not broken Jack, just badly bent. Picture an automobile accident where the adjuster's viewing the damage. "I can total it" he tells the owner, "Then you can get it repaired yourself . Of course it'll have a salvage title and not be worth what it once was. . But, since you can't afford a new car, that's about your only option".

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    March 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  27. Suzanne Peters

    Not if we're brave enough to cut tax cuts to the rich and tax breaks for oil. Plus a surtax on corporations not paying their fair share of taxes. and reduce health care benefits to Congress. Lets all share the pain!
    Chicago, IL

    March 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  28. Herman Portland OR

    Jack,
    I would say yes. Only because it is plain and clear that between the taxes and the far reaching promises of the elected officials. The current system just has not worked. I hope we can get some leadership in good numbers to help figure out this problem and get it fixed before it further erodes our freedoms or taxes us beyound our income making abilities. The amaerican people can move this process by excercising their rights and vote.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  29. Loren, Chicago

    Whether it is or not, it is beyond starting all over, it has its hands in too many areas of our day to day life for it to just go away. So whether we like it or not, the road to reform begins with repair.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  30. Kevin in CA

    Some sections of the Federal Government are broken beyond repair. There are others that work well and accomplish their tasks well – like all the agencies that the rich, right wing, Republicans wants to eliminate.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  31. Lia, Florida

    The government is fine, Jack. It's the "hired help" – Congress – who are in need of fixing. That'll happen in 2012. Based on experience, their best job opportunity outside the beltway might be with AFLAC – you know, standing around with the goat and braying "Nah, nah, nah."

    March 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  32. Jayne

    This is a very good question. It seems nearly all politicians on both sides of the aisle are bought and paid for. The result is legislation crafted for special interests and little more. Citizens are rarely considered in the mix unless it's election time. Maybe we need a parliamentary system instead.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  33. Richard Reynolds

    No. People always think things are broken beyond repair. It's like George Carlin used to say: "The world's not goin' anywhere! ...WE are!" The government is a colossal organization that is ultimately responsible for its own upkeep, its own prosperity. It will cajole or extract by force all that is necessary to feed itself, like vampires and corporate America. And Sarah Palin. (Notice how I can tie in one Cafferty File topic with another so effortlessly, Jack? This talent comes from a lifetime of cultivating prudent skepticism and a generally healthy contempt for everything).

    March 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  34. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    No Jack, the government is not broken, we are. Just look at the division in our country today. We will continue to spiral downward until we hit bottom and become a 3rd world country which based on our education system won't be too much longer. Over 25% of people now are below the poverty level and the rate of homeless kids is growing leaps and bounds.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  35. Ken in Pinon Hills. California

    Jack, can you fix a broken Yugo automobile?

    March 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  36. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    The last time we were united was on December 7, 1941 and it may take another Pearl Harbor to bring us back together. We have no unity in our country today. The rich are getting richer and the middle class is gone. We the people need to stand together and stop the bleeding of jobs which would mean we should go on strike to bring Wall Street and Congress down to earth.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  37. Annie, Atlanta

    Our politicians now work for only those who can easily fund attack ads and campigns. There is an easy fix – campaign finance reform. Sadly, it will never happen because these contributors are also the ones that provide cushy million dollar jobs after "public service" is over. It's not only broken, Jack, it's a joke.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  38. Richard35 Canfield, Ohio

    Jack, America used to be the Land of Opportunity where an individual with hard work could increase his/her socio-economic standing. Now America is The Land of Plunder where the rich deny every one the right to have unions, health care, and jobs; while they continue to receive bailouts and tax breaks.We have a Plutocracy.

    March 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  39. bob z fr ,pa.

    yes with obama as our pres. maybe our next pres won't be out to destroy our country

    March 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  40. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    The Federal Government is like middle America, overweight and complacent. The GAO must have details hidden away in their dusty archives which account for the many overlapping, redundant, wasteful
    pork blubber that makes us not able to afford ourselves any more.

    Did you know that if a military toolbox of 90 pieces is missing one piece policy has it that the entire toolbox must be replaced, not simply the one missing piece.

    The government needs to stop wasteful spending and get back to common sense financial responsibility.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  41. Paul

    Nothing is beyond repair. But the government is like a house you buy and think it is in good shape to only find out you need to gut the place and rebuild. Our government is long over due for an overhaul from top to bottom. The only thing is Jack they always start at the bottom and never get past that point. If we throw out the bums, all the bums each time they come up for election maybe someday we will have some bums that can do the job right.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  42. Bob Kobs

    No, it is just the Republican Party that has gone cuckoo. It no longer believes in America or its democracy. It believes in corporate greed.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  43. Chandler in Rockaway, NJ

    Jack,
    When the President and members of congress swear their oath of office, it is not to defend the land of the United States, or the people of the United States. They swear to defend the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is the chassis of the federal government, and despite many imperfections has proven to be a remarkably resilient vehicle to carry us from the 18th century to the 21st century. I don't think the Constitution or the federal government are broken. I think the people currently in charge have forgotten how to drive it.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  44. Dave in Phoenix

    Until ALL politicians have term limits and lobbyists are no longer allowed to buy our elected officials, the government on all levels is broken. One only needs to come to Arizona to see that.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  45. Rob, from Det

    No Jack,once the Government start's Taxeing the rich like clinton everything will be alright.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  46. Mr. D

    I would like to think not, but it will take an enormous amount of tape to mend it.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  47. Bradley, Portland, OR

    It's too easy for small groups in Congress to force gridlock. The filibuster in the Senate, and the way one person can put an anonymous hold on legislation or the confirmation of an appointment just seem especially undemocratic.

    And earmarks just seem corrupt, since they usually seem to be paybacks to campaign contributors rather than the genuine best use of tax money for the American people.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  48. Kim Smith

    My heart says no, but my brain says yes. Federal Government has embraced the term "too big to fail" and has become delusional about their ability to govern by any means other than military force. Mark my words, they will turn on us before they admit failure and attempt any realistic and lasting reform.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  49. james Wardlaw Michigan

    No,no,no,and no. We owe more than half of our debt to our own institutions. What we need is to brand all birthers with" idiot" on their forehead and a T on T party members. I would like to be warned before any encounter

    Jim in Michigan

    March 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  50. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    More so than the nincompoops currently running Congress, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision equating corporate speech the same as that of human beings has laid waste to the Federal Government.
    With money trumping public service and principles, we've become a banana republic.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  51. Dennis north Carolina

    No, but we need a complete change of elected officials before we do go broke.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  52. sheila

    Not broken at all but definitely misdirected. We need to fairly tax the rich and cut military spending and then reevaluate how much needs to be cut from the low & middle income.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  53. riley oday

    It is broken beyond repair because of the type of people that get elected to represent us.
    Also the lobby system makes it broken.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  54. B.J., Quincy, Il

    If they would sit down and do the work they are suppose to do, No,If they keep up like they arealways on vacation, taking trips,and going to parties, Yes, they are.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  55. Phil, Georgia

    Repbulicans remind me of Gaddafi, willing to tare down America in order to hold on to power. They don't want to see America succeed, they can never give praise when something positive happens to America. They can't win over America with Ideas and likability so they resort to bully tactics even if it means the death of america--they must be stopped......

    March 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  56. Dannie

    No Jack, any government answerable to the governed by free and open election still has merit in this world. I love my country and it is merely broke not broken. We can and will fix it!

    Dannie Kemp
    Hamilton Georgia

    March 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  57. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Yes the government is monetarily broke and internally broken beyond repair. The worst thing is that the president and congress have no interest in fixing the problem. Cutting 50 or 60 billion will never eliminate the 15 trillion dollar federal debt. All politicians seem to care about is getting money from lobbyists and corporations so they can get re-elected. Neither the dems nor the pubs are willing to cut defense, end the 2 wars, cut corporate subsidies, nationalize the oil supply, or raise the top tax rates. Although the country is broke and our borders are wide open the news media and talking heads continue to spend all their time talking about libya and no fly zones.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  58. Ralph Spyer

    Yes it is broken, because we are broke. Only 400 Americans have 50% of all the wealth in this country. If unions die off kiss the 40 hour work week good buy,kiss pensions, welfair, worker safety, work men comp. all good buy. Two wars no one is paying for. 10 millian illegals congress can:t even pass a budget.congress associate Israeli security with our national security. YES THIS COUNTRY IS BROKEN,

    March 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  59. Ed Reed

    No, it's working the way its designed. Then government was to benefit white male, slave owners. Of course, because of the Civil War, suffrage and the unions, we leveled the playing field. But with the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen's United, the plutocrats are running things again for their interests.

    Ed
    Texas

    March 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  60. Stella-Northern New York

    Jack its not the Government that is broken its the people we elect that are broken. They are incapable of functioning as a body for the good of the country and the good of the people. They have no problem working for corporations and other countries around the world and are most anxious to do their bidding. They give them everything they want and we pay for it all. We are in serious trouble and all of us need to wake up fast. We are loosing our country,our freedom,and our rights. Our elected representatives must be made to understand its the will of the people they serve not the will of corporations and the rich. Will it take a "second" revolutionary war to have our voices heard????

    March 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  61. katiec Pekin, IL

    Unless the republicans start representing the people and our country rather than sell us down the river to Wall St, big business, the wealthy we are in big trouble.
    Until they put the survival and welfare of our country and the American people over their special interests, unAmerican goals, egomania our political system will continue to victimize us all.
    They are well on their way to becoming our country's most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  62. Laura

    We have let our differences drive us too far apart. Everyone needs to come to the table and compromise. Term limits would help alot of this, politicians fear to stand by their principles and those of their constituents on account of an outspoken minority. Just look at how much got done during the lame duck session. San Diego, CA.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  63. Gerry luimes

    If the current politicians in power keep focussing on the next election in 2012,more so than on matters of indisputable importance,then, not only they,but the nation will be broken beyond repair.A collaps,although probably not imminent,does not seem beyond possibilty.There IS a silver lining; Good government with bold and wise decisions may still help a turn-around.............
    gerry at Edm.can.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  64. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Jack

    Let's define Government. There is the Judicial, Legislative and Executive Branches of Government. It's extremely important that Americans know and understand the different functions and authorities of each Branch. In response to your question, the Legislative Branch has been broken in a significant way for quite some time and has only gotten worse during the past decade. While the Legislative (Congress) love to use the Bureaucrats in the Executive Branch as scape goats, the bureaucrats can only implement and carry out the orders of the laws passed by the Legislative Branch. Partisan politics and corporate influence through campaign contributions have become so dis-functional that the whole legislative election process needs to be updated to reflect the realities of of voting in today's America.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  65. lou

    Our two party system has turned into an ugly grudge match against two rival teams. Politicans care more about scoring points with their base and rich donors so they can get re-elected, than doing things that will really help this country.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  66. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well it does make one wonder, doesn't it? When the Government is now borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar to fund all the Liberal/Social Programs you begin to wonder where the 1930's went. No where it seems. Are we any better off now than 75 years ago?

    March 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  67. Cy Gardner

    No, it may seem that way because the Republicans and their greedy corporate overlords are doing everything they can to extend the recession. The GOP answer to every problem is let corporations do whatever they want to consumers and employees and don't make the rich pay any taxes. Any attempt to come up with pragmatic solutions to the problems facing American and our government are seen as an affront to that philosophy. If the government were consistently staffed by people who actually wanted to govern, we'd see better results. cy gardner, arlington, va

    March 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  68. LS

    Yes, it's broken beyond repair and will remain so as long as the politician's first allegiance is to the lobbyists who buy and own them.
    By the way, I never heard a word about cutting corporate entitlements like the subsidies oil companies, big pharma and the insurance industries receive.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  69. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    Like all things, if they continue to operate with little attention to performance levels with no way of assuring regular maintenance and upkeep they become old and obsolete. You get to a point where the cost of repair is too prohibitive and the decision to upgrade to a new more efficient model is the best decision that can be made in order to meet the performance demands. The time has come when the unbelievably complex system of government that has been built like a tinker toy for the past 235 years is in need of a new model that can meet the needs of today's American people in a much more effective manner.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  70. Gail, Plano TX

    Simple, Jack. The answer is a big yes. While I think spending and budgets and deficits are necessary conversation topics, I also think that the Congress is the main problem. We have severely uneducated people that hold office in both houses. As far as PBS being cut from the budget, I have wondered for years why we fund that station anyway. The station does practically nothing but fund raising telethons from private donors. They are always "hawking" their wares, begging for money. Trust me, Sesame Street will still be in our world. What will concern me is when this fool congress attack rte entitlements! It's just around the corner!

    March 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  71. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, it's not broken beyond repair, but it does need a lot of repairing. We've learned that the policies of both the far right and far left will bring ruin to the country. 2012 is a chance to begin to rectify the mistakes of the 2010 election.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  72. John ......................... Marlton, nj

    Not beyond repair, but it is really screwed up

    March 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  73. David, from Plant City Florida

    Is the Government broken beyond repair Jack?
    No the system it self has many flaws and can be repaired but the people who are in the Government are beyond hope, both sides Republicans are Democrats are so corrupt and blind that there is no hope for them. We need a new party with new values, a party that REALLY represents the will of the people of this nation (Tea Party NOT included, they are NOT a new party and they in NO way represent ANYTHING that the people of this nation want)

    March 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  74. Cy Gardner

    The Republican Party is broken beyond all repair. They want to cut any program that doesn't benefit their super rich constituents They voted unanimously to preserve tax breaks for extremely profitable oil companies. We can't make the deficit do down cutting only programs that Democrats like. Tax the greedy rich. cy gardner, arlington, va

    March 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  75. Robby Bowling

    Humpty Dumpty fell of the wall, How did that work out. Houston we have a problem here, what happens when you fill a room with rats eventually they cannibalize each other.We have issues and no answers. We have political correctness and special interest groups that take every word & nuance, dissected into every possible meaning and use it against us. We have risen to the point that we are inept at everything & good at only complaining.Until we have a clear message and stand together we don't have a prayer. Our government will offer no solutions cause they are the problem. Disillusioned in Dallas

    March 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  76. Alex – Idaho Falls, Idaho

    That depends upon how you define the federal government's purpose. If it's purpose is to provide cushy employment for senators, congress people and lobbyists, to export American jobs overseas and to provide fodder for late-night comedians, then I'd say it's doing “a heck of a job.” But, if it's purpose is to create fertile soil for new business and to get the unemployed back to work, then I'd say “not so much.”

    March 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  77. Tina Tx

    The only thing broken is that the senators will not sit down like adults and talk to each other. Instead they are acting like spoiled brats & this will never solve anything.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  78. Rob Winnipeg Canada

    It is as long as folks turn a blind eye to republicorp policies which kill the economy for policitical gain.
    Some banks and corporations receive in the area of a billion dollars in tax breaks EACH! How about they have to make a profit the old fashioned way by hiring folks and growing their business instead of receiving free money from the tax payer courtesy of the GOP?

    March 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  79. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Caafferty:

    Spooky question for if it is then..............what? My answer would lie in this question: When was the federal government broken and when did any of our greatest leaders know about it?

    March 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  80. Jeff In Minnesota

    Hey, I'd like a Corvette and could probably leverage myself to the hilt to have one, but that would be irresponsible. What is irresponsible is that we have two political parties that, for their own vested interests, do not want to face up to the fact that we have a problem and to fix that problem means they may not get re-elected. The Republicans cannot solve the problem by cutting everything but Social Security and Defense and Democrats cannot cut everything but education and Medicare. It's time to wake up and realize that this problem takes real reforms and that there will be politicians that will not be re-elected because of hard decisions that need to be made. Hard decisions suck and sometimes they bite back, but they still must get done. Sorry, but you cannot pass the buck anymore, the can cannot be kicked down the road anymore. We must address these problems and come up with solutions and, unfortunately, some people in Washington are going to be unemployed. But unlike the millions of Americans still unemployed, people from Washington have the speaking circuit and their posh retirement packages to keep going unlike the rest of us.

    March 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  81. Mel

    I'm from Asheville, NC. Our government is certainly not broken. Limiting the number of years that a president can serve in office was justified. Limiting the number of years the legislature can serve is truly justified. Inacting this law would obviously limit the number of candidates intending to become career legislators and hopefully eliminate the huge retirement packages they receive. I think that it would also eliminate the long relationships with special interest groups. I do not think our founding fathers intended for so many of the same people build their entire careers legislating our government.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  82. Kathleen Parker , South Carolina

    It is broken because we have allowed the radical elements on both sides to push their agendas rather than the country"s agenda. Nothing will improve until all states come up with non-partisan groups to decide balanced voting districts instead of "safe" ones. By forcing radicals to compete on a level playing field in open primaries, most of them will lose and maybe we can get back to rational, adult government. If not, we're toast!

    March 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  83. Jack Pine

    It can only be repaired if we remove all the politicians that got us into this mess,
    . We need to vote out all incumbents period. Make sure the new ones really work to repair the problem. It boils down to the fault of the voters for re-electing the same old leaches that only worry about getting re-elected.

    Jack , Dunlap, Tennessee

    March 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  84. Bill in South TX

    Jack

    For we the people: Yes, the government is totally broken!

    But, for the rich and their corporations it is doing just what it has been paid to do.

    Where is Robin Hood when we need him?

    March 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  85. andyz Lynn, MA

    The federal government is not broken beyond repair. It's only dinged up because we the people do not care. When things approach a total catastrophe, and the American voting public decides to take notice all will be well, unless, of course, China decides to take Hawaii, California, and Nevada as payment for the debt we owe them.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  86. Peter Bonafonte, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    Is the Federal Government broken beyond repair?

    The legislators are only interested in being re-elected.
    The courts have become too ideological.
    The administration doesn't seem the have a clue.

    No one is willing to present any plans that can work and the ideas from the many commissions get savaged when they present their recommendations.

    The ideological idiots on both side of the political spectrum wont permit any elected official to reach out to the other party to find solutions to our current problems.

    So, to answer your question. No. The government is not broken but the parts that make it run are in desperate need of a major overhaul.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  87. Rick in California

    Yes it is. Pure and simple. The 2 party system is antiquated just like the constitution is. These things were started a long time ago when the world was quite different. many of the forefathers concepts and intentions have no place in our society today.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  88. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    America can be repaired, but an awful lot of people will have to get active and vocal in order to force the politicians to start putting the good of America first.
    It is nonsense to spend so much on corrupt foreign aid and on your bloated military, while millions of Americans lose their homes and skid down the ladder of success.
    It is time to tax the rich fairly and eliminate a majority of their income tax deductions.
    Spend less and tax more, and America is back in business.
    But most important, treat all Americans equally. Spending on more evil drones to kill anonymously has meant cutting school lunch programmes and many other worthwhile domestic matters. Step back and decide if that makes sense.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  89. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    As long as partisanship, oneupmanship, ideology, and bigotry are more important than the job that our representatives were elected to do, then the answer is yes–our system is broken. It is hard to believe with all the difficulties that America is facing that what is going on in Washington continues without regret or shame on any politician's part.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  90. Roni Antenucci

    I really hope the federal government isn't broken beyond repair. I have two grandkids who will bear the brunt of it if it is. When did compromise become a dirty word? I always though politics was the art of the possible. Yet, what I see today is disgusting. With both parties trying to out-demonize the other, I wonder if it is hopeless. I'm also astounded at the ability of voters to accept without question the validity of arguments that have no basis in fact. But the press has to bear an equal burden of blame when they say nothing to put the facts in front of the people. In th end I have to hope that people will really become fed up with "politics as usual" and demand truth and good, efficient government. We do need to get our financial house in order, but we also need to invest in our infrastructure. To the congress: DO IT, EVEN IF IT HURTS!!!!

    March 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  91. honest John in Vermont

    No, not broken beyond repair, we just have alot of deferred maintence to catch up to and now is the time to spend the money to fix it properly.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  92. Alvin

    Without a doubt. We are on the fast track to a "has been" country. We have leaders that have been led to water, but they won't stop drinking. I'm begining to think what they are drinking, hasn't been water at all. It would seem a political career takes precidence to a nation. A country built on courage has been weakened by cowards.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  93. John D.

    No it is not broken beyond repair, but even if we awaken in time to prevent a complete collapse America will not be the same as the America we love and grew up in.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  94. bob in florida

    No, not by a long shot.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  95. Joseph Leff

    No, Jack, it's not. What we need to do is create a committee to look into this matter, then have four or five subcommittees verify what the committee says, the have some sub-subcommittees look into it, and then... well, the usual government "stuff." (Note: I'm trying to be polite.)

    In actuality, I do think Congress can fix it, but only if the large corporations step back and let them do it. I'm not sure that will happen, though.

    Joe in Delray Beach, Florida

    March 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  96. David in Raleigh, NC

    As Thomas Jefferson said, when the poor figure out they can loot the treasury if they elect the right politicians, America is done.

    Looks like we're there with the Democrats and their liberal supporters who expect government handouts.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  97. MJL-Iowa

    It will be if the Republicans get their way

    March 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  98. Dean

    Jack, you have heard the words "to big to fail". Well, what we have here is a problem that has apparently gotten "to big to fix".

    March 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  99. David in Raleigh, NC

    The country is broke beyond repair as long as the Socialist Obama is in office.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  100. Ed'sKate

    I don't think so, if ALL the citizens of this country will only stand up and use their right to vote. If EACH AND EVERYONE OF US ELIGIBLE TO VOTE EXERCISED THAT RIGHT we would be in much better shape. We can no longer let only a few folks vote, we ALL have to Vote. The sooner we do this the better off we will be.

    Of course we all must remember that the present financial situation began back almost ten years ago when we were hood-winked into
    an illegal war in Iraq. Remember WMD's and all that other baloney put forth at that time. Boy, were they clever liars!!!! It's amazing that their Pinnochio noses haven't proved to the citizens of this country just how rotten they all are.

    March 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  101. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    In its current state the Federal government IS broken beyond repair. And those who say fixing the economy will require drastic measures could say the same about fixing the government.

    Sadly, I think the ONLY fix for the government may be a total revamping, in short, a revolution similar to the ones we see unfolding in the mid-East.

    The problem is not only that government is too big. With our population we may well NEED a large government presence. The problem is that government does not work for many reasons that have nothing to do with size.

    No one seems to be really in charge. And government COSTS TOO MUCH for what we get. I would not mind government costing a lot if we got services on the level with a Rolls Royce. But to PAY for the Rolls Royce and get a Yugo REALLY SUCKS!

    .

    March 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  102. Thinkforyourself, OK

    No, but if WE the PEOPLE do not kick out the Progressive/Liberals, it will be. There are so many Socialists in the Government now, it will be years before we can recover.
    I have never seen a President and Cabinet SO bent on destroying the United States. GOD HELP US

    March 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  103. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    It the government broken? No, but the system and many of its people diseased and dysfunctional. And the good news is these ailments can be healed.

    But healing can not ever begin if each member of the government doesn't recognize that they are the ones who have the dysfunction, not the other guys or gals.

    What was our first step in treatment Jack, admit you have a problem and recognize there is a higher power. The ego of America isn't the first collective ego to topple an empire.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  104. thom richer

    Yup. Because of and until the lack of concern for the working class is recognized and admitted to, it can never be repaired. To continue deceiving the country and the world with blatant falsehoods of recovery while continuing to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, the government will continue to rot from the inside out. We are a caste system in disguise. India has recognized this by inviting Sarah Palin to speak on America as they see the similarities between them and us. The rich rule...the poor drool. Soon to be our political philosophy as is theirs.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    March 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  105. David in Tampa

    No the government is not broken beyond repair, however, the two party system that is determined to destroy this country is. We need to do away with political parties, and elect people that are less dogmatic ideological purest and more willing to use common sense and intellect in dealing with the nations problems. Government alone can never deal with all our problems and neither can the "market place alone" mentality of free market business. Neither knows best but if we keep going on our current path, well, kiss what is left of this country good bye.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  106. uppertax

    that's obvious,what you should be asking is when is the next great depression hitting.

    tahlequah. okla.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  107. Snehal Sindhvad

    YES!!! Here's a suggestion – lets make it a point to tell Americans that their beloved America is actually a melting pot of world cultures, and that if the political and economic system is going to drastically improve, its time we get rid of all the useless culturally and religiously biased dinosaurs that are contributing to our country's decline.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  108. A Kirkland

    It isn't the Federal government that is broken, it is American SOCIETY. What is happening in Washington is only a symptom of sickened culture.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  109. Elle

    The greatest problem we face is Milton Friedman/Ayn Rand brand of neoliberalism and globalism, making this government incapable of getting taxes it badly needs, extending the tax cuts to the most wealthy at a time like this is unthinkable. Who are the "Entitled"? The middle class who paid into the system or those who can easily afford to but–now it's against their religion.
    You can't ask one group to sacrifice when they can ill afford to.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  110. David Cary

    Hi Jack,

    Absolutely it's broke. For some real solutions to the economy, unemployment and K12 education see http://www.RedistributeWORK.com . A couple of short videos will give you a new perspective on the root causes and some unconventional solutions.

    Love to talk with you Jack, we've got one heck of a story.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  111. Joyce Grissom, Marshall, TX

    Not beyond repair, we just need to remove the great horses and the great men who can't put the government back together again. We're not Humpty Dumpty!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  112. sara from South Dakota

    Our government officials need to all be impeached for the treason they've put on to the American citizens, for the lack of common sense, and for the corruption that they uphold. Why should they be able to call themselves Americans when they do more harm to Americans than good.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  113. benita ho

    I think the western world has lost touch with reality. Children have no voice and therefore they cannot be heard and instruct lobbyist to represent their interest. Seniors have experience in protecting what is best for them and know how to preserve it. Government needs money to survive. Seniors have it. Kids do not. Remember the saying: No money ... No talk ??!!??

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  114. John

    I'm from Canada, but what i know for sure is what has caused this Recession in the United States is the fact that the bourgeoisie have moved all of their private businesses to China and India and have forgotten that there are still skilled workers that want to be part of the manufacturing industry. American's skills are being forgotten for increased profit and a bigger rise in China's economy. There needs to be new job creation in order to sustain the lost jobs, i think this is a common fact. There's a problem with this because the big companies aren't willing to pay the price for these new jobs.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  115. jbomb

    I think there are a lot of problems with the system. A lot of garbage and legacy things have been tacked on over the years. I would like to see a reorganization or a 3rd party look at how we should run things. There are too many special interests impacting the end results of our government.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  116. thewebdoctor

    Absolutely! Nobody talks about our unfair trade agreements and all those well off fat cat corporations making cheap crap in China and not hiring US workers. I say tax the hell out of them, the banks and wall street. How much more can the middle class take?

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  117. Bruce Marshall

    Yes Jack it is broken, a very wise man once said I will never join any party as I fear that they will care more about the party than the country. And he was right. that man was none other than George Washington.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  118. Joe

    Hi Jack,

    YES! Federal govt does seem broken. I wonder what it will take for us to take to the streets like recent events in N Africa? How can we get these politicians to listen to us?
    Joe in AZ

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  119. Jules Green

    As long as one party does not compromise, and keeps wagging the dog in regards to the middle-class/poor footing the bill, yes. I'm from Canada, and we at least understand that a government needs income...taxes from corporations and the wealthy. At this rate, the U.S. will become a giant sweatshop like China and India..the little folk will be abused, and the mega-rich will reap the rewards. Frankly, I think many politicians in the U.S. right now should be charged with treason, because their goals are NOT the same as the voters.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  120. Brooklyn 2 Brookline

    Although it has MANY issues the conservatives have won if we resign now. Like life itself it's not over, until we give up. I won't give up because it is the world we all share. Broke yes, beyond repair, NO.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  121. Erich Flynn

    Until you can remove the influence of corporate spending on government elections, the answer is yes.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  122. Megandd

    Yes, I do believe our government is broken – badly. I had hoped that Obama would fix many things when he got into office, unfortunately he seems content to be just another cog in the broken-system.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  123. Gabriel

    The government is not broken beyond repair, it is dead! What is left now is just a puppet controlled by the rich, corporations and special interest!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  124. Mark Saunders

    Jack, Sadly, you are probably right. What incentive does congress possibly have to mend its ways? Today's world has no Franklin; no voice of reason to bring about the great compromise our forefathers were wise enough to adopt for the greater good. And history has shown as we are so recently reminded, that few governments will ever take the initiative to fix their own brokenness.

    Mark

    Watertown, Mass

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  125. Barton Grimm

    Yes, but nothing will be done because the average American can't see beyond his/her own backyard. The idea seems to be "I got mine, now go get your own". Most of the government in Washington should be in jail.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  126. Mixed Bag

    Jack-
    The CBO estimated in January that interest payments on U.S. debt will reach $844 billion annually in 10 years...nearly $1 trillion a year devoted exclusively to debt interest payments. What programs will be slashed to ensure that those payments are made? If our political leaders allow this to happen, then yes...the federal government is broken-beyond repair.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  127. Angela Savage Austin Owings Mills, Maryland

    Broken means...out of order...remember the tags....! If every penny counts so should every child. Back to "The Haves" and "The Haves Not" Who will inherit the earth?...The corrupt and evil brought us this far...because they were out of order...broken...now we are broken!!!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  128. Rick Sarmiento

    With the current political system, YES, our federal gov't is broken beyond repair. Our political leaders no longer look out for the best interest of its people, but instead look after the best interest of its lobbying group who have the deeper pockets. I hate to admit it, but most politicians are crooks! May God have mercy on America.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  129. Yani

    Jack,that's rethorical question right?Short answer is-yes,that's what you get,when Fortune 500 takes over the country.Sincerely-Yani,MA

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  130. jim

    Jack-

    The American government is not broken...Americans are broken. They want a balanced budget, but do not want any budget item cut. Only a foreclosure of government debt will stop the madness.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  131. luke

    Jack, This is frightening. I've never seen such inept and draconian methods used. If this continues, there won't be a middle class nor will there be a democracy. What the heck is going on?

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  132. Greg in Arkansas

    I don't think it is broken beyond repair....because anything that is broken CAN be fixed...

    I think it is STUPID beyond repair and everyone knows that you can't fix stupid.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  133. Ryan

    The government is nothing more then a machine under the control of broken operators.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  134. JD in California

    Fareed Zakaria understands what's important and obviously our Senators and House Reps don't have a clue how to tackle the important issues. Excellent CNN special put together last night. Zakaria for President!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  135. Dan

    If not broken, seriously headed beyond hope. I cant underestand the complete disconnect between reality and politicians. Do we have to take to the streets to get Washington to act. Of course the cure is going to hurt everyone–and it should. Otherwise how in the world can it be repaired?

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  136. Jake

    Perhaps our system needs to collapse, as that's the only way anybody will see that it needs to be changed. It takes a slap in the face to show you that it hurts.
    The only problem is nobody can really be trusted anymore, it's not like when we had the founding father; a group of brilliant minds that actually wanted to create something for the good of the people.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  137. L.G Anderson

    Government is not broke ask the 400 Americans that have more money than 150 Million other Americans ???????

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  138. Bob Nicholas

    The biggest problem with our system is with politicians, both democrats and republicans, who are more concerned about making political points than they are about finding solutions.

    Bob of Houston

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  139. Jim H.

    I guess it depends on which phase of the Obama plan we're in...the hope part or the change part. He did say he wanted to "fundamentally change" this country. Looks like he is succeeding. I now know why Limbaugh wanted Obama to fail, now I do too!

    Jim in New York, NY.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  140. Dave in Michigan.

    Come on Jack, it's been broken for a long time. The internet and instant media has finally exposed them for what they are. Wake up people, please......

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  141. Ruben

    Government? I didn;t know we had a government; more like a three ring circus.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  142. joe mish

    Jack...Our politians can lead by example..!st cut their own salary 10% 2nd pay 25% of their health care coverage. And turn their millions in war chest retirement money over to their partys in lieu of Presidential backing funds.........

    March 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  143. Patrick

    Absolutely. It no longer serves the purpose that George Washington and the founding father's intended. But, don't tell anyone, it's classified. I don't know what the "classified" portion of the federal budget is being spent for, and can't ask; if I do, I am subject to investigation.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  144. Jim

    When worry about things like a millionaire having enough money for gas for his yacht while taking food from a child (WIC), you bet it is. When you spend billions trying to conquer the world and forget the people of your own country, you bet it is. When government officials ask subordinates to take cuts in compensation and don't volunteer anything of their, you bet it is. Greed is killing this nation and it is getting worse everyday.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  145. Jason

    Jack,

    No, the Federal Government is not broken beyond repair but it is severely damaged and incapable of serving the will of the people. It will continue to be that way as long as we keep allowing corporations and other special interests groups to dictate policy through political funding and purchasing of our politicians.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  146. Jim from Nicholson,PA

    The federal government has been broken beyond repair for sometime, because the one thing that could restore it, the earning power of the bottom 90%, has never been on the table. In the last 40 years the federal budget has increased by 242% while the median household income has only increased by 29%. This while 80% of all the gains in income has gone to the top 1%, who also get all the tax breaks. So it is no wonder that our federal government has become the mother of all Ponzi schemes, teetering under the weight of its own excesses and corruption and very soon to collapse entirely. I hope living in the North American Union will be bearable because that's whats coming.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  147. David Moskowitz

    Not broken beyond repair. But what it will take to repair is totally beyond the capabilities or interest of the people currently elected to office: Term Limits! Instead of working to get re-elected, maybe they actually work for us. I don't suggest anyone hold their breath waiting. The likelihood Congress critters will take the step is about the same that they'll accept responsibility, stop blaming the other guy, and actually work to resolve the challenges. The again, maybe it is broken, because they won't take the steps necessary to fix it.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  148. Andrew, Ft Worth TX

    It would be the height of pessimism to say that our government is hopelessly flawed. We can fix what is broken. However, false dialog created in the country, that rich people need low income taxes in order to hire people, that lower corporate tax rate will cause investment domestically (even though companies such as GE, ExxonMobil, and Bank of America paid $0 in income tax) has shifted our focus to a false set of choices. We must raise taxes on the rich. We must cut non-discretionary spending. We must do it, and if Washington has the time to pass the humorous "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act", then it is high time we give Independent and Progressive candidates time in office.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  149. Trent

    The government is not broken, it is merely a reflection of society. Financial disasters such as derivatives and sub-primes have rocked the country for decades. Human nature drives people to find a way to exploit others for their own gain. Government should limit this exploitation to prevent personal damage. So why do we think a government in a society that doesn't value each person would represent anything else. Face it America we're not socialists we're capitalists. We gain off others weaknesses; our government is a reflection of our culture. Our collective behavior drives our government policies and our collective behavior is what is destructive not the evil government policies.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  150. John

    I forgot to add my conclusion, sorry.

    There wouldn't need to be a budget if what i said didn't happen.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  151. Dan

    Not broken, just dysfunctional and not serving the people, much like the governments in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, et al.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  152. Karl Bryan Jr.

    The Federal Government is not broken. I think the appropriate question should be " Is the American people broken beyond repair" We voted these clowns into power and now we are reaping the benefits of how we voted. It was only 2 years ago this country was experiencing some of it's darkest financial days catalysed by the same clowns we just put back into power- what did the American people expect?

    March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  153. Alfred Brooks

    Congress can't bebroken unless the American culture is broken and it may be. The American public must take the responsibilyt for its failures.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  154. Smilearth

    Yes, it is broken and it can be repaired. One thing that is most important is to make the public financing of the elections the law of the land. Second, introduce term limits on house members and senators to TWO terms only. Third, make senators term to 4 years instead of the current six years term.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  155. Bill Rajca

    I don't believe it is broken beyond repair, but I fear what it will take for them to get it together and put the spirit and Ideals of what we stand for in front of the special interests and greed that we've come to be about. Is Camelot only a dream or do we have the power to go further than those before us? History has shown the results of the road we're on again and again. Still, I believe we have it in us. What it may take to have us choose that path? I fear it will get worse before better.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  156. Rick (Delaware)

    Jack –
    I would disagree with one word in your question. It's the elected government is that broken beyond repair. It just makes me crazy when the media always lumps government workers in with the knuckleheads on capital hill. Remember, all those representatives on capital hill are from somewhere else. Not from Washington.

    And yes, I am a retired government worker. But I still have faith that it could be fixed. If we don't have that hope, then why bother.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  157. Sumene Surprise,Arizona

    Is the federal government broken beyond repair?

    Jack....The federal government is not broken beyond repair, however, it can be broken if we as a people fail to use our internal resources to supplement the issues of unusual gas inflation due the stupid Libyan president.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  158. Dominick

    Jack,

    The state of disrepair that exists in our federal government is scary. I wouldn't say it is beyond repair but it sure could use a rebuilding effort. I think what our country needs is a group of men much like our founding fathers that care about our country beyond any political, religious or business affiliations to in a sense rebuild the federal government. I do still think such people exist. Our country is falling apart as we speak,, we are still dependent on foreign oil, our education system is failing, and the economy stinks among other things. Drastic action should be taken to fix things and the longer we wait the worse things get.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  159. Steve Harris

    We can repair it.. and here's how. Do away with all the lobbyists and have a 2 year term limit for our senators!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  160. RickFromDetroit

    Yes,it is broken beyond repair, but it can be fixed!
    Cut all entitlements except Social Security so people won't live as long. Cut all funding for the Military except NASCAR, and then start a war. Raise the pay for our Elected Officials and then cut the food stamp program.
    Cut all funding for education except for sports, we wouldn't want to miss the Superbowl.
    The GOP has all of the solutions, just let them have it their way.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  161. Ted hefley

    No the government is not broken it is the same as it has always been. Politicians willing to do anything for a vote. It is the Court that is broken the judges were supposed to keep the government in line and they don't. They are the government's lapdogs!!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  162. sandi

    We have to take abck control by insisting on term limits. All they think anout is keepinh power and keep the voters placated. Its a sad mess.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  163. Chris

    I don't believe the government is beyond repair but it certainly won't be repaired with conventional methods. We voted for something we need and yet fear, Change.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  164. Robert Maximoff

    Congress is the most in need of repair. If they really want to cut wasteful spending, a great way to start would be to cut the number of House representatives in half - that cold save
    billions every day and reduce the size of government with no loss of useful service.

    R. Maximoff, California

    March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  165. Ron in Ohio

    No the government is not broken beyond repair yet. But it will be by the time everyone is done fighting over how to fix it.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  166. DaveRossiter

    Absolutely broken beyond repair. There is no chance of ever fixing this disaster before we all drift over the falls. The debt will escalate until it completely cripples our ailing financial system.
    Generations of the 'gimme' mentality have brought us to the end of the great experiment....and, No....man cannot and is innately incapable of governing himself effectively.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  167. Gayle

    America has always landed on its feet; I see no reason why we should throw in the towel now. Then again, if you look at the prospects for the Republican party nominees for 2012...well, I may have to rethink the situation. Palin, Huckabee? It's bad now, but if this country doesn't find responsible, accountable, and dedicated people to run it who are concerned for the "middle class" working people, it's going to hell in a hand basket.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  168. Jimbo

    No, but if WE the PEOPLE do not kick out Right Wing Conservatives, it will be. There are so many uber-rich awash in cash and controlling the Government now with the Republicans kissing their you-know-what and keeping them from being fairly taxed like the rest of us, it will be years before we can recover.
    I have never seen a Republican Congress so bent on destroying the United States. GOD HELP US

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  169. james Delmore

    Fareen is right!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This government i broken. Congress spends more time protecting themselves so they can get re-elected. If we hired them then maybe we should FIRE all of them now and get some in there that are not affraid to do the things WE THE PEOPLE sent them there to do.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  170. Vicky

    Yes, I agree with you and Zakaria. Our Government is broken and beyond repair and it's time for CHANGE. Republicans and Democrats are not able to compromise, which has resulted in a broken Government. Also, I agree with Zakaria 100%. We do not need bigger or smaller Government, we need a new Government. One Government – a united one party Government. We are a United States of America.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  171. Beth S.

    The government is not broken. This generation is. We all have so much knowledge at our fingertips these days, and we're confusing that with wisdom. Previous generations worked toward a better future for our country and our children. This generation is spoiled, and entitled. Corporate heads don't want to share with the middle-class, workers feel entitled to rights that won't compete with the global stage, and our children think education is drudgery instead of a gift. We're getting what we deserve.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  172. mark melikan

    broke way beyond repair. We need Bachman and Palin in the white house to get us back on track. They know how to make it happen.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  173. Rbonuc29@yahoo.com

    I don't know what more has to occur for us to go back to the way it use to be. The former era which featured employment security domestic products little globalization small gov. And one language one culture.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  174. Rogeer Hintz

    It is broke beyond repair. They only think of themselves and not what is good for the nation or the American people they supposedly represent. Corruption is rampant. They solve nothing and the American people are paying for it because of their lunacy. The whole is point – they simply do not care! They are laughing at the American people! They want to rule by oppression.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  175. Steve Z. Michigan

    Our goverment has needed to be overhauled for years. I was hoping and I guess praying, that the people WE hiried to do this job were able to make quality dicissions for the people of the USA. I have to say how disappointing it is that our best minds can't agree on daily. I'm very scared for my children and their future in this country. After I'm gone, what will happen to them?? Will our goverment still be trying to balance the buget???? Or will our children suffer???

    March 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  176. Donald dowling

    If as u say it's broke it needs fix in. Seems like clarity could be the answer. With all the new teck stuff can't we make the fed budget so easy to understand so all people can have an input as to how to fix. We clearly cannot afford all these entitlements!! Let's see what they are!!! Give us a clear picture and let us decide. Thanks jack.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  177. Sam in Florida

    We're not out, just down. Our two Party system is rather like a Class system and should be abolished! Why do we have to take sides and line up opposite each other...no wonder nothing gets done! We need to keep politicians hands out of our social security (put back what they stole when there was a surplus!) and instead trim down the amount of bureaucrats in Washington! And the GOP might want to leave Big Bird alone least he decides to do to them what they ALL are doing to us !

    March 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  178. Candi

    Cracked, but maybe not broken, yet. We've had a large portion of the general public with their collective heads in the sand. Voting in folks like Wisconsin governor without really knowing who and what they are. America needs to wake up, get informed and start making well thought out choices for our elected officials. We do have to come to terms with our debt and make deeper cuts. We're killing the middle class and when we are all dead then we will be totally broken.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  179. Robert

    Jack, please you and the rest of the media are giving the Republicans too much of a pass!!! Listen, Republicans would not give an inch during the Tax Negotiations with The President unless they got a nearly Trillion Dollar tax cut for the Millionaires and Billionaires!!!! How about "Reversing that Tax Cut and apply that money to our current Deficit???????????

    March 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  180. david (Alabama)

    BROKEN! Not even close. Energy prices are "necessarily skyrocketing". Seems to me like we are on the course Obama wants us on!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  181. Jason in Novato, CA

    Jack,

    No, the Federal Government is not broken beyond repair but it is severely damaged and incapable of serving the will of the people. It will continue to be that way as long as we keep allowing corporations and other special interests groups to dictate policy through political funding and purchasing of our politicians.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  182. Aaro Bell-Reid

    Yes, the federal government is broken beyond repair because it malfunctions constantly, and to effectively repair anything, you must first have a clear understanding of how it works. The American public and the members of that public whom we send to Congress have an understanding of bicycles, while the task at hand is to rebuild the engine of a Ferrari.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  183. David Nova Scotia

    Yes, yes and yes again Jack! America is on a steep decline as a world super power. Not a word has been said that Israel now knows that America having spent billions on defense in the Middle East is longer in charge. Add to this Jack to the fact that, Al Qaeda and he Taliban have no army, navy, air force and no marines and have tied Americans hands and will win in the long run. America spends more money on defense than all other countries combined and as Sect. Gates has said one more war will kill the USA. Dare we even start on health care and education for the true blood lines of America. Having said all this I believe America can survive by eating crow and doing what must be done as suggested by your wise elders recently.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  184. Thomas

    You can tell it is broken. All anyone needs to do is look at the yahoos that were/are running for office or are in office. We have witches who know nothing of the First Amendment. Candidates who think Latinos look Asian, who don't know when to quit when they lost, and one who thinks the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi was not that bad when he was growing up. An easy perspective from a portly white kid. Let's not forget all the "headless bodies." That was a rich one. And in Florida they elect a person whose personal ethics are just two steps above nonexistent. Is Government Borken? It is in shatters. There was a time when people like these, and the others waiting in the wings, would have been laughed out of any change of obtaining office. Now, it is a job requirement.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  185. Patrick Boyle

    No. Congress might be, but not our government. The government somehow continues to function in spite of Congress.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  186. Shawn in Fresno

    It seems to look that way. Being born in the 80's, all I've known is a government ran by the corporations. The question is what will it take to make America or its leaders change. Hopefully we kick out the established elites that have formed family monarchy's in our country, like the bush's, clintons, and Kennedys. What we need is a natural born leader, not the next heir to the thrown. Unfortunitly most twenty somethings my age are wondering when Jersey Shore is coming on, not how our government should be ran.

    Shawn

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  187. Karl in Mich

    When we were in our hay day, the wealthy were making their wealth. Some lost it all in 29, stood in soup lines in the 30s and made it all back and then some in the 40s and 50s. They respected the middle class that helped them built their companies and they helped the less fortunate become middle-class. It was the right hing to do. Today, their children and grand children that never worked a day in their lives sit on their inheritances without a clue as to how it was made and who helped make it. Until today’s wealthy acknowledge that the country isn’t going anywhere but downhill until they return to the ethics of their ancestors and support this country again, it’s a lost cause. Corporations have always owned our government, but they used to treat us a lot better.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  188. David, Marietta, GA

    Fareed is right about what's wrong with America today. I don't think that the federal government is "broken," but it has certainly been hijacked by the wealthier parts of our society, including big business. Big Bird doesn't have much to do with their bottom lines. So, he's a goner! It really is a shame that we Americans can't see much beyond the ends of our own noses. THAT is what is broken here.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  189. Mike in Delaware

    Of course the economy can be fixed. It won’t be easy, but that’s ok because Americans excel at hard fixes. One thing though, if you really do think the economy is broken beyond repair, you damn well better have something to replace it with besides rhetoric.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  190. Jon

    Jack,
    The farther the rich and every body else get apart, the more broken it gets. Can we fix it? Yes. Will we? Maybe not, as people like Wisconsin Governor Walker and the billionaire Koch Brothers are proof. When someone gets to the billion mark, isn't that enough? Apparently not, as they are trying to kill the middle class and unions in the name of greed and power. We have to get rid of corporate donations and lobbiests first or the one with the most money will rule. I see Ohio, Florida, and Indiana are following in Walker's footsteps. Hitler and Stalin got rid of the unions too.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  191. John Biddle

    Yes because they are no longer public servants but instead they are politicians.They do not represent the people but their lobbyists.They should be required to wear jump suits like NASCAR showing who they really represent.We should draft people to be public servants to eliminate the re-election sale of our govt. In the meantime to address the deficit for every dollar cut there should also be a dollar increase in a tax. everyone suffers and then when balanced can work together to re-establish our nation as the best not the best money can buy!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  192. david bidlack

    the republican party and its presidents looking at the FACTS has borrowed allmost all of the suplus money out of the social sucerity system to off set their out of control deficit spending. the social sucerity system has had nothing to do with the current budget deficit we have now. the total borrowed is now $2.5 trillion dollars which i might add is baby boomers money paid in.republicans are still for supporting their failed supply side economics along with their failed trickle down economics which was supposed to make americans lives better. the corperations and the very rich have been riding the gravy train for years while average american incomes have been froozen in place for over 25 years! want to fix the budget? get the money from the gravy train for a change.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  193. thomas

    Jack- Well i hate to say it but it is. And if we keep cutting what u called "chunk change", we'll eventually fall into another great deppression.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  194. Fern from Colorado

    Is the government broken? I believe yes, there has been a loss of focus on what the federal government's purpose is and what we want it to do. There really needs to be a refocusing. It is idiotic that the politicians are focused on cutting the deficit in a time of recession, the focus should be on protecting our assets like education and infrastructure. There are things that everyone agrees we want from the government, we want the roads paved, our children educated, police and firefighters to protect our streets and those items are the ones being cut. While the rich and corporations are given tax breaks. What sense does that make.

    I do think the government can be fixed, it just needs to be re focused on what we want as a people want, not what corporations want. And not what was needed 50 or 200 years ago.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  195. Rosalie Gorecki

    Definitely yes. Politicians can talk all they want about bipartisanship, but the truth is, no one wants to work together.....and worse, NO ONE is working for the people. We elect politicians that are supposed to act as the voice of the people, but in reality they are the voice of the highest bidder.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  196. Alex in Richmond, Va.

    Jack, sorry to say, but, "broken beyond repair" is the correct diagnosis.
    But we have a "way out" of our political mess. Thomas Jefferson said that a country needs a revolution every 200 years for it takes that long for the once democratic institutions to become so corrupted as to be unresponsive to the "general will" of the population. So that's where we are. The solution lies in a "New Spirit of 1776", a new contract that will address the current undemocratic institutions and guide the country for the next 200 years.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  197. hank

    Jack, things are so bad that unless YOU pay your taxes by aprll 15, the lights at the White House will go out ! .....but seriously, the gov't spends 5 Billion more than it takes in each and every day; but that's only the part we know about.....believe me, worse has yet to come.

    .

    March 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  198. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The federal government is broken with corruption but not beyond repair. But who do we turn to, our Supreme Court Justices?

    March 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  199. Annie Davis

    I feel like the Stealers Wheel recording:

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you…

    Most of us are stuck in the middle between the politicians on the right and the left who are behaving like school children instead of doing what is best for the American people. Did all of us who are adults give up already?

    March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  200. Ray

    This gov along with everyone dosnt want to fix anything. Everyone knows what it takes , securing the border. Cutting globalisim down. Stoping multi culturalisim , start Making domestic products. Raise taxes to appropriate levels. Deporting everything all these third wolrders. Reverse the attack on Anglo Saxon culture. And return back to pre 90's , One language one culture one religion.

    The solution is not a mystery. like mr conary said in the untouchables

    Its all walking through the door

    March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  201. June Young

    All we have to do is pay congress minimum wage and make them pay for their own healthcare. The National debt will be paid off in a couple of years.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  202. greg

    I have been watching this so-called new Congress. They have had more than enough people with all those committees to know how to fix the problem now. I mean really, how many time does Ben Bernanke have to answer the same questions? Too bad the Tea Party got fooled for their votes. The Republicans are completely sidestepping the budget now. Its to President Obama advantage by not say anything to congress about getting their act together. Some president....

    March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  203. Barbara Rhodes

    No. I do not believe that the federal government is broken beyond repair. However, I do believe that serious steps need to be taken to squash the self-absorbed "me" concept that drives political decisions. As an elected official you have been chosen to look out for the people
    (ALL Americans), not to make decisions based on whether or not it is a smart move to get re-elected. What ever happened to doing what was right because it was simply the right thing to do – regardless of how it affected your own personal outcome. All this tug of war between political parties is not only harming our chances for a recovery, but creating a culture that supports and defends confusion and denies possibilities and opportunities for advancement. Seriously, watching our so-called elected leaders fight it out is worse than watching children on a play ground fighting over who won King of the Hill. At least children learn to work it out and do so quickly. It's not too late to move forward if our elected officials would just grow up and learn to work together to solve the nation's problems and maintain our great Country.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  204. Fred

    Jack: It's been my conclusion for some time now that the wonderful experiment which was America is on the wane. For too long, the American people failed to pay attention as the special interests grabbed for more and more power and influence. We have deluded ourselves that things were as wonderful as we remembered from earlier days when actually its all been slipping away. The kind of needed change which might turn things around is not possible at this point because we have become hamstrung by an endless parade of special interests more interested in their own perks and agendas then what is needed to refit the nation for a new reality. If we can't make important change – beyond cutting childrens programing- we will gradually slide into the mediocrity we deserve.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  205. Dave, WV

    Yes, it broken! All the Republican in the the house of representative wants to blame the President for everything...and wants to stop any progress that can be made by working together...and help the working class. And all Democrats in senate are trying to stop all the Republican in the House from passing law that will set back the last two years...What happen to the government of the people, by the people and of the people! All of them are worried about following the party line, but not helping the people of their state or this country!

    March 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  206. Pat Wolfe

    I have watched as our citizens have banned together to provide help all over the world. I would like to see all the people America has made wealthy line up and give back. All the movie stars could have fundraisers, all the very wealthy could give and all given money could be put toward paying down the deficit. Why not ask taxpayers to give $5 toward paying down the deficit instead of giving to political campaigns. I think, as usual, you would see the have nots giving more, in comparison to what they have, than all these ever so wealthy people who flaunt their jewels, homes, cars, clothes,etc. etc. Then let us not foget who was in office as our factories left and our ports were sold. Let us somehow get pass all the spin and fearmongering and seek out the truth for it is true...the truth will set us free.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  207. Donald English

    Short answer: Yes. I think the Government has lost touch with its citizens. Spending is horribly out of control, there is no clear plan to fix it. The Dems and Republicans are more concerned with fixing blame rather than fixing problems. Fighting over controlling spending is paramount to the pilot and co-pilot of an out of control aircraft fighting over what to do and playing the blame game while the aircraft speeds out of control towards the ground... if someone doesn't take control soon, it'll result in a smoking hole in the ground. In my opinion, we should reset the game, reboot the computer, start over again... burn the furniture. Wholesale clearance of the government officials. Fresh blood and fresh ideas should be introduced. Our Officials' vast experience and knowledge has all but doomed us, what harm can a Freshman do?

    March 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  208. Bruce

    Yes Jack,
    Lets remember, C is for cookie. D is for democrat, R is for republican, and B is for bi-partisan. Our members of congress have forgotten thier ABC's. Maybe we need to send them back to school. Or at least watch some PBS childrens programs to learn how to behave with others who disagree.

    Bruce in Colorado

    March 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  209. Ted from Hershey, PA

    Almost Jack. A house hold budget with a 1.65 Trillion deficit would have to have a spending cut of $1.65 Trillion – what don't we understand?? And we still haven't gotton our Socal Security and Medicare sustainable! (does this mean we won't get these later?)

    March 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  210. Neil

    In a word, yes. The current status of our government is that of a corporate interest section – thus generally incapable of acting in national self interest. Examples? US diplomatic staff being required to pimp for well known defense contractors and oil interests. Wrap into that the basically useless attempts to introduce legislation that would curtail the possibility of another financial collapse ( compare with UK which broke up banks, slashed defense etc ) and the health insurance friendly 'health care reform' which only further empowers the insurance companies and ensures costs will only go up ( no competition here please ). Drop on a dollop of all the lovely taxpayer money being poured into defense ( even the pentagon does not know where close to 20% of its budget goes – an audit?? ) courtesy of lobbying with almost no oversight – and you have at the next collapse, driven by this leaching of the country, a recipe for Egypt like scenes in the US.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  211. Joe Ft Walton Bch Fl

    Not as far I am concern. I am still getting my check every month.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  212. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Does it matter? Even if our govt. were working perfectly we've got all kinds of politicians who can't wait to break it just to suit their own political purpose. A broken govt. is a great excuse to cut funding where it's needed, strip away regulations that hurt big business but help the people, and best of all, fingerpointing! No matter who's responsible, at election time it's always the other party's fault that our lives, economy, etc. are miserable. It' s broken on purpose, and as long as those with big money are funding our politicians campaigns, it's going to stay that way.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  213. Don Gugliuzza Rockford, IL

    Yes, the government is broken and the question is, "Who broke it?" Three groups did. The voters who keep re-electing political hacks who have no interest in anything but their own power and re-election, the corporate executives who finance those people and the American citizen, most of whom don't take the time to vote and if they do, don't pay attention to those they vote for.
    It's time we reform the campaign laws so that no one can buy an elected official or an entire congress. We have to educate most Americans on their duty to vote and how to select a candidate. And, lastly, we have to find candidates who don't believe in P.C., and don't want to be idolized by those who have no talent, skills or guts to run for office: the HANGER'S ON.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  214. Raymer

    We're fighting an ideological war in Washington. Big bird and Telitubbies were not in "Nova" boat of the conservatives, therefore, they must be eliminated.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  215. Rebecca

    Seeing an earlier Franklin quote, (a Republic, if you can keep it) made me think of John Marshall's quote:

    "... a constitution, intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs."

    Both are printed in the back of my pocket constitution; I carry it with me everywhere. I'm a history student, and I can't help but look at the Deceleration, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, even the Articles of Confederation the most brilliant pieces of political theory. Our Founding Fathers were all brilliant men; Jefferson even lamented that his work in politics took his time away from his scientific studies.

    What they founded was a government of, by, and for the people. It's time we resurrected that idea. It's ridiculous that we live in a time when corporations are treated as individuals.

    Is the system broken? Yes, severely. Is it irreparable? No, I don't think so. We need major reform; this party system has long been dysfunctional. Our political documents have long been ignored. It is time for the feds to devolve.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  216. Tom Penrod

    No Jack, the system is not broken, but the corporate lobbyists have hijacked it. They railroad through legislation that hurts Americans and benefits only the rich. This is as anti-America as you can get. They perpetuate lies, claim that they are the only ones who can create jobs, and foist this notion upon the American public that they are the very essence of free enterprise. Poppycock! It is time to hold the rich accountable to their own standards and correct this horrible injustice. They are cowards that hide behind their money and isolation and claim it is for the betterment of our great society. Well, step up you meager 1% and make us proud of you, or suffer the wrath of the other 99%.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  217. Don Illionois

    The old adage that no man can serve two masters has been proven wrong by the politicians of both parties. They serve themselves and the big donors to their campaign funds.
    Until the people do something about both, our government will continue to be broken.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  218. Harald

    The broken government is merely a symptom of our broken and misinformed society. Too many of us vote for candidates based on the blatant lies that are allowed to flood our media. We are too angry to be able to make rational decisions about the future. We listen and applaud the (mostly extreme right-wing) propaganda. If the United States were a person, he/she would be considered insane. Over the past decades it has been shown that the biggest deficits are created under Republican "leadership". So what did we do in the last election, we voted them in again in the hope of reducing the deficit.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  219. Donald English

    Broken! Whatever happened to the Government "Of the People, for the people, by the people". Knock off the "Blame Game", Grow up and run the country! Mr. Obama should step in, take control, fire Senate and Congress, hold emergency elections and start over.

    Kingsville, TX

    March 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  220. Mike S.

    Nothing is beyond repair, not the federal government, state and local government, the media or greedy corporations. And having worked for many decades with government at all levels I can tell you that for the most part government workers are dedicated to service and worthy of our respect and it turns my stomach to see so many people turning to government as a scapegoat for a society that has lost it's way. So where is the villain? Let's start with the "me" generation that is so focused on "instant gratification", whether in the quarterly report or the latest in gadget, that tackling problems over years or decades is beyond their ability to even conceptualize. We need people that think big thoughts and that can articulate them and we need media that builds up those big thoughts instead of tearing them down. We need to squeeze the shorts, shoot the bears, and get back to a positive and people centric focus on the future.

    March 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm |