February 26th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Single most serious problem facing U.S. today?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been more than two years since I addressed the subject of our broken government on CNN - and in that time, things have gone from bad to worse.

Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, you're cordially invited to join me for an hour guaranteed to depress you. Not only is the government broken, the questions about whether it can be fixed are growing larger every day.

Just this week we've talked about:

  • 75 percent of you think federal government officials are dishonest
  • 86 percent of you think the government is broken
  • $25 million of stimulus money spent for airport scanners that sit in storage somewhere - while some of the nation's busiest airports go without them
  • Congress might as well go home. The House has passed 290 bills - the Senate has acted on none of them
  • By 2019, it's estimated the national debt will rise to about $23 trillion dollars - that's more than one-third of the gross domestic product of the entire world
  • At five percent interest, it will cost the taxpayers more than $1 trillion a year - without paying a single dime on the debt itself. Just interest.
  • There are tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities for Medicare, and the Social Security Trust Fund consists of nothing but IOUs - which we taxpayers are also paying interest on - some trust!

It's a long list, but if you've got an hour to spare tonight, I hope you'll join me because if there's any chance at all to stop this country from circling the drain, it's going to be the average American citizen who ultimately makes it happen.

The Show airs immediately following this broadcast at 7 p.m. ET

Here’s my question to you: What do you consider the single most serious problem facing the U.S. today?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dan writes:
The wealthy and major corporations’ control over our political process is the most serious problem. This is the root cause, everything else is a symptom. Why else would we give tax breaks for exporting jobs, looking the other way for years as illegal immigrants take over jobs and cost middle class treasures for their education, social programs and health care costs – while their CEOs reap the benefits!

Richard writes:
My suggestion for the single most serious problem facing the U.S. today: unmotivated, lazy, greedy Americans who only care about money, and a society that allows its population to worship wealth and material possessions.

Hayden writes:
A lack of comprehensive science and political education early on in kids' lives. Without a good foundation for skeptical and rational thinking provided by science, and an understanding of politics provided by better civics curricula, we can't possibly hope to have a well-educated population or better future. The U.S. routinely lands worst in science and mathematics education in the developed and industrial world, but we used to be the best. What happened?

Sherry in Denver writes:
Unemployment! My husband's been out of work for over a year. We had to move from our beautiful home because we couldn't afford the payments. I'm getting close to retirement age, my legs are shot, my back is gone, but I have to keep on working until? I'd go to the cemetery and wait but I can't afford the grounds fee.

Kent in Overland Park, Kansas writes:
I think the single biggest problem facing 'US' is that we are so separated as a people and are even further away from our government. Our people are falling into a deep depression and many are feeling helpless, and hopelessness is the only thing they see. The 'times' have broken many peoples spirit. It's this unique spirit that Americans seem to have had in the past that keeps us going, keeps our compassion for one another alive, keeps 'US' moving forward.

Filed under: United States
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Carol Lambert

    The lack of ethics and a sense of morality in all walks of life, but most especially in government. It spends our money without compunction, with absolutely no accountability, on much that we all, given the choice, could and would willingly do without. It lies, cheats, and deceives with an arrogant sense of entitlement and feels no loyalty to those it serves. We have allowed our elected officials to mold themselves after King George III, only they have done a better job of it than he did. It's time for the people revolt.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  2. EM

    Congress pure and simple. It's incompetency is more than outrageous...this administration has presented many solutions to mitigate the economical problems of the nation but the inablility of the congress to do the very thing they were elected to do for the American people is why our nation has not progressed as we should. What happened to humility in the government? Everyone is now too arrogant for compromise. Not only that, but the level of blatant ignorance that has persisted in this nation for the past year is beyond reason. What happend to the Pledge of Alliance to this Nation? How have we become so spineless?

    February 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  3. Joshua Scott

    The biggest problem is the fact that money is debt and is not backed by anything of actual value. Everytime we deposit $100 into a bank they then can create a loan of $1,000. This is money created out of thin air. Our system of constant consumption for growth is unsustainable and total collapse must happen at some point. Debt is increasing yet we must consume for our market to grow.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  4. Dave Feldstein

    The single biggest problem we have is that the elected officials are in the pockets of big banks,big pharma,big insurance,big Agriculture and they vote to spend our money . Every law they make benefits somebody who donated to them to keep them in power.
    They spend our money in a way they would never do with their own money.
    They vote raises for themselves and benefits that no one has except them and hide it in other bills.
    Change the election laws so corporations cannot donate to politicians
    only citizens and very limited. Then make the TV stations who have Federal licenses donate a certain amount of free time for the politicians this is their biggest expense costing hundreds of millions.
    This way they would not be beholding to the corporations.
    Stop their ability to hide unrelated items in bills that are unrelated.

    Then they might spend our money wisely.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  5. Jack

    We would all like things we don't have and can't afford but in reality most of us are doing fine. We can not continue to borrow money to finance the present and purchase expensive things for ourselves and expect our children to pay for them. The most serious threat to this nation is the growing national debt and the unwillingness to either control or repay any of it. Our government is a terrible business manager that would be bankrupt if it was in the private sector or was a household. If our government was a corporation it would be targeted for re-engineering and totally new management.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  6. Rob

    You gotta love the fact that the US Congress has a self admitted tax cheat writing tax laws the rest of us are expected to obey. Meanwhile Pelosi blindly closes her eyes to the very corruption surrounding her and "the most ethical congress ever". What a great country!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  7. Anna

    Jack, YES! YES! YES! They need to pass this any way necessary. We already have a 60 vote signed bill that passed on Dec.24.
    I would like them to add on a public option before they go to reconciliation. I give the Senators thanks, with the courage to stand up for the people. My husband age 58 lost his job in '08 and we are paying COBRA (R= reconciliation). We have pre-existing conditions and pray everyday for the CHANGE we voted for in '08. We voted in a majority of DEMS to pass the people's will. We do not want them to go step by step down a republican road to nowhere. It was obvious yesterday the (R) don't want to pass any reform. They would do away with Soc. Sec. if they could. The DEMS need to do it NOW and do it right.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  8. Christopher Luckey

    Jack, That's easy. The answer can be summed up in one word, 'Republicans.' Obviously, these people care more about their own parochail partisan interests than the good of the nation. Look what they left us after 8 years in control; just look what they are doing now.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  9. Mike

    After WW2 we had a massive national debt but we produced things which people wanted. Cars, planes clothing, etc. Thus we were able to pay down the debt. China was not a financial problem or an industrial power house as they are now. Russia was only a military problem and India was nowhere to be seen. Now all we produce are pieces of toxic financial paper, manufactured by Wall Street, which nobody wants and who can blame them. At the same time China, Russia and India have stepped onto the world stage big time. By 2025, I'm convinced we shall be the United Banana States of America.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  10. Kathleen

    The single biggest problem is... we have allowed all our manufacturing to move to China and other countries. How can you "buy" American when we make NOTHING! We have outsourced our future and have past the point of no return....name one company that is willing to close their China factory and reopen here in America and put the people that buy the products back to work...Bet you can't.-and thats why we have failed our founding fathers...basic greed.

    The government is led by elected officials that are not there for us...they are there for themselves. They have a health care plan we all would love to have, and could never afford and they get if for life and we pay for it, yet they are fighting over what they believe is what is best for the rest of us...wake up America!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  11. Ray

    I think the most serious problem facing our country today is: UNEMPLOYMENT.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  12. Joe from Brigantine, NJ

    It seems to me that the Republican party has made a strategic decision to absolutely stymy any and all efforts to pass legislation in the Senate and to try to do likewise in the House. They believe that the American public will blame Obama, who the Republicans want out of the Presidency, and elect a Republican President and also vote the Republican Party back in control in Congress. The fact that their actions, or lack thereof, are absolutely not in the best interest of the country seems not to bother them one iota. Tells one quite a bit about our system, Jack. Term limits and meaningful campaign finance reform are the only way out of this mess.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  13. azhar

    Interest based economy. Period. Imagine, if the govt. could wipe off all interest from all debt to other nations , (public and private) weather its housing, auto loan, credit card or commercial loans or nation building loans whatever, and ask the other nations to do the same to U.S loans. And then do the math. I guarantee you J.C that in the end America will win economically.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  14. Dr. Kenneth S. White

    Greed, greed, greed, disproportionate politics along with lack
    of common sense! Are we to sit by and watch this great country slip to third world status while our so called elected officials squander away our chidrens future? Come on people, do you really think your constituents are stupid enough to elect you to another term? Were all watching with discust ! DW

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  15. Bina Bhakta

    Lack of accountablity and responsibility from the individual, moving up the ladder of our government. Until that changes, nothing else will.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  16. Janet Elwood

    (Your blog told me I had repeated my submission , when I have never written you before! So here it is, again for the first time:)
    We decidedly need the reconciliation vote for the health bill. Since 1980, the reconciliation vote has been used 22 times: 16 by the Republicans and 6 by the Democrats. That looks like it could be called ramming, but not by the Dems.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  17. Benjamin S Keller

    Separation of Corporation and State.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  18. Lukas Bradley

    The inability of the American citizen to come to grips with the United States dwindling in power and influence. Our impressive growth since 1950 will not be maintained through the early part of the 21st century, and other countries will challenge our hegemonic position. Pride, coupled with the expectation we should be the wealthiest and most powerful nation, will cause unnecessary economic and military confrontation, leading to a much weaker society.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  19. Nick San Diego


    February 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  20. Peter

    The biggest problem facing the USA is the fact that too many Americans think that the political process is simply some kind of football game among two teams. Too many American pick a team, then only care that their team scores as many points as possible and defeats the other team. Bipartisanship to these people is as crazy as asking the Yankees and Red Sox to negotiate a final score in a game. But history reportedly shows us that when one party has the Presidency and another party has the congress, this is the best scenario for progress. One party rule across the board is a mistake. But you will never convince the team zombies and many radio talk show entertainers who are convinced that complete Republican victory will make everything OK. Yah right, just like last time. Why do I have the feeling that we are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

    February 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  21. NRMD

    This is the most broken country in the world. The fact is, no one can even think of fixing it. It can not be fixed. Even if do not barrow a penny from now on and leave the debt as it is, it will grow over 2000 Trillions by year 2100. If this debt unaddressed, can wipe off US from the map. The single most problem for US right now is its own debt: US Debt genocide. Currently, US is surviving on barrowed economy. The Country, states, people, students and even unborn are in huge debt. No US president is immuned to this debt virus. US is addicted to debt.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  22. Andre' W.

    To put all the problems in one, the problem is- we are not making wise decisions. We are throwing money here and there irresponsibly. Not cool at all, the government talks about lowering the deficit, yet they still increase it. This is getting absolutely ridiculous. This country is getting irresponsible in many ways. In some ways, i think we reached a place of complacency, which is not good. And its 100% that some government officials are not honest. I believe they should not be in office, they don't deserve it. and yes, i said that. The American people wants a government that can work together in honesty, a government that can actually work things out responsibly and do more action, than talk so much. thank you.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  23. Wendell H

    From a State's standpoint, I don't think there are too many states that can beat Hawaii! Our educational system is broken, the state has NO MONEY, our mayor is trying to force a rail system on us and our self serving legislators gave themselves a 38% pay raise last year to boot!
    Lately, the gambling option was being considered for our beautiful State
    and our overtaxed residents. We definitely need to faces in Congress and in the 50th State for sure! Voting for a change! Aloha!

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    February 26, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  24. Zac, ATL

    Unemployment. Once every one is back to work (and paying taxes), the debt problem will solve itself as long as we don't pass any more trillion dollar tax cuts, launch any more trillion dollar wars, or elect any trillion dollar borrow-and-spend Republicans. "Fiscal conservatives" my foot.

    As for the Social Security debacle, remember Al Gore's "lockbox"? Why didn't that ever happen? Oh right...

    February 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  25. Nick

    It is depressing to see how the Democrats appear so weak they never constituted a formidable opposition,and now too unstable to manage their majority in the Congress. They can use reconciliation to move their agenda forward only if they have masculine fortitude to show. But they don't seem to have any. After all, out of the 22 times this procedure has been used the Congress, the Republicans have used it 16 times, and the heavens did not fall. Please Jack tell these men to be men enough and show some resilience and stop letting these Republicans from tutoring them on how to be united and purposeful.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  26. Leonard Allen

    The intransigent Republicans who put us in the mess we are in are the countries biggest problem. They are corrupt, incompetent, arrogant and they don't care a whit about the citizens of this country. They bow to the people who give them money and favors.

    The are some Democrats in that boat, too and they are complicit in this. But it is the Republicans, mostly in the Senate who do nothing but block change. Yet, they looked the other way and gave us the mess we are in for the eight years preceding Obama.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  27. shannon

    The4 national debt

    February 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  28. Kim R Johnson

    Jack, that's easy. GOVERMENT.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  29. Donovan Henderson NV

    I really think something is going to trigger a major upheaval, and it won't be the next election. Laws and votes are not going to change the course of our nation or of the world; unfortunately only force can change things now. We live in truly scary times.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  30. Chart Westcott

    Jack, Debt and budget issues are clearly the biggest problems facing America. We spend way beyond our means. Doesn't matter if you're talking about the spending on the wars abroad, the unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security, Homeland Security, Pork, Stimulus, or whatever. It is all way too much and it all needs to be reduced.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  31. Andrew Rodney

    B'klyn, NY ...coporate owned senators and congressmen!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  32. Graham

    The fact that the baby boomers will continue to have control of this country for another 15-20 years.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  33. Gigi Oregon

    Corporate Greed, IRS and Lobbyist.
    How can the problems be changed when the people who are guilty have all the power. We need to go to a fair flat tax and ban all lobbing.
    As a family grows budgets have to be raised and plans change. What ran a house hold in 2001 would not run the same in 2010. It's the same with this nation we can not live or operate a country in this century with a 1998 budget.
    Yes the budget will grow along with the population. But we do need to get rid of the greed. Do you think it would help if the greedy helped pay down the debt or help to break even. What if the next generation feels they don't want or can afford to pay for Bushes war. Who's going to pay for it?

    February 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  34. jerry

    Hopefully, we voters have awakened to the mess that those elected to Congress have completely let the American people down. They have set themselves up to an unbelieveable pension and medical plan. They ignore our feelings about spending more money than is taken in and continue to drive our grandchildren deeper in depth.
    In the upcoming elections if any body votes for an incumbent they will have no one to blame but themselves. Blame cannot be given to any one party. Bush started the rampant spending that the deficit started and the Democrats have expanded that beyond belief.
    The phones at the Capital should be continually ringing off the hook telling our Representatives and Senators enough is enough. No more. Start representing us.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  35. H. Tran

    The biggest problem facing the US is that bills being produced in congress are drawn by a one sided agenda. Too many bills get thrown into congress without consideration of the effects it has on some people; therefore, those people are considered "misrepresented" and feel like the system is neglecting them. Also, the problem gets worse as more "self interest" groups develop where they are only interested in their own agenda and refuse to resolve conflict in a "I have to win" culture rather being in a "how can we make things more productive" culture. Such attitudes are clearly showing in the political sectors and remain obvious.

    A short way of saying it:
    "It's like fighting over an object but the winner wins it after it's damaged so badly."

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  36. Tchalla

    The Biggest problem the U.S. face is to elect people with (R) and (D)s in front of their names.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  37. Brian Bott

    Does our system of checks and balances need to be re-balanced ? When our Constitution, which could not be passed as written, and the first ten of the twelve proposed revisions was enacted as a packege, our country and our world was a much different place. Our Senior legislative body, the "deliberative" chamber has powers to "hold" appointments, both houses stuff legislation with entitlements and members of both parties coerce deals that benefit very narrow local or contributor groups. Taking one for the team has come to mean the political party instead of our country. I recieve ( fund raising ) "critical national issue" questionaires from both national party offices and at the risk of being shot by Palin-istas or sued by PC-istas, these "issue questionaires" are written by morons for imbeciles. The silent majority of fiscally conservative, socially liberal Amercians needs a thirs middle choice in the executive office, who can be elected with enough legislative support to legally make changes in the way we govern.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  38. Joe California

    I think it's media folks like yourself, asking trick questions about problems facing the U.S. But, let's try, the wars, unemployment,health care,dishonest elected people,etc. Look about you today, the country is changing in front of our eyes. We have'nt seen anything yet. Wait until we stop fighting "our wars" and the troops come home. You will see changes beyond belief. Those folks are going to demand more than you or I, is willing to give.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  39. Jesus Cervera

    Use my social security and medicare taxes on just that, social security and medicare. Ronald Reagan, with the blessing of Alan Greenspan starting diiping on these taxes to balance his budget, with the help of the Democratic congress, of course. Do not use these taxes on the bloated defense budget or giving contracts to defense contractors

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  40. jacqueline becker

    Have we as a nation gotten so soft in the middle (as in Paul Simon's song Call me Al), that we no longer have the willpower or desire to make things happen? I don't see a strong work ethic anymore. I don't see people willing to make sacrifices I don't see people willing to put community above their immediate, individual needs, which are really desires, not necessities. I see a country about nothing – like a Seidfeld episode – cute – but meaningless. Am I just jaded or have we lost our core values? I think this country was built on a waste not, want not mentality. Now we are wasteful and keep wanting – carbs, drugs, alcohol, electronics, clothes, shoes, vacations, nail salons, spas, we want it all, we want more and more and more, we are never satisfied, and we want the freedom to keep consuming. And this constant craving is what we intend to export everywhere. What kind of planet can sustain this kind of lifestyle?

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  41. Mike from Boyne City

    Think about where we were and where we will be in the future. A Congress that has accomplished little or nothing [remember the first 100 day deal]; stumulus money given to banks, auto companies and state/local governments that created how many real jobs? Much less saved any. Here in Michigan, we lost 400,000 jobs, recieved 70,000 back maybe if they can be found. We have a governor that has no idea of budgets, or how to get the state back. Government gave so much to the UAW and auto companies, and forgot to create jobs, and fails to understand the auto companies are not going to be what they were. Nor are we going to see a wage that one can live on. Forget health insurance or purchasing cars, seems both require a JOB earning a living wage.......

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  42. Bert, Birch

    The most serious problem facing the U.S. is Jobs. Many of our problems, like the economy can be linked to allowing our jobs to be sent over seas or to looking the other way on illegal immigration, both of which created the declining wage scale & job shortage. This in turn has forced workers into great debt, because money doesn't go as far as it used to. How many households can still exist on a single income? The big multi-national Corporations now control our government. Our government legislators are no longer thinking about what is good for America and americans, but only about lining their pockets with money from big Corporations. One way to solve this problem is to get rid of any environmental, safety labor or other laws & regulations, which we have put on our own producers & manufacturers, unless all of our trading partners have to abide by the same laws & regulations. We can compete, if there is a level playing field!

    Bert ,Oak View, CA

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  43. michael armstrong sr.

    Lets not shoot the horse yet it still has three legs it can carry us to November .

    February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  44. perry jones

    the republican and democrat fare left and right
    the elected leaders that vote for there benifit not the voters
    all the people that live here for free with no respect for those that work hard for a good life
    the lack of people that act on the facts of life instead of there own beleafs
    the thought that we should be and live more like the french

    perry jones council bluffs ia

    February 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  45. jeanna

    Biggest problem................no one wants to work together to help solve any problem.....Republicans refuse to work with any democrat to help solve anything. I do think Obama is trying to get both parties together but it isnt going to happen with the right wing absolutely refusing.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  46. Jeff of Peoria



    A 12 Trillion $$$ national debt. If you really understand what could happen, there is NO WAY we would allow that to happen. This outweighs our war in Afghanistan, Medicaid, Medicare, and ANYTHING ELSE you can possibly think of.

    Jeff of Peoria IL

    February 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  47. Billie Shaffer

    Entrenched politicians.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  48. Mike in SA

    A bloated national government whose purpose is no longer serving the people but rather feeding and growing itself. Our national government has turned into Jabba the Hutt.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  49. Kris

    The problem with the "outrage" is that while everyone can agree it's broken, no one is going to agree how to fix it. On one hand, you have the left saying that social programs are going unimplemented and no one has the will or power to get them through. The right says the government is wasting money or proposing to waste money and wants everything stripped to the bare bones. It's not just that things are broken, it's that they're broken right down the middle and we're entrenched in this "class warfare".

    It's ironic that one of the things in the age of the Internet and 500 channels was supposed to be more balance - with so much information, everyone is informed from all sides. What's actually happened is it's way too easy to be absorbed in your own viewpoint, constantly believing the other side is the "enemy" and insulating yourself from any dissenting viewpoint.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  50. Frank Benson

    Jack, to me our biggest problem is our government itself. Congressmen want to make lifetime careers of their jobs and consequently become more concerned about having the support of the voting public and special interest groups than they are in dealing with serious problems. We need politicians who are willing to address sometimes unpopular issues instead of feathering their own beds or hanging together in block to win control of congress. We need our so-called leaders to vote for term limits to get politicians away from thinking more about perserving careers than problem solving. We need to do away with two party politics and elect non-partisan people who represent the thinking of most Americans and not the far left or far right and who have good ideas about how to solve our problems with entitlements, gun control, political fund-raising, health care, immigration reform, and our wars against terrorism and drugs. Unfortunately, the new version of the golden rule, "He who has the gold, rules." is true and our politicians are not likely to do anything that will stop our decline as a great nation. And, the American people need to wake up and stop thinking that less government and less taxation is going to solve our problems. We can't expect to stop our free falling economy, fight two wars and have money for future entitlements by avoiding higher taxes...dah!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  51. Jolynn Forman

    The most serious problem facing the US is the that honor, honesty and integrity are quickly becoming the rarity in the character of our leaders and the rising generation of leaders. All the economic woes of this country are founded on greed and the lack of ethics of the persons involved in our money system. If we could recreate morality in our people, we could save our once proud country.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  52. Bob

    Those who rape the USA in various for their own greed. Doing not what is good for your country...but what is good for yourself....at the expense of your country.
    Think elected officials who pay attention to only those who contribute cash and loobyists...and not what is right...
    Think Supreme Court says is OK for companies and groups o spend as much as they like at election time.
    Think rich and poor...
    Think Industrial/Military Complexes and why do we have useless wars ?
    Follow the money...

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  53. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Good on you, Jack, for addressing the problem. The filibuster is a tourniquet around the throat of America. It is preventing anything from reaching the brain.

    If Tom Harkin and others succeed in preventing solutions from being strangled in the cradle, their is hope for America yet.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  54. scooter

    Jack- how in the world can it be straightened out. People say 'through elections'. Yes===but it appears that the elections are rigged also and they only come every now and then. What happens in the meantime is that things get worse. How do people contact their congessman/senator??? Their little finky employees want let anything through them.

    What really is the answer???

    February 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm |

    Most serious problem facing the U.S.A. , is the government is controlled by the corporation of America and not the citizens.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  56. Trish

    Is it not amazing that all of the members of Congress get medical insurance paid for my the citizens of this country who in many instances cannot affor to buy it for themselves> Can someone tell me why they cannot pay for it themselves like the rest of us??? Also if we were not spending Billions of dollars on two wars we might have money to spend for the tax payers whose tax dollars are paying for all of this leaving little for our own country. What a bunch of Hipocrites

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  57. Sue, Gary, ID.

    The two party system has hurt our country, good descent people are forced to join side with either the Democrats or the Republican Parties, and all they care about is stay in office as long as they care to collect their &100,000 dollar plus checks each year. We are paying these people far to much to sit on their hands and collect money to stay in office to do nothing for the people!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  58. Dan in Salt Lake

    the voices in the media who are polorizing us are the biggest threat

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  59. Emily

    What do you consider the single most serious problem facing the U.S. today?
    It's a toss up between the government and the economy. Although i will go with the government being the most serious problem we face because they have caused the economic prolems with their interference, over regulation and refusal to wean the public off of the expensive entitlements. Furthermore, they have lied to us and promoted issues that will not help and only further hurt the situation.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  60. Ed Hendricks

    The GOP with people like McCain and John Kly!.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  61. Jeff Miller

    Our biggest problem with government is that we expect too much from it! The gov't is not a car company, investment firm or health care company yet we ask it to do all those things. Take the handcuffs off the private sector and let a truly free market work its magic. The whole reason we got into the financial crisis stems way back from when the gov't stuck its nose where it didn't belong with Freddie and Fannie – the reason health care is so problematic is because its inconsistently and heavily regulated. Any idiot can find a way to get elected, but to run a successful company takes brains. Let's let our brains get to work!
    Jeff M. in Nashville, TN

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  62. Ben Herrmann

    "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (money-benefits) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years." The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic (1776) By Alexander Fraser Tytler, Scottish professor of history at Edinburgh

    Not my words obviously, but this quote seemed to be relevant to our time. We point fingers at our government with one hand, while the other hand waits for the government check. People are addicted to government, and unless we fight this addiction, we are headed for rock bottom.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  63. steve craig

    I feel the biggest problem is the apathy that our culture now lives with. The politicians are just an extension of society. Everyone feels so entitled to everytihng. I am not talking about healthcare, which everyone should have. It amazed me that the only thing that the two parties could agree on were a $5k tax credit if they hired someone unemployed. Which means that I, who took a lower job just to not be a liability, is now at a disadvanteage of others for absolutely no reason. The broken system is the mindset of americans. That is where we got the housing bubble and everything else.i

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  64. Karen Stout

    The "every man for himself"–taken literally–attitude fostered by Reaganism's focus on "individual responsibility" and the neoliberal agenda, that fostered unfettered capitalism and competition. Instead of helping each other and our country, we're all scared of drowning in the financial mess of big banks and corporations that steal and rape the land and take profits for only a few at the top. Somehow we were sold this as the American dream–to get rich– which in this case has meant that someone else loses.

    Greed and corruption, people will do anything to get theirs. There's no pulling together for the common good. We'd have health insurance if we cared about each other.

    Unlimited wars and the military industrial complex as a way of life.

    The list that neoliberalism has spawned goes on and on. I'd leave if I didn't have children here. It's immoral to allow some people to make millions of dollars a year while others starve and live in tents. Our government's immigration and monetary policies are making us a third world country. A small group of haves, and a huge group of have-nots–exactly what our forefathers left Europe to escape. We've managed to recreate it here.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  65. JR. Sacramento

    Hello Jack,

    There are actually two serious problems:

    1. Housing crisis
    2. Housing crisis

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  66. GBB in TX

    1) The mindless support and election of two-faced politicians,
    2) Public ignorance of the political issues, and
    3) Unbridled, unregulated and unpunished greed on the part of banks and financial institutions. Political lawyers have been paid to legislate legal theft in the world of finance and banking,
    4) The near absence of godd character and fairness among the rich and powerful.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  67. cecilia

    Rick, It really (excuse the term) pisses me off when I hear that the President is "jamming" this bill thru. The cry baby, do nothing republicans have had all year to lay out their plan and all they have done is say "NO" " let's start over". What the hell is wrong with the republicans! This is such a huge undertaking and they hem & haw. If they can't do a job then get them the hell out of the kitchen. They seemed to do better in what they said yesterday, BUT their same old montra "NO" " let's start over" came out loud and clear. They are such hypocrites, they just want to start over to crap, and crap and kill it in the end. The President will have to go for Reconciliation! FOR THE TEA PARTY: They are either a bunch of selfish people with money who don't want to help other people or they are brain washed because it could be THEM who end up in bankrupty or NO health insurance or they can't afford to eat because they have to pay for medications themselves whatever the hell their reason. My aunt died because of no proper health insurance and I have a sister, because of divorce, has no proper health insurance and the State is a mess and she can't get in to see a doctor when she needs to. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG with people!! The people have a president on their side and the people will screw themselves for "the party". I have lived overseas and there is nothing wrong with ALL THE PEOPLE HAVING PROPER HEALTH CARE. Believe me, capitalism has a long way to go for its people!! We know we don't want a huge deficit but that's where both parties got us into AND principally the republicans (the unjustified war a huge mistake). The deficit is another huge mess the President knows he has to tackle. So TEA Party wake up you have contributed to what the republicans are NOT doing. God Bless America because so many Americans are a big mess. OH ONE MORE THING. THE REPUBLICANS BESIDES KNOWN AS THE PARTY OF "NO" SHOULD BE KNOWN AS THE " 'PARTY OF FEAR".

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  68. will lindsey

    we have always needed term limits. 6yrs and then you are out for everyone. that way they would have to clean up at least every 6 yrs. and not have to work several days a week for re election.more time on the job. i am 80 yrs old and have seen very few if any legislators that are representatives. they represent only themselves. we need our factories back and the tarrifs that our forefathers created. there is no way we can compete with cheap labor and keep our standard of living. we need people in charge to make the hard decisions for what is right. but we all know that that money rules. will lindsey de soto mo.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  69. Ben Brown Jr.

    The single biggest problem with the US today is a lack of empathy, driven by greed. We have organizations that want the war to continue, just so they can line their pockets with cash at the expense of young men and women on the battlefield. We have companies that exploit child labor, just so we can wear shoes with a famous athlete on them. We have privatized health care so expensive people lose everything the American dream promised just because they got sick. We have companies that knowingly pollute the environment, and then pay a pittance of a fine after families become ill, broken and dead, with no real justice for avarice.
    As long as the greedy get their money, everyone else be damned. People should always come first. They are what makes our country great, or so I was told once by a president::
    “Putting people first has always been America's secret weapon. It's the way we've kept the spirit of our revolutions alive - a spirit that drives us to dream and dare, and take great risks for a greater good.” -Ronald Reagan

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  70. Judy, Exeter, Ca

    Jack – It's a great question, and high time someone gave a hang about what the citizens think. I believe the single greatest problem today is the lobbyists. The elected officials don't run congress, they do! They wave around the money in return for whatever legislation or special favors they want, and to hell with the voters. What can be done to remove the choke-hold the corporations have over our governing body? I don't know, but something must be done sooer rather than later.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |

    I think the one most serious problem facing the United States is the Republican Party. They had their way with their agenda for 8 years and we let them do it because they were in charge. Now that Democrats are in power, they stop at no lengths to slow or even stop the process of governing for showmanship. I think they're going to be surprised this election cycle. The American People see what they are doing...and are silent right now. When its voting time, the silent majority will come out because they don't want to go back to Republican Rule.

    Repubs are have no heart, no character and its all about "me, me, me" for them. Whatever happen to sacrifice for the your country? I guess as long as someone else is doing it, they can just "talk, talk, talk". To think that I was a Republican at one time! What was I thinking? Temp insanity perhaps!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  72. Dr. jur. Heinz L. Gundlach

    our biggest problem is the trade and balance of payments deficit, it is created by the imoports from China, Japan and the oil imports. In five years we are bankrupt if this in not changed.
    Obama cincentrates on an expensive health care reform, but nobody addresses these huge problems. And our unemploymet is caused by the transfer by our large corporarations of our domestic manufactruing plants to China and other low cost countries to increase profits and the excessive remuneration of our current CEOs, the worst we had in 20 years. we need to tell our citizens to purchase US made automobiles, the best in the world and leave the Japanese (Toyota) and others to the Japanese and the Germans who do no lomger buy their own products because they are too expensive and have useless extras which only increase fuel consumption.We need bilateral trade agreements with these countries requiring balanced annual trade accounts or massive import duties will be slapped on. And we need a change in corporate taxation, a high 60 % tax rate for companies having moved their manufacturing over seas and a low 25% tax for those who manufacture domestically or bring their factories back home. Depraciation allowances only for US made products as is the case in most countries. And tax excessive remuneration over $ 1 million at a high 55 % rate with no deductions. Sam Walton's "BUY AMERICAN" campaign of the seventies needs to be reintroduced. Tax foreign corporations importing products at a 10% rate on sales unless they file US tax returns.
    Heinz L. Gundlach, Chairman, Cardinal Capital Corporation, Palm Beach, Florida Tel: 561 659 4295.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  73. terryatl

    The biggest problem facing America is Americans. We spend too much, want the best public services without paying for them, and we pay little attention to what is going on in our neighborhoods and in Washington until the you know what hits the fan, then we blame our leaders. Perhaps if we were a more proactive instead of reactive society we wouldn't have the problems we now face.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  74. Jack

    The same old herd is still grazing on my dollar. They cannot and willnot extend their narrow minds to actually do something for the pay & benefits they recieve from each of us. Congress, House and Senate should actually have to work for their money. No one has the right to make a career out of being a politician. For gods sake, they even have their own old folks home to take care of them in their dotage. We are going into the crapper while they move their mouths and nothing gets done.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  75. Bob in Kansas City

    Career politicians and corporate lobbyists...no need to look further for the most serious problem, the root of all evil in the US personified!!.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  76. Wayne B

    Lack of affordable heathcare.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  77. Larry Ragland

    The most serious issue facing our nation is the loss of freedom.
    The second most serious problem is the accumulating debt and unfunded liabilities such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
    The third is the need to reorganize our Congress to more nearly match the vision our Founding Fathers had for our nation. The way the current rules and committees are structured works against the best interest of the the nation by providing too much power to the committee Chair persons and too little power to all of the other elected representatives and senators.
    The fourth, and perhaps should be higher, is the loss of trust between the people and their elected officials. This nation was never intended to set up a superior elite class who did not listen to their constituents!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  78. J R Miller

    The negative attitude that pervades the Republican party! They are working hard to see that President Obama fails. The 290 bills that have been passed by the House and not acted on in the Senate is testimony to that. They are totally un-American and although I have voted for Republicans in the past, it will be a cold day in hell when I do that again!

    Blairsville, GA

    February 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  79. Pat

    I agree with all the above, and no doubt could add several more topics. However it is my sense that the most serious problem facing this country today is...us. To me, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Christian, Catholic, Muslim, left, right, old, young, black, white or purple, we are fast becoming our own worst enemy.
    Good manners, civilty, generosity, compassion, virtue in general, have all evaperated. We become more and more polarized in our attitudes and ideology and rather than be open to new ideas we hunker down in our own ignorance and refuse to listen.
    I have a thing about kids and animals, they are what they are, as He made them, no more, no less. A baby boy is a baby boy, perfect in all things, a Tiger a Tiger, a Turtle can no more be a Falcon than a Trout be a Fly, as He made them.
    But us, as a species, we change, from that baby boy to something else. We grow up, and learn to be less than what we are, and a boat load less than what we could be.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  80. obamongoloid

    Democrats are obviously the biggest problem facing our country.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  81. Mike DAmbra

    Double compound interest-borrowing from China to pay interest to China.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  82. Del Foley

    To answer your question: What do you consider the most serious problem facing the U.S. Today? In my humble opinion, it's the democratic party.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  83. Russell Skinner


    With the embarrassingly dimwitted pronouncements that spew forth from the mouths of our representatives in congress, I'd have to say, the single most serious problem facing our country has got to be an uneducated electorate.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  84. J Henning

    The single most serious problem is that our elected officials in Congress do not have term limits. If the President has term limits, then why not those who REALLY wield the power – Congress?

    Congresspersons no longer represent their constituents. Sound bites, re-election bids, and fidelity to lobbyists are much more worrisome to these people than is their duty to REPRESENT.

    Since we, the people, are too complacent to vote out our "favorite sons and daughters", let's push for term limits on Congress.

    Oh yeah, guess who will have to vote on that to make it come true?

    Never mind.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  85. Bronson from Saylorsburg, PA

    While our broken government of Republicans and Democrats, who refuse to work together on anything, skyrocket the national debt and decimate our economy, there are hundreds upon thousands of other problems our leaders must conquer. Even with the record snowfall our nation has just received, global warming is still melting the polar icecaps at an alarming rate and causing climate change worldwide. Too many honest Americans are still unemployed and millions are just one disaster, whether financial or medical, away from total collapse. The Middle East is in chaos as always and pirates are taking over the seas again. The future seems bright, eh?

    February 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  86. M.Wagner

    ME, ME, ME POLITICS, POLITICS, POLITICS, arrogance and party first,the people last. I retired from the government. Maybe it was just me
    but it started back in 93 when gingrich started trash talking. All the politicians care about is one upsmenship and I'm more patriotic than the next guy. What a crock of crap.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  87. mike roice

    Jack, I believe the biggest problem facing the US today is the financial situation our useless leaders have allowed big business to put us in. Greed is destroying the American economy, and noone has the ability to stop it. The character of the people who made this country a superpower does not exist in our leaders today, and it would take a majority of these self-sacrificing individuals to effect corrective action. No effective changes will be made, and the US will soon fall into economic and social collapse. To me, the future looks like total chaos.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  88. Elaine Wilson

    Campton, Ky
    To me, the most serious problem we have is the attitude of the republicans .I believe that Obama is trying but he has no one to work with. The things I have heard some of the republicans say are astounding ex. "we are going to bring Obama down". Don't they know if they bring him down, they bring us all down.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  89. Hieu Quachtat

    The Biggest problem facing US today was created by George W. Bush, Dick Chenney and Rumfeld.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  90. Dave O

    I'd say our biggest problem is a lack of unity. This country is going in so many different directions, we're likely to rip ourselves apart if we can't band together.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  91. DennyW

    Lawlessness and lack of civility. Whether it's corporate greed, political myopia, drug runners infesting our young people, or cowboy drivers on our streets and highways, we are running on the raggedy edge of being a self-centered, out-of-control society.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  92. HOWARD

    The most serious problem fcing the US today is the total breakdown of Congress because without Congressional action it doesn't matter what else there is. Nothing can even be addressed until all the "empty suits" on the hill stop sniping and stabbing each other.

    Their conduct is unethical, unproffesional and downright immoral based on the many issues confronting us today.

    As much as I admire President Obama I rest part of the blame on him because the Democrats have a majority and he simply will not use it.

    Forget consensus–The Republicans only sel fcentered and selfish mission is to destroy any and all Democratic inititives.

    The only way anything is going to be done is for the Democrats to simply RAM IT THROUGH!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  93. Henry

    the debt and run away spending

    February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  94. John

    The most serious problem is our eagerness to give up freedom for a mess of federal government cooked and served pottage.

    Bloomington, Illinois

    February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  95. Jeff of Cincinnati

    It is my personal belief that the single greatest problem facing the United States today is both the lack of education and the complacency that has spread like a plague throughout its populace. We Americans have become far too happy with the status quo, ensconced in our living rooms watching TV on a daily basis. We live off the fruits of our ancestors' labors, and care nothing about the world around us, or the government that rules us. I see disaster on the horizon and my countrymen too fat and detached to care.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  96. dcani

    The biggest problem is that elected officials put securing their careers and satisfying their party's lust for power before what is best for the country.No one is rising above the fray to be thoughtful and creative, and find a way to compromise skillfully, for the good of us all.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  97. Kathleen Parker Charleston, SC

    Our biggest problem is that we all want government to cut only those things which are important to someone else and not us. The politicians and talk jocks then line up behind one side or the other and perpetuate this grid lock to get reelected and/or make more money. Unfortunately, if we can't get our collective acts together very soon, today's pathetic state of affairs will look like the "good old days".

    February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  98. Allan Milton

    Polticians refuse to acknowledge the truth and tell their voters what they don't want to hear .The truth dear voter is the U.S.A is bankrupt and no you cant have it becuse we are out of money !

    February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  99. Mike in Atlanta

    Partisanship in government which is effectively crippling its ability to accomplish anything. I blame carrer politicians and the lack of term limits for much of this but I think the bulk of the blame belongs to the media who play up the bickering and make it almost impossible for any politician to save face no matter what they do.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  100. Kathie

    The socialist democratic party.

    Kathie in Knoxville, TN

    February 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  101. George from Naperville

    It is the inability of our legislators to conduct the people's business without the influence of polarized ideologies and special interests. We have forgotten the lessons of history. Get ready America! We are going to experience "Rome II"

    February 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  102. David, Tampa, Fl

    Jack, I think the single biggest problem facing this nation is the quality of person infecting the halls of government and business. I don't think that will change anytime soon or at least soon enough to prevent the American Empire from going the way of Rome, Egypt, and the Dodo. And just think we will owe it all to those that think they can do no wrong.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  103. John Jurik

    The single most serious problem facing the US today is the fact that our elected leaders are acting so anxiously, that they are not using their thinking brain. They have lost their imaginative capabilities. They think only in right/wrong, yes/no, and are not able to see alternatives.

    This is the way reptiles behave. We are losing our greatest human capacity: to think creatively and imaginatively.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  104. william peter bertier

    Obviously the most serious problem facing America today is the massive federal debt. An unecessary war cost us a trillion dollars and federal banking regulators asleep at the wheel cost us hundreds of billions more in bailouts. But to me the scariest thing of all is the rigidity of the radical right that dominates the Republican Party. If Democrats hadnt reached across the aisle there would have been no Reagan Revolution. It seems to me that the Republicans are determined to scuttle the Obama presidency no matter how badly it hurts the country. Its their way or the highway..God help us all.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  105. Concerned

    The single biggest problem is selfishness. What is very obvious about all the grandstanding by the Tea Party and the Republican parties blocking of the health care bill is that these people care only about themselves. They have theirs and don't want to give up anything for the greater good. People like Glen Beck who say that people are not entitled to healthcare are saying that they don't want to pay to help their fellow man. People are suffering out there. They are not the freeloaders that these people try to paint them to be. Why can't people put aside their selfish view and suck it up and help their fellow man.

    All I hear is about the defecit but if you remember George Bush started his presidency with a record surplus and then left office with a record deficit. The republican party is the one that ran up this debt. What has been added to this by the current president is minor in comparison to that. People need to get along and stop placing blame and do what is right for the people of this contry

    February 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  106. Zac


    I think you can scratch airport scanners from the list. I don't see the majority of the public asking for them. They don't detect explosives in body cavities. It's only an invasion of privacy for the innocent.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  107. frank

    Nobody wants to talk about how since Reagan wages for the middle class have stagnated. As the president said, who the hell making $40k can afford to have a health savings account? If your last name is Walton or Forbes, yeah.

    Not that the swine on Wall Street have suffered.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  108. Andrew from Mpls, MN

    It's plain as the nose on your face. Our society has simply relieved itself of any responsibility for our actions. It's always someone elses fault. We better start looking into that person in the mirror, before we lose our souls.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  109. randall raleigh, n.c.

    Simply put: The Republican party and their greed. They would rather lay this burden on the middle class and poor than to betray the wealthiest Americans.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  110. gary schultz, Edmonds, WA

    The single most serous problem facing the US today?

    Our citizens, who know exactly who they are and what they can expect in the future, are much brighter than our politicians who think they know what we want. They have lost all touch with economic reality and actually believe we are all a bunch of scaredy cats. We are not, but are they?

    Or, can they reach agreement for the benefit of all on important issues. If only one side [of the House or Senste] can produce a result, we guarantee it will not be a good result-because we the American people do not live our lives that way. And that alone is the item that bothers us most, "one sided decisions".

    February 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  111. JD


    February 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  112. M.E. Sanchez Alamo

    I think one of the greatest issues we have is an evolving trade landscape that our politicians are not in tune with. Schools are behind the curve in anticipating the learning needs of future generations (business and school cooperations are at a minimum) ; universities are poorly managed and have gotten incredibly expensive (I'll be paying for some of my loans by liquidating some assets if I can't get a job, putting me at a worse financial situation because I'd be dipping into my retirement fund too early.)
    There are great jobs to be had in managing agriculture concerns and green technologies, as technologies are leveraged; but, people aren't moving quickly enough to find themselves a niche in those sectors.
    As an info management grad student, I'm worried that as we automate more processes, more people will be out of a job. More people continue to draw on social services, we're all doomed if we don't make it possible for people to make a living!

    Mario Sanchez

    February 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  113. Tom Bachman Wexford PA

    Term limits.....every candidate should pledge that tight now. These clowns think of themselves as royalty. Maybe if they know they're leaving, they'll stop campaigning and get to work.
    Yes, throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  114. Laura

    The single most serious problem that faces us today is that we cannot trust our government to protect us anymore. Once the trust is gone, it's almost impossible to get it back. Most of us are struggling to survive from day to day while the people in government mess around with politics. They were put their to help us, not to help themselves.

    Kansas City, MO

    February 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  115. Pete

    Debt, debt, and more debt, it is time for term limits.
    Duxbury MA

    February 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  116. John Audette

    Unmitigated greed. The inherent weakness of capitalism is that it brings out greed. For things to function well the greed must be mitigated by some other force. We have largely lost the governors conferred by cultural values for a number of reasons: decline of institutional authority, such as churches; constant pandering to base emotions and wants; immediate gratification; feelings of entitlement; etc.

    When greed is allowed to run unrestrained – well you see what happens...

    February 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  117. Bruno Bucari

    Our elected officials are fond of calling the USA "the greatest country in the world" while at the same time behaving in a way that, in the long run will insure the opposite. The national debt is used as a weapon by the party out of power but is not addressed by Congress as a whole except to vote to raise the ceiling from time to time. If only a few countries decide to cash in our IOUs, our economy will be devastated. Therefore, make no mistake about it, we totally dependent on foreign countries to keep the "American Dream" alive and some of these countries do not like us very much.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  118. Craig from Seattle

    Politicians who are not serious about governing and fixing the problems that face the country or paying and taking responsibility for government programs. And, of course, the voters that enable them.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  119. Nicholas Capps-Henke

    The single most serious problem facing the United States today is sending jobs overseas... There in lies the root of all of the major economic problems, housing problems, etc. Even in these tough times, large corporations are still closing up shop here... Isn't it crazy that we let it keep happening! Shame on all of us!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  120. Jason R.

    I consider the most serious problem, not just for the U.S., but the entire planet, to be a population that is running rampant. The simple fact is is that there are too many people for too few jobs and dwindling resources. Technology has replaced the need for a large scale workforce, paving the way for mass unemployment world wide. While new technologies ultimately produce new fields and new jobs, the population is expanding at a far greater rate. Most of the problems that dominate the headlines can trace their roots back to this one,simple cause. Why is that whenever there is discussion about our ills, this line of thought is rarely, if at all, mentioned?

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  121. Richard Bumstead

    The single most serious problem facing the US today?

    So many to choose from.... Trade deficits, health care, war, unemployment, corruption, lobbyists, our broken government, Republicans, Democrats, TV, the internet, Glenn Beck, Rush, etc...

    My suggestion for the single most serious problem facing the US today: unmotivated, lazy, greedy Americans who only care about money; and a society that allows its population to worship wealth and material possessions.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  122. Blake

    I think the most serious problem facing our country really has very little to do with our governmen itselft. Our broken culture is our biggest problem. The lack of action in Congress is just a symptom of a much greater problem. Our society is becoming increasingly polarized. With half the country pulling one direction and the other half pulling the other, the net effect is no real movement. So the US struggles just to maintain our position, while countries in Europe and Asia continue to advance.

    We are at the dawn of the Information Age and our students are falling behind in math and science. Despite having more people in prison than any country in the world, we have one of the highest crime rates among developed countries. Americans would rather drink beer, eat potato chips, and watch sports than exercise. Our college students feel they are being forced to learn, while students in other countries attend because they want to learn. Our culture is broken, and that is not something that can't easily be repaired.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  123. Carolyn Quillen

    the arrogance and petulance of our president.

    San Angelo, Texas

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  124. Karl from SF, CA

    Well, Jack, you put out a nice laundry list there but my single most serious concern facing the US toady is Congress and its inability to clean up your laundry list. The Democrats are stupid wimps and the Republicans are treasonous hypocrites. Until we Americans either make them all do their jobs or get the hell out the way, your list isn’t going to get any shorter.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  125. Bruce Jenkins

    The goverment wants to give small business a paltry $1000.00 tax credit for hiring a new employee in 2010. Businesses don't hire unless they have the sales and margin to pay for new employees. Here's a novel idea, lower the tax on small business to 15% from nearly 40% and we'll expand to a new warehouse on the west coast and hire new employees. We'll use the cash flow that would have gone to Washington where it's flushed down a toilet to expand our business. We won't have to borrow any money which the banks aren't lending anyway. But, Washington is brain dead so they can't think past the next bank bailout.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  126. roy coulter

    lobbiest...we all answer to them now.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  127. Ron

    A lack of leadership throughout the Government linked to a President with a big ego and not enough experience.

    Ron Yarborough
    Fort Mill SC

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  128. Kathy

    The most serious problem facing the U.S. today is the economy. We should create more jobs and get as many people as possible back to work. We can do this through small and medium size businesses. We need business loans and credit lines in order to achieve this. Credit for small and medium size business has dried up. We should give TARP funds directly to small and medium size businesses just as we have done to large businesses because they're "too important to fail".

    February 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  129. Frances Cappelletti

    The Republican party.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  130. Pat Gardner

    There are so many..I don't know where to begin..but....there really are 2...jobs and housing. The money given to the banks thru the stimulus to modify mortgages isn't happening....therefore we are not stopping the foreclosures which is bringing all of housing down!!
    Apparently...there has been NO oversight for this $$ so apparently the banks are keeping it for themselves for more bonuses!! Oh..and as a side note..let's throw Mr. Lloyd Blanfein in prison with Bernie Madoff...where he belongs!!!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  131. allen borden

    biggest problem-Barack Obama Spending money we do not have.Bush was not any better

    February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  132. Peg Breneiser please post only first name

    Until our elected officials start acting like statesmen and not politicians we are going to see a decline in our lifestyle in the good old USA, and influence in the world. Our elected officials have to stop helping themselves, and their friends and even at time do what is best for the country not necessarily their state or district. They are UNITED STATES senators and congressmen and we as a nation have to realize it is the US competing with the world not each other. We have to start helping each other keep our wonderful country a great place to live. When we ALL reach our full potential no one can beat us.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  133. Aaron - Seattle

    Our National Debit is going to kill us faster than lack of adequate health care will and I can guarantee that!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  134. Harris

    Education is the biggest problem. So many younger people aren't even finishing high school. They won't be the productive workers who turn the economy around and help our country pay down the debt.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  135. Charles W. Carpenter

    While I value what our government leaders do for the United States, it has become painfully aware that they have really lost their focus? The billl that they have right now has cost the American voting public an undetermined amount with no results. They can only argue about what they want and in so doing lost their focus. When does the needs of the people come into view. When President Obama ran for the office of the Presidency, he lumped the middle class with the poor and thereby have only two classes in the United States - the wealthy and the poor. How can we expect President Obama to oversee the proper passage of a health care bill when he can't even get his birthplace correct? Gentlemen- – -take a step back and throw the current bill in the trash and begin writing a bill with realistic goals and benefits for all to benefit. If you can't do that, then RESIGN and maybe we can get someone in office that can get the job done. The answer to your question for those that need it spelled out for them is --NO!!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  136. Mike from Springfield

    Jack, it is our government, but it is the people who have let it get that way. We have asked, and continue to ask our legislators to pass bills and earmark funds which provide us with quick benefits, or which we view as easy answers to societal issues. However, we never consider what the cost is. Americans STILL do not get the connection between taxes and government spending. Government money IS our money. If you do not want to be taxed to death, stop asking Uncle Sam to handle every last detail of your life for you. If people had the slightest sense of personal responsibility, they would save instead of borrowing. If I had been saving all my life what I have instead been putting into social security, I would be looking at a very sizeable nest egg right now, and still with 20+ years to go to retire. We have done this to ourselves.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  137. David

    The Biggest Problem in Washington; Status Quo. It's clear that Neither party has anything to offer but more of the same. It's time People. Time to vote out EVERY Incumbant candidate in Office – regardless of Party affiliation. Wipe the Senate floor clean of this Log Jam – and make a fresh start. Sure it would result in absolute chaos. But even chaos beats terminal stagnation.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  138. Ostrich in Miami

    I think it's the media, Jack. If you didn't report it we wouldn't have to worry about it..

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  139. Kathy

    I really think the proliferation of laws and regulations has created a situation in which common sense no longer wins out in any effort to solve the important (and "not so important") problems of our day. Every action taken toward a workable solution seems destined to end up in the trash because the players are forced to consider so many legal implications, the process becomes too long, and a good plan is abandoned before it has a chance to work. I also think the influence of corporations and "shadow" financing is having a perilous affect on legislation in this country.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  140. Ian

    Jack, the problem is simple: Greed. the corporate media. the military industrial complex.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  141. Greg in Cabot, AR

    Politicians that say anything to ger re-elelcted and the voters that believe them.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  142. Tina Labash

    The single most serious problem facing our nation is thinking like a nation. Instead, it is thinking about "me." Whether that is being re-elected, getting the raise or the promotion, or as narrow as "I have health insurance and a pension" so who cares about anyone else and I am not going to contribute a dime to help anybody else. Why is okay to lie about someone to get ahead. Why even after the truth is known is okay to repeat the lie over and over until that's all anyone remembers–the lie. That is the problem now, the extremes are the only ones being heard. What about all the MODERATES? Do something that is good and right for the country without thinking about what it's going to do for you personally.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  143. Jessie

    Your are paying attention! Didnt you hear Michelle Obama delcare that, "Obesity" is the single most serious problem facing the U.S. Forget about terrorism (internal and external); forget about her husbands attempts to "remake" this great country of ours; ITS THOSE CHUBBY KIDS DOWN THE STREET THAT ARE PUTTING OUR COUNTRY AT RISK!
    Austin, TX.

    February 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  144. Lawrence

    How can the country go forward when we have those silly politicans putting their political party before the country. They lie to the american people and distort the truth. Hey Jack, how about you and i start a grass roots movement to vote them all out. I guarantee you it wont be like the tea baggers.

    Baytown TX.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  145. Greg

    The government- they want to do the waltz while we're trying to rock and roll
    Black Mountain,NC

    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  146. Sheena

    In Short...President Obama and CREW....

    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  147. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, there are so many problems facing us at home and around the world that it is hard to mention them all. I feel today that our gov't doesn't care or show concern for the average working person. All you have to do is look at the lobbyist and special interest groups roaming the halls of Congress today, to realize your chance of being represented doesn't exist. Add to that the hatred shown from democrats and republicans towards each other that there is no way they can sit down and work together. The only way Congress and lobbyist would get the message that things better change, would be for the voters to vote everyone and I mean everyone out of office. There used to be a time in our history, when things got tough we came together as a nation. Now I am not sure if we still have that desire left in us anymore.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  148. Steve Croskrey

    What do you consider the single most serious problem facing the U.S. today? That's easy.

    It's our government.

    Not only the people that make up our government, but also the absolutely rediculous and asinine policies, laws and "government" that THEY create to serve themselves, not the American People.


    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  149. Emmanuel Adepoju

    Jack, just let me simply put it to you without mixing words “INCOMPETENCE tainted with AROGANCE“ When people could do anything to avoid the TRUTH and LIARS curry the favor from the high places, the beginning of the end is laid in concrete to destroy the country. Those with probable solutions are by passed and destroyed deliberately for the “favorites” whose lying daily are rewarded constantly, “in the words of Captain Sully to his passengers over the Hudson River. “Prepare for impact” Jack it is not going to be funny unless the country and the states too change course to work together. Let the people with the right knowledge get the job done. We are in deep trouble.



    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  150. Eardley Ham

    The single most serious problem facing the U.S. today is the abso;ute inability of our elected representatives (both congressional and senatorial) to deal with the medical care and Social Security issues. The currently proposed health care plann (which the Republican'ts have vowed to vote against) is a travesty anyway. The only fix to the health care system is a single payer system based on a quasi-private corporation (organized as a true zero profit company with the executives approved by then Senate in much the same way the head of the Federal reserve is).

    Social Security can be fixed in a heartbeat by simply making it a true trust fund (thus stop 'borrowing' from it) and doubling the salary cap for SS deductions.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  151. Tony

    Single most serious problem facing U.S. today?

    Domestic terrorism by The Republican Party. Al Qauda's US counterpart.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  152. tom

    In this age of technology, why don't the American people, yes all of us middle class people, be able t o go on line and vote for changes in our government. Everyone who is of voting age, would use their social security number and would have a password; just as we do now to conduct our day to day business. We'd have a certain number of days to vote on a bill, the American people would determine what's passed, not our Republicans and/or Democrats. This would finally give us a government by the people, for the people, Send the Congress home, we can do a better job by voting on the computer.
    Sometimes, easy common sense ideas are the best solutions.
    Save our country with simple solutions!
    Thanks Jack.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  153. Sherry

    UNEMPLOYMENT! My husband's been out of work for over a year. We had to move from our beautiful home because we couldn't afford the payments. I'm getting close to retirement age, my legs are shot, my back is gone, but I have to keep on working until??? I'd go to the cemetary and wait but I can't afford the grounds fee.

    Denver, Colorado

    February 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  154. Kent Rockwood Tyler

    Howdy from Overland Park, Kansas:

    I think the single biggest problem facing 'US' is that we are so separated as a people and are even further away from our government. Our people are falling into a deep depression and many are feeling helpless and hopelessness is the only thing they see. The 'times' have broken many peoples spirit. It's this unique spirit that Americans seem to have had in the past that keeps us going.....keeps our compassion for one another alive.....keeps 'US' moving forward.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  155. Galen Brin

    Why is it that it is the US gets it in the hind end when it comes to fair trade? Why aren't we willing or able to slap the same trade restrictions and limitations on Japan and China as they do our exports? We hear all the rhetoric from our so called government about fair trade and how it is good for America, and it's all BS. It seems all these agreements benefit the other side and we get nothing in return but lost jobs and displaced families.

    ...and what about immigration? If we put the same restrictions and penalties on illegal immigration as Mexico does with their southern partners, we wouldn't have 12 million plus deadbeats overwhelming us by their "rights" to a free education, medical care and welfare. Not to mention most do not even pay taxes.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  156. Harold Buttlar

    How can we ever hope to improve our lives, our children's lives national debt when our elected officials can't get along to act on legislation? They only care about their home state or their own interests! This country is doomed if this continues!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  157. Mark... Voorhees, New Jersey

    Very simply, it is corporate control of public policy. Eisenhower told us to "beware the military industrial complex" and we didn't. We also ignored the drug companies, the so-called health insurance industry, the oil companies, and their hundreds of lobbyists.and the billions spent on advertising to get the American people to vote against their own interests.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  158. stevegee

    The national deficit is our country's most serious problem. At the rate Obama and the liberals are spending and borrowing, we'll be bankrupt in a few short years (some argue that we already are but won't admit it). After we default, the U.S. will join all the other empires on the scrap heap of history.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  159. Charles


    First we are taxed to death. I make around $900.00 a week but $350.00 is taken out for taxes. I work my butt off everyday. Plus everything around me is costing me more (property taxes, school taxes, toll roads, fuel, etc) I dont have any disposable income. If i dont have money to spend, there will be no jobs.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  160. ohons

    Jack the problem with America is American themselves. pride before a fall. The greatest problem that is sinking America, is pride. It is better to admit ones problem earlier to save oneself from pain and shame. If the people don't save the sinking ship before 2020, third world will be sending aid to America. What an irony of life

    February 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  161. ALMA

    how do we prevent lobbyists from controlling our government officials.
    no matter who we elect to congress they are all ultimately corrupted by the lobbying system that truly runs our government.

    government agencies are no different, especially the military primarily because they are such a big chink of our government budget.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  162. Paul Densmore

    I think the most serious problem is nearly all manufacturing going off shore. Manufacturing creates wealth. A service economy does not create wealth, it just moves money around. Factories equal jobs, jobs pay taxes. No factories, no wealth, a shrinking standard of living.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  163. Scott Patrick Humphrey

    The biggest issue the U.S. faces is the fact that we as a nation are a corporate owned entity that is breaking down faster than a cardboard box in a hurricane.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  164. Thom from Virginia Beach, VA

    Our crumbling national infrastructure is our biggest problem and it will only get worse as a result of the failure of our elected leaders to act responsibly in addressing this issue. Our house (America) is literally falling down before our very eyes. It is symptomatic of our decay as a nation and as a people. Any hope of solving America's problems must begin with average Americans finally saying "enough is enough." We start to rebuild America by cleaning house in Washington, D.C. It is time that we start fresh with new leaders who will respond to the will of the American people, be held accountable for their actions, and be constantly reminded while they are in office that they are public "servants."

    February 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  165. P Sauve

    Career politicians. Their priority is re-election, not the country and definitely not the future of the country.

    Heck, Sen Specter even unapologetically admitted that his switch in politcal parties was to increase his chances of being re-elected.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  166. Marc W

    Help me understand why this government thinks that with all the debt we have it's smart to spend even more money and go deeper into debt ? I also want to know why they keep sabotaging small business, by borrowing the money for their earmark projects that banks could be lending small biz. Are they just hell bent on moving us further into socialism ?

    February 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  167. Gilbert West

    The most serious concern for Americans today is the poor quality of leadership. There is a cult of eliticism among the conservatives where they just don't care about the average American. The politicians are all out for themselves. It reminds me of the part of the book Mein Kampf where Hitler is recalling his youthful years when he would stop by the assembly to listen and observe the behavior of the politicians at the time. These observations served only to make him angry and to make him determined to subject such people to the firing squad once he assumed power. Our politicians are every bit as foolish and self-centered as those mentioned in the book. They will not wake up until something horrifying happens to them personally.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  168. Malcolm Taub

    The two party system no longer serves the public. It is only there to perpetuate the tenure of the elected congress members or Senators. Is it conceivable that on these votes, which are make totally on party lines, that all members who vote on one side are totally right and the other sides members are totally wrong. Are all 59 Democrats in the Senate, all geniuses and all Republicans all stupid. Or on the other hand, are all Democrats stupid and all Republicans geniuses. We have to borrow a little from the Continental European Parlimentary system. We need to develop strong independent parties and strong independent candidates.
    We need unaffiliated blood to shake up the dead weight. Term limits in both houses so that member might for once vote with their minds and consciences rather than strictly on the basis of party affiliation.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  169. Bob

    The most serious problem with the US is the extremely low-level of education, on average, of US citizens. A country in which a majority, or close to a majority, of voters could vote for bush, in 2000 and 2004 is a country that deserves to fail. A nation in which Palin can be considered a serious candidate for any political office is a nation that deserves to fail. Something like 40% of polled Americans believe the earth is less than 4000 years old, and I'd wager that fewer than 1% of American voters could successfully pass a high-school algebra exam. We live in a highly technology-dependent and science-dependent world. Modern Americans, rather than trying hard to educated themselves and understand our increasingly complex world, instead turn to kook religion, talk radio, and simple-minded political ideologies. It wasn't always this way. Our founding fathers were the intellectual elite of teh world, and, when this country was formed, it had the highest literacy rate of any nation on earth. Our weakest link is the very people who constitute this nation.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  170. jeane

    A Congress for "the highest bidder" instead of congress for the comon person.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  171. Kim Peterson Idaho

    I think the wars and our global military presence is bankrupting our nation. Bring our prople home and spend the money saved here.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  172. Ken Storie

    Our Broken Government at all levels.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  173. Tammy

    I think the American people are their own worst enemy. All you hear now is how angry everyone is. Why for the 8 years that GW & Co. ran roughshod over everything, was no one angry? I think as long as easy credit was available & the ability to use your home as an ATM was there, it was like an opiate to the masses. Once that dried up and people discovered how in debt they were, now they're angry. Maybe it's true that "the Lord works in mysterious ways". Maybe we will learn a lesson that we should have learned long ago. I am tired of hearing how tough it is out there. When most of the people that you see have a cell phone or other electronic gizmo attached to their ear, it can't be that tough. Maybe we need to grow up and not expect to have everything our heart desires. Our parents knew that you had to work & SAVE to get the things you desired, not whip out the credit card. Yes greedy lenders and poor lending practices are to blame and our representatives (both parties) are pathetic, but the American people sure have their share of the blame also. There is no such thing as a free lunch. My feeling is that once the credit market comes back and feeds their habit, the people will all be warm & fuzzy again, and no one will have learned a valuable lesson.

    Baltimore, MD

    February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  174. Cliff Glass - East Rockaway, NY

    Apathy, Jack. We live in a country where record turnout for elections is less than 50% of eligible voters, make no effort to educate ourselves on the serious issues facing this country, and then compalin about the results. We are getting what we deserve.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  175. Gary

    Money – Jack – Money! The torrent of corrupting, collusive, and corporatist political funding has subjugated our government into a soulless tool of multi-national corporations. Only public financing of elections would trnsform politics from a battle of fundraising to a battle of ideas, and for pennies on the dollar, would reclaim our government in the name of the people.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  176. Brian Rheault

    Dear Mr. President,

    We need a LEADER not a MODERATOR!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  177. Clay Tenderholt

    Conservative republicans and the religious right wing republicans.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  178. David A. Brown

    This country's biggest problem is its self-centered, arrogant, self-serving, corrupt beyond belief, strutting peacock government of ours who don't have a shred of patriotism.

    They are by far some of the worst human beings on the planet. Who else's treachery betrays millions?

    The system works – the buttheads gotta go!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  179. Andy

    from San Francisco, CA

    Jack, all of the problems you quoted are solvable. The first step to solving these problems, however, is to reform the government so that the politicians in charge will actually come up with practical solutions rather than repeating their talking points again and again.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  180. Chuck

    America is a great country. We've been the model for so many other countries seeking a better way of governing themselves. What we have is a true God given blessing, but it has to be maintained. Prosperity is not a birthright. We're not without our own problems just like any other nation on the globe, but, we have to curb our own desires for "I want it all, nothing but the best, I want it right now and will worry about the bill later down the road." We have to do two things: live within our means, really, LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS and take an active interest in government. Know what your elected officials are doing, or not doing. Write, email, hold them accountable. Show your opinion at election time.... don't just vote your party ticket or vote for the same guy you voted for in the last election. More and more younger people need to be informed and get involved. Our future is in OUR hands. Who else is there?

    February 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  181. Iain Lancaster

    The single biggest problem facing your country and to a lesser extent mine (Canada) is selfishness, greed and a sense of entitlement. Somehow it's become axiomatic that all government is inefficient and any tax increase is to be opposed. So, these being democratic countries, anyone hoping to get elected has to promise to cut taxes and reduce government while at the same time providing social services and amenities. Being labeled a "tax and spend" politician is the kiss of death, so those in power have instead opted for "borrow and spend". The time has come to pay the piper for our lavish and wasteful ways as a society.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  182. Sam

    The U.S. Government is the single most serious problem facing the U.S. today. It is an entity about all talk but no execution. How about having the politicians in Washington compensated in accordance with their actual performance? If they didn't follow up or deliver what they claimed to do, they should get no pay – just like any other worker in the capitalist world. To take this further, they should be imposed monetary fine for each deadline missed. That way, there would be some pressure on them for a change, and perhaps we could really get some devoted people in Washington who are committed to properly represent the people. Where has "Yes We Can" taken us so far?

    February 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  183. Tim

    Jack all you talk about are the problems facing our nation; I think it is time that you start framing your questions around solutions to those problems you love to beat the President over the head every night. You are sounding more and more like Lou Dobbs every night.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  184. LeRoy in Jersey City

    The biggest problem? That’s a tough question Jack. The recession, unemployment, broken government, the energy crises, environmental degradation, not to mention terrorism and two wars. Gee, how do we pick just one?

    Well, the big money players have created a shift in our political system from a democracy to corporate capitalism. The constitution provides for a means to take it back. Its called voting. But that requires an informed and knowledgeable public, which is impossible as long as we make our decisions in the voting booth based upon sound bites and 15 second video clips. We are too lazy to learn—knowledge grows out of awareness, which is only possible if we can overcome apathy. Yes, apathy is our biggest problem.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  185. Michael

    We have enabled and fostered since the Reagan administration, special treatment for major corporations that now dominate with arrogance every aspect of American life and who totally own Washington. From Wall St. CEO's to a health care system that is totally for profit, the welfare of the citizens of America are now secondary to the profitability of it's corporate interests. The far right champions this capitalistic free-for-all and succeeds by keeping the common man always in fear... of terrorism, of socialism, of homosexuals, via a super aggressive political propaganda machine. Bottom line is we always have money for defense, wars, and invasions, but never have money for health care, schools, infrastructure, etc. Because they rule out of one thing only: FEAR.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  186. Bill

    The corporations and their hired guns have everything, control everything and make short term decisions to benefit themselves which is ultimately bad for the county. Why should any of us try yto get ahead anymore? Its impossible.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  187. mofasa

    Partisanship and dirty politics

    February 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  188. Bill

    THe biggest problem facing America today is the lack of motivation – on all levels and across all isles. From the average Joe all the way up to the White House. Everyone is quick to criticize but, no one has the motivation or ambition to find a solution. Lazy. The House passed 290 bills and the Senate hasn't budged. Work-shy and utterly slothful. The only way to get back to the America that everyone remembers is to stop complaining and act! Action, action, action not words.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  189. Richard Green

    Jack, at the root of every problem you noted is the presence of corporate lobbyists in Washington and in our electoral process. Would so many dishonest people be in Washington if billions in lobbyist dollars were not available to them? Would so many of us believe that the gov't is broken if our interests were being worked on instead of those of health insurance companies? Take corporate dollars out of elections and lobbyists out of Washington and we might see decent folks in Congress doing work for the American people.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Ca.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  190. Wade in Las Vegas, NV

    The most serious issue is that this is OUR government and we now have the technology to vote on many of these issues directly from our homes via internet. It is obvious that the public feels much different than our leaders do on almost every issue there is. Give us the ability to vote directly on these issues, this is our right! This is our government and I believe the majority of Americans are good and want positive change.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  191. Charlie O LIttle Rock,AR

    I just cannot see one thing Jack. It starts with health care reform and that must be immediate, not for it to start in 2012 or 13 or 14 NOW. If we continue to do nothing we will end up with single-payer plan(which I am not against) but it will happen in 10-15 years because that will be the only alternative by then. We need to look at the best way to create new industry to give people good pating jobs..COntrol Wall Street practices and hold them accountable for actions, they are still doing the exact same thing that got us into this mess. I could go on and on....As to politicians my advice..tell us the truth no matter how ugly PLEASE

    February 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  192. David

    The (bad) joke of our government is on us. Politicians can be counted on for making the wrong choice for the wrong reason, and to let them run things is asking for it. When our country was founded, there were, for instance, principles of economics. (Now, we have a self-contradictory set.) The point is to start from scratch and base governance on facts instead of whims.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  193. Ken in NC

    Well Jack, the House is sending bills up to the Senate and they hit a bottle neck until each of the Senators that think they are GODS is satisfied he has what he wants so I consider the “LORDS” of the Senate to be the greatest problem or threat to this country.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  194. Homeless D in Atlanta

    I find it impossible to single out one problem to be the most serious. However I can narrow it down to two.

    First, the economy is on the verge of bankruptcy. (if not really already bankrupt and they are just not telling us)

    Second, and one of the main causes of number one, two wars.

    While Congress hems and haws about health care, we are 'spending' enough every month in the wars to pay for health care for years to come, and probably enough to balance the budget too.

    What do we need to do?

    First, get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. That would mean we could stop borrowing to finance those wars. We do need to maintain our military and our nuclear capabilities (our nukes may be the only thing that keeps us from being stepped on as a nation), but we do NOT need to be invading other nations and trying to force them to do what we say. We are NOT god, and we need to stop acting like we are.

    Second, we need to start PRODUCING THINGS again. We don;t make anything. We cannot hope to compete in the world economy when we produce nothing.

    Third, we need to REGULATE, REGULATE, REGULATE. It's time to stop huge corporations from wallowing in the mud of huge profits, while the people stand and watch.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  195. walter from Pa.

    Financial inequality and politicians inability to extract money from the very wealthy and directly influence the ability of the poor and ever shrinking middle class, to earn more money. This would greatly diminish the severity of all these other social issues.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  196. Jim Stuczynski

    The President has missed the boat regarding what is the most important thing that needs to be done. He had a chance to be like FDR and get ALL the unemployed working on the Nation’s infrastructure; i.e., Highways and bridges that need fixing before they crumble under our tires and kill more of us, water systems (pipes) that are about to begin breaking within years at a rate faster than we can keep up (there already), a 50 year old electric power grid that is more obsolete than the government itself, the Air traffic control system is even more outdated than the power grid and Gov. and finally the drilling for our own oil in states like MT, ID where billions of barrels are known to be. How would the government pay for this? The stimulus bill that went to those that were irresponsible with the money in the first place. That money would have gotten its way to the banks just a little slower that it did but he missed the boat.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  197. Duane Mooney

    The ignorance of the American public is surely the greatest problem that faces this country. Ignorance allows people to believe the lies that are constantly spewing forth by the Republicans, and the right wing talking heads. Ignorance allows people to vote against their own best interests, because by definition, ignorant people can not make informed decisions about anything. Taxi drivers in Europe know more conversant about issues within the US, and about US foreign policy than Joe the Plumber.

    Some say that this situation has been engineered by the Right, but even if that isn't true, the results of their actions in Washington, and in the states is to ensure that ignorance prevails. Shameful.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  198. Annie, Atlanta

    The Republican Party with their willingness to turn our democracy over to Wall Street and Corporate America, as well as destroy us right down to the ground in order to win back power. Money & Power. That's all they have.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  199. Marc W

    Oh, and to reply to Mr. Concerned...no we're not responsible or obligated to take care of you or anyone else who doesn't have coverage. We can help make it more affordable and more available, but we do not have to ensure that you get it. The age of entitlement in this country is gone. Ask yourself this question: "How did the bulk of us get jobs with benefits, so we can take care of our own?" Just a hunch, that while I was in school studying my butt off you and your pals were out having a good ole' time figuring it will all take care of itself in the future. Guess what, the future is now and just because you didn't plan for it doesn't mean I have to pay higher taxes to take care of you and yours. Take some ownership here and stop passing the blame on others. Oh, and before you call me a rich self righteous SOB I want to clue you in that I not rich by any standards. I just live well below my means and I don't have a mortgage that I can't afford or credit card debt for junk I didn't need. Americans need to live w/in their means and stop trying to out spend the Joneses. Grow up people.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  200. Chris - Sarasota, Florida

    People might say that America is weighed down by the hefty deficit, say they are concerned with the unemployment, or whine about a gridlocked Congress. But unquestionably the most serious problem facing the U.S. is that the citizens of America have no confidence that we are getting anywhere.

    But we will get through these hard times; and when we do, we will have learned from our mistakes and most certainly come out as a better country because of it. Confidence is essential in any situation, and right now people need to have more of it.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  201. Patriot

    Capitalism is the biggest threat to our country, Jack. It's just another buzzword for feudalism.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  202. Ollie

    The "politicization" of education. People who know nothing about how to educate students are making all the decisions – business people want schools to run like a production line and politicians want. . . I have no idea what they want. All they do is place blame without offering any real solutions.

    Oh, and they fire teachers. Good luck finding replacements. Oh, wait – if the HS across town will fire THEIR teachers, then everyone can just switch places. Now THATS the ticket!!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  203. RattleBone Jones

    290 bills through the House and not one through the Senate?

    What a complete and unmitigated failure of a leader Harry Reid is!!

    Until the US recalls troops who are supporting our massive federal empire overseas, we will never be able to repair America. Presidents from George to Ike warned us. Some countries make chocolates, or watches, or software . . . . we just make war.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  204. Tom from Los Angeles

    I am not some ideologue wanting or waiting for some expression of human action that changes the landscape of our political process so that everyone will work togethor in harmony, ushering in some new golden age for us and for future generations. I'll leave that to the philosophers. But it does not take a genius or paid political analyst on TV to figure out that the current process cannot be sustained financially or politically. Independents have become the largest political group, while both major parties affiliations are falling. Voter registration are at all time lows per voting populace. We work in a world of economic competion from our "friends" and others with diminshing resources. Everyone may be born with equal rights, but not equal opputunities – no amount of social tinkering will change this. It is against this backdrop that the current crop of players on the political stage are operating seemingly without consequence or understanding. We are heading to a new revolution or at least major political upheavals. Pres. Jefferson was right, as were our other forefathers, that when a governement can no longer sustain the contract between the ruler and the governed, when the will and rights of the people are no longer paramount to the process of governing then it is time to change the government with one that will.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  205. michael armstrong sr.

    The biggest threat is the democrats has the majority rule .

    February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  206. John in East Syracuse, New York

    Jack, this one is really easy. The single most serious problem facing the U.S. today is the ever-increasing stranglehold of corporations, Particularly trans-national conglomerates, over everything. No small part of this problem is growing corporate domination of media which makes it more and more difficult for people to get useful information. Of course, the recent Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case will just make matters worse. If the law treats corporations as people and money as speech, then real people without much money will soon be unable to hear their own voices.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  207. Robert -- Colorado Springs, CO

    The SINGLE most serious problem facing the U.S. today is the federal government.

    They are destroying our country at the speed of light and must be stopped before we reach a point of no return!

    Immediately impeach the President and remove Congress.

    Until special national elections can be held, establish an emergency government staffed by three former US presidents, three successful and honorable CEO's and one successful and respected investment expert (for example a Warren Buffet). Each will have equal power to govern with a majority vote to decide each issue.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  208. DL60

    A polarized and angry nation wanting instant gratification is our biggest problem.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  209. Elizabeth

    Amen Pat........I couldn't have said it better myself. To quote the great and wise Pogo.......We have met the enemy and he is us!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  210. Steve Auld

    It's the system, the Democrats and the Republicans only care about winning. What the hell happened to "A goverment for the people and by the people". How many times in the recent past have the people made clear what they want, and the politicians done something else. Health care is a good example. Us middle class working people can't afford to be sick, and all they want to do is make sure it's their agenda that passes. I'm sick of all of them, but the next batch will do the same thing if "we the people allow it".

    February 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  211. Judy Amos

    The economy. This trumps all other issues. If we can't fix the economy, we can't fix ANYTHING else.

    Judy Amos
    Los Angeles, CA

    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  212. Justin from OH

    Jack, I thank you for writing most of my post today. The most serious problem with this country is that " The House has passed 290 bills – the Senate has acted on none of them." The senate is truly where every good piece of legislation goes to die. Who ever thought it was a good idea for a state like Alabama to have the same voting rights as California or New York? If those senators were truly patriotic Americans, they would either vote on something or dissolve their half of the legislative branch so it can truly be a government by the people and for the people.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  213. Andrea Santos

    Lunatic fringes

    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  214. Dee Cee

    The Federal Reserve. Should more be said?

    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  215. Michael Johnson


    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  216. Lisa Illinois

    The government not being able to work together for the better of the people.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  217. Steve Hair

    Public opinion polls. . .

    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  218. Mike

    All of them... so many of our problems are so entwined that you have to fix them all to fix any of them... this is the result of inaction on big issues for decades.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  219. gary thoms

    Jack thank you for asking------#1 We need to live off what we make . #2 We need Jobs.

    No more wars until we can pay for them-–Iran comes to mind, and while we're at it we can stop the war on wildlife.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  220. Bill from Greensboro


    Unregulated, laissez faire capitalism. A part of this lack of regulation includes the obscene amount of money spent by big business lobbying and 'buying' our Congress.
    If Wall Street (big business) was obliged to conduct business under reasonable regulations, many of the other problems would be mute.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  221. Fred Tondalo

    Thats an easy one Jack one word.... REPUBLICANS

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  222. RattleBone Jones

    Censorship – usually by the media – is also ruining America.

    Don't show caskets, or burned childrens' bodies, or executions, or evictions, or people being crushed by our banks.

    I finally decide to blog something, and my "comment is awaiting moderation."

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  223. Blant Teflon

    Thats easy....... POLITIICANS!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  224. John Long Island

    Three words Jack GREED GREED GREED That is all

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  225. Dannyboy

    Democrats the problem? Under Republican Ronald Reagan spending increased exponentially as did the national debt in the 1980s. Under Bush2 a multi-billion dollar surplus was squandered into billion dollar deficits (WITHOUT accounting for the wars!!), so don't spew the same old partisan line–think of something original on your own. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of either party. But you MUST admit the truth, it's BOTH parties and ALL POLITICIANS. TERM LIMITS and an educated, involved electorate are just the start. We have a long way to go.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  226. Richard - Minneapolis

    Without a doubt: A corrupted election system that feeds a corrupt, bought-and-paid-for legislature, executive office, and judicial system.
    It's ALL in ashes.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  227. Jerry in Pittsburgh

    Jack, plain and simple, America's biggest problem is lack of education. People don't know much about anything these days and neither do our politicians. We truly do have a government by the people and for the people.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  228. george german

    Good o'l boy oil and our depedency on it as a product,the never ending meltdown in the middel east,the lack of a real domestic agenda.
    And the greed that has corrupted our gov.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  229. Silas Kain - Boston

    We will never achieve comprehensive reform of any kind until there is comprehensive campaign finance reform. Votes don't matter, Jack. They're easy to buy when you've got corporations and special interests pumping millions into the wallets of politicians. $400 million has been spent in lobbying efforts on behalf of the health care industry! Where did the money come from? Ask the subscribers of Anthem Blue Cross in California. These premium increases aren't for better quality care, they're to pay for Campaign 2010. As I watched Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) hug the President at the start of the 7 hour press opportunity yesterday, I recalled another hug which cost just 30 pieces of silver. I guess Judas rates have risen in two millennium.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  230. Frederick Ferguson

    The most serious problem facing America today is a deficit, but not the budget deficit–the education deficit. Our education system has totally failed and the average American can't find their home on a map let alone understand complex policy issues like health care and deficit reduction. And while the Democrats try in vain to explain the issues and options, the Republicans have just decided to go with the flow and hawk irrational talking points to the far right rather than propose rational and efficient solutions to any of our problems. Let's start by spending more on schools than prisons Jack–it's is time to legalize drugs.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  231. John

    Biggest problem is a misunderstanding of our history as a nation. Our founding fathers had a deep-rooted distrust of strong central government and a strong belief in individual initiative and personal responsibility. They had just fought a war and literally put their lives on the line to rid us of a burdensome, abusive and unresponsive government (The British parliament). Now , too many in this country welcome big government and look to it to solve our problems. It has never worked. Over seven decades of socialist rule in Europe, particularly eastern Europe should have made that clear. Until Americans realize that the solutions lie in our hard work and initiative and not in government largesse, I'm not very optimistic with regard to my country's future.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  232. Cameron S.

    The single most problem? Obstructionsim. Our government is and always has been a place where passing major legislation is impossible.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  233. Donna

    The single biggest problem in this country is partisanship. People elected to guide this country and too busy running for reelection do actually do their jobs.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  234. Angela Tacoma Washington

    EASY...The Republican Party

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  235. RRI

    Most dangerous?

    Talk-Radio Big Mouths.
    Cable TV Pundits and Commentators.
    And the frightened herd that listens to them.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  236. Gloria Reiss

    The Senate. I think the Senate is an outdated institution. A discretely small part of our population has disproportionate power due to 2 senators per state. I think the Senate was created before communication and travel reshaped our country. The House should be able to over ride the Senate. AND Term Limits. Senate and House seats should not be career jobs.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  237. Lawrence

    The single most serious problem right now is who else "Republican" the obstructionists.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  238. Elaine- Houston

    That medicare and social security if running dry. Stop the wars and build high-tech military weapons. the wars of the last 20 years have been ground hand to hand. use the money to strengthen homeland security and support medicare, social security and healthcare.

    If the people can't continue to work and live, we won't have anything to worry about.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  239. AlphaPoe1

    30,000,000 people without health insurance is our most serious problem. People are dying because of it. People come before money. Fix healthcare so all Americans can afford it and do it FAST. Priority One.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  240. Terry

    single biggest problem is entitlements nobody wants to actually work for a living any more because it's much easier to just let the government give me everything I need!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  241. Conrad Dunn

    I think the single most serious problem facing the U.S. today is a lack of morality.
    If we truly loved our neighbor as ourself, we would do many things differently throughout each day.
    Instead of fighting to get in front of the car ahead of us, we would realize that he or she needs to arrive at their destination as much as we do.
    Instead of bad-talking our boss, we would consider his stress, the debacle of middle-management, maybe even the disaster of his home life. We would offer him understanding.
    Instead of lying to get ahead, we would be truthful, even when it hurts us.
    Instead of hating those who believe differently, we would try to understand where their beliefs came from.
    Our leaders would lead because they want to help others, not rule over others.
    I believe America was once a land of morality, and it was one of the things that made this country great.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  242. Lindsey

    The major problem facing America is unite. Without unite America becomes a three world country, facing the same economic problems.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  243. Peter, IL

    Serious problems= serious threat= Tea Party

    America cannot afford to take steps backward toward the 60s.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  244. Mike

    That's the easiest question I've had to answer today,,,Congress...
    After all, it is the opposite of progress!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  245. Kirby

    This may be the easiest question to answer you've ever asked Jack...our Washington politicians, the whole sorry lot of them, by far.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  246. Ben Vitoff

    Where to begin? We have so many. Right now, I think the one problem that is the most serious, is big political parties. Everybody worries about big government. What about big political parties? The Democrats and Republicans are so big, that they would rather do nothing, and play hot potato with our nations problems, while they know that they will always mutually be in charge, one way or another. It is sickening. They have only loyalty to themselves and their disfunctional relationship with each other, at everyone's expense. I'm tired of them both. If they could work together, many of the problems we have would not have blown up to be problems in the first place.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  247. Matt in Hot Springs

    REPUBLICANS!! (with the exception of Ron Paul).

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  248. Teresa Riddle

    Health care is the most serious problem. It greatly contributes to our ecomonic problems. It's also of upmost importance that every American have access to good and reasonable heath care.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  249. C Altz

    The Republican Party

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  250. Jon


    It's simple.

    Greed, greed, and more greed!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  251. Rick

    The most serious problem facing the USA is the ignorance of it's population and the conservatism. Simple as that. Next to that and related is that you folks seem to think of everything in terms of right wing and left wing instead of good and bad. The dems can have good ideas and do. Yet the vast majority of right wingers will not even entertain the notion. I suppose repubs can have good ideas too but I can't say I've heard many for the past 50 years or so.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  252. Nathaniel

    Corporation's influence on Politicians

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  253. Chauncey J. Linn

    Single most serious problem, Jack? That's easy. The Congress of the United States! But we do not have the guts to fire them. So down the drain we all go.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  254. Johnathan

    The single most serious problem facing the United States today?

    The republican party and Fox news

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  255. Andrew Smith

    Of course, there are many serious problems, but the worst is the forces that simply block every serious attempt to enact measures that would move us toward solutions, i.e., the Republican Party and their media shills plus the ignorant public that swallows their bilge.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  256. Arthur

    Easy one, Jack. The most serious problem facing the US and our governmental system is the Republican Party. They care about nothing but politics. Why does the House pass bills that the Senate cannot act on? Grand Obstructionism Party. They care not a whit about anything but breaking Obama. I'm surprised you don't get that!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  257. Allen L

    The most serious problem facing the U.S. is we the people. There is a hyper-polarizing, highly verbal minority that are driving us into complete gridlock. We blame congress yet the poll numbers support the action (or lack thereof) of both parties. People have become experts without research and much of the media is fueling the fight because it's great theater. Wouldn't it be nice if truth and accuracy had enough money to flood the television with commercials? Unfortunately, it's the special interests that have that kind of money. What it boils down to is that misinformation and the politicians, special interests and citizens that champion it are turning our country against itself. We have no hope of solving anything until we decide to work together.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  258. Disgruntled American


    While millions of Americans are set to lose their Unemployment, Congress continues to pretend that there is no room to cut the bloat from our budget. If they cut off the welfare, food stamps, Section 8 housing, bilingual education, free breakfast and lunch to illegal aliens recipients they will self deport.. . . . Imagine how many billions of dollars that alone would save the American taxpayer.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  259. CurtJ

    Conflict of Interest and Collusion between the Republican, Democratic and Independent politicians and officials in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches of our government. They prostitute their votes to financially and legally benefit their corporate pimps and ultimately themselves as they've worked, or will work for them or were downright bribed for a few measly thousand dollars for votes worth billions for their corruption. Weakening us militarily, financially, ethically and morally.
    It's called Treason.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  260. Robert Noble

    The biggest problem with the whole population is pure,unadultrated greed. How much is enough?

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  261. maria from psl florida

    thats real easy.....campaign finance reform.....my way!!!!! no corporation funding....then maybe politicians would care about the peoples problems!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  262. Ron R. Plattsmouth, Ne

    Wow-I could talk for hours on this ?. I will just answer now with one word. GREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  263. gary leigh

    Probably the biggest problem facing the United States is that congress can't figure out which way the toilet paper should go on the roll.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  264. Logan

    Jack, it all boils down to one word: Republicans. Simply voting "no" on all things Obama is not leadership, and without leadership none of our problems (big or small) will get solved.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  265. Cynthia Curtis

    News on th deficit is upsetting, lack of motion on healthcare reform is frustrating but lack of understanding about the climate crisis,to me,is the biggest problem our (world) country is facing. It matters not at all what shape our union is if the world can no longer support us.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  266. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Sometime during the past decade the U.N. did a study on what was the greatest threat to the survival of mankind.

    This study found that our greatest threat was not nuclear arms, not global warming, not rampant diseases, nor biological warfare, but the single greatest threat to the survival of our species is each other.

    There in lies the single most problem facing the U.S. today, each other. Somewhere along the line we chose to blame instead of dealing with our own shame, we build impenetrable walls as ideological totalitarians, we cannot interact without judgment, there is little trust or compassion, we lost virtue for the sake of greed, and worst of all, a healthy reverence for American life is but a fleeting emotion.

    It is each of us that is broken, our systems are merely affected by us. So if we can begin to heal ourselves, then we can begin to help heal America and then the World.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  267. Jeremy, Cleveland OH

    In my opinion, the biggest problem facing this nation is conservatives standing in the way of logical social progress. Why must we suffer because a few people wish things were the 'way they used to be'? I've got news for you people–things were never the way you think they were. It's all a fantasy and an excuse to blame others for one's life not going quite the way you thought it would.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  268. Barbara

    Health Care Reform as people are dying from the broken system we have now.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  269. Patty.D. Bristol, Pa.

    Dear Jack, That's a loaded question. Where to begin? I would say the lack of knowlege how our Governmemt works. Many people don't understand how the Filibuster or Reconciliation works. I also would like to point out that Bush used reconcilation for a number of controversal policies. It amazes me how Republicans are rewritting history.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  270. Venkat

    It is not the deficits....it is simply that we have Republicans & Democrats and NO REAL AMERICAN. We need to fix real issues & not allude to symptomatic treatments.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  271. Kim Kleist

    From what I've seen in watching the entire 6 hr health care summit, REPUBLICAN THINKING and the portion of our populus that blindly goes along with it is the biggest problem

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  272. Kelli from Tampa

    Greed is America's most serious problem.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  273. Jim

    Our politicians. Without their ability to make 1 decision that impacts the spiraling deficit, unemployment, immigration, health care, you name it...We are at their mercy. Wait, we elected them!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  274. R.L. Bicknell

    The underlying problems are the corporate lobbyists and the money they use to buy votes. It's the system, not the individuals. The system must be changed.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  275. Jerry

    Jack, the biggest problem facing us today is" Party Politics". Until that issue is addressed and 'fixed', no other problem facing us today will be resolved. I implore everyone to read a copy of George Washington's Farewell Speech to the nation, in which he forewarns us against the formation of 'Political Parties'. We must end them, or Nothing – NOTHING will ever get done within our government. And 'we the people' pay dearly for it!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  276. Jacob Coughlin

    The arrogance of our governmnet is the single biggest problem of our world today. Our economy has boomed in the 80s and 90s and now our economy has went kaboom. Americans are refiguring out how to spend and save becaus ethey are forced to, credit rates at 29% will do that but now but our government has not. Watch yesterdays summit you will see precisely that .A trillion dollar bill that fixes only some issues. How come Canada can have national health care and 100 idiot senators cant figure it out. Because they are to busy worried about thenext election. The bill died in December and now Obama wants to shove it down the throats. Republicans try to look smart in front of the camera, democrtas try to look like they care, and in the end the nothing will happen, because they are fighting each other. Each party is waiting for the next election. Holding out on passing bills that make since just to one up each other. The government sucks and we are heading for bankruptcy. I mean how can anything get done in govermnet when the election process happens every 4 years, and of the 4 years of a presidents term 1.5 is spent on the trail gathering votes making empty promises. In between those 4 years you have election for senate and other institutions. The whole damn term of our government is campaigning. I mean the democrats own the house and senate and they still cant make it work. Its why more and more people are becoming independent and not affiliated. We are headed for bankruptcy amd I hate to say it but what goes up must come down.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  277. Kevin Kelly, Chicago, IL

    Jack, the biggest problem facing the US right now is the unfunded liabilities of governments.

    Medicare and Social Security are the two most glaring examples, but you've also got to look at pension obligations to public union workers. This is for state, local, and federal government.

    Basically, the US as a whole is like Ford or GM - too many promises made to people when they retire. Work 20 years and get 40 years of healthcare and pension.

    It's going to be very, very ugly.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  278. Ronald Morris

    Ronald Morris, Grapeland, Tx. Jerrymandering has resulted in almost permanent House seats. This is the foundationm od mindless partisanship. The people and the country need to come before any political party.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  279. rick

    2 words

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  280. Carol from Texas(and not a Republican)

    The single most problem? Republicans! Republicans are so stuck in their "republicaness" that they can't even think beyond: "Oh my God, we have a Democrat for a President!"

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  281. Chuck from Silver Spring, Maryland

    Healthcare, Jack. If we don't sort it out, and soon, it's one of those things that can bring this country to its knees. I mean, at the rate we're going, it's not going to be very long before Facebook and Twitter become pre-existing conditions.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  282. Larry Manacci

    The health care rip-off. How can anyone pay for health care when big corporations can not? Doctors and hospitals are paid like rock stars! This is the REAL PROBLEM. and this is what needs to be addressed.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  283. M. C. Kerr

    Obviously, our biggest pproblem is that we have government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation.

    This corportism effects every aspect of the government; who runs and wins and maintains office and the legislation or lack thereof that results.

    We need to revoke Buckley vs Villo (spelling?) and have mandated public financing, and if you cannot vote you cannot contribute to the campaign.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  284. Diana

    The corporations – they own our government and until we end corporate personhood and take the corporate money out of campaigns, the people with get crumbs, the corporations will get the cake.

    Everyone blames the lobbyists – it's not them, it's the people paying them.

    Americans need to decide which is more important to them...the corporate money or the people.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  285. Samuel Mann

    number one is campaign finance. all else flows from it – lobbyists would be emasculated if public financing was the rule. loose the lobbyists, and issues can more easily be weighed on the merits. legislation would no longer be written by industry. the public concern would become more obvious to legislators, and representative government might have some meaning.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  286. Corey Priddy

    Hi, Jack: I think the worst problem the US has is the inability of congress to function. Without a working congress, no other problem can be approached, much less solved. We have too few people in congress with the power to stand up to the leaders in either party. Bipartisanship is dead! Long live bipartisonship!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  287. Mazi Akawo

    A house divded against itself can not hold, The diminishing status is caused by nothing other than absence of consensus. This deficiency has been difficult to remedy over the years b/c fame and money is all that matters. The result is that honor, integrity and undilutated hardwork for which the Americans were known have been comprised. Hope dies last

    February 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  288. Docb

    Our single most serious problem is the systematic destruction of the middle class over the past two decades! No civilization has servived without a middle class in the history of the World. We can look to South America now for a couple of examples currently!

    We can point fingers all day long at who and why but it is happening at lightening speed. With no help coming from our current corporate owned congress! GHU

    February 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  289. Mickey LeRoy

    The single most frightening problem for me is that corporations call all the shots in how our government works. Under Bush, it was Halliburton, Blackwater and that crowd–now the health insurance industry is raising rates and thumbing their nose at both Congress, the President and the American people. The lobbyists call in favors and the average American has no voice......we all dance to the tune these guys play.....and lets not forget Wall Street......Private corporations have enormous power in our government and that frightens me. It is how we got in this horrible mess and we won't climb out until we get control of that situation. Free market economics seems to mean how many politicians you can buy these days. Mickey in Washington

    February 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  290. Matt in Nashville

    Talking heads on cable news programs are our biggest problem

    February 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  291. A. OReilly

    The biggest problem right now is our country is filled with creative, intelligent and skilled people spending 24/7 looking for a job...any job. My husband has 28 years in the Tech field, involved with multiple software and academic groups and has been looking for more than 2 years. We have got to find a way to utilize so many minds and hearts. These folks need to contribute again, they want to contribute. Obama needs to lead the way on getting the companies to hire again or create new avenues in new technologies for all of us to make this country great again. I think that is what we call the American Dream. Hillsboro, Oregon

    February 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  292. Joe

    Obama! Thats our biggest problem now!

    February 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  293. Alvin P Sherman

    Our Congress works for special interests. The individual you and me are road kill.
    Not one thing can be pointed to any part of Congress. It is all things - both the ass supporters who yearn for change and the poor owner who has been left to feed the elephant. Well, they both get no work get no work
    in return.
    Just pay for my re-election

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  294. Lawrence

    Hi jack the one problem is the gop will not help the Pres.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  295. Isaac

    I just heard a logical explanation of what the biggest problem facing our nation today. It's the way that government works in this country. All of our legislators are trying to get their way and the system allows stalling and no resulting legislation to be inacted. Everyone is spinning their wheels and nothing is getting done. It's like a stale mate in chess (no real winner and no way to continue the game).

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  296. Georgia V. Hilt

    The biggest problem?Go to any gift shop and try to find something made in our own country. Try to find shrimp that's not raised in Vietnam. Apple juice? why use our wonderful Washington or New york state apples when we can get them from uraguay? How about our farmers who are the true American heroes who have to mortgage their farms to the max just to pay their taxes? How about our steel mills? our local Bethlehem steel is now converted to a casino. Our biggest problem Jack? We really are not living inthe same country anymore. Hope the general public learns a foreighn language easily, because we are all going to be needing to read Chinese for Dummies real soon.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  297. Len in Washington

    Apathy of the citizens, Jack.
    Too many people want somebody else to fix their problems for them. This whole mess is just as much our fault as anyone's. For two decades the American public has wanted everything and wanted it "now." If we don't change this attitude we won't have anything.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  298. stanton d. allaben

    The single most pressing problem that the US faces today is the fact that our government is incapable of acting on sensible resolutions to confront the multitude of problems the country faces.....unemployment, runaway deficit spending, being bogged down in foreign wars, health care, banks that won't lend money to small businesses, Wall Street greed that continues to go unchecked...the list goes on and on.

    In order for things to change, government must make dramatic changes itself. Some solutions: impose term limits on Congressmen and Senators, get special interests and big business out of the electoral process, make it mandatory that the Federal budget must be balanced every year, end the earmark process, etc..

    The problem is the only way that all that can be accomplished is by action on the part of the very people who are running the government now. It's simply not in their self interest to do it. So, we're stuck. Solution?? move to another country.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  299. pacoder

    The single biggest issue is that no one is willing to compromise anymore. The politics of polarization and name calling, extreme unrelenting position taking trump rational thoughtful compromise. Both sides are guilty, the parties and their followers, the media extremists on both sides.

    Each side would rather practice the politics of gridlock when they are the minority. Neither side is willing to provide thoughtful compromise. Until that changes, and frankly I do not believe it will, this is how we stay. The broken and broke US of A.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  300. Eric


    I love your blog. In my opinion, the single most serious problem facing the US today is the economy. The economy is the single most important aspect of the United States. Without a strong economy, we are weak at home and abroad. It’s the domino effect; if the economy goes, so goes our military strength, our ability to create jobs, our ability to provide health care (republican or democrat), and so on…
    It’s just so sad the out elected officials are so juvenile and rather play pre-school, instead of working together as real Americans to get the job done. It’s just too bad that in the end, we all are going to lose.
    You better believe that my votes coming next election are going to go to the people to whom I believe are trying to working and get things done. Instead of the people who can obvious care less about us.


    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  301. Rick in KS

    Political parties and lawyers in public office. Where is the motivation to work for the country? The only motivation is to secure public office and line their pockets.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  302. GAROLD

    Greed and Corruption in Government. I am from Chicago and have watched it here for years, now almost every Washington congressional leader has been tainted. Pilosi and her husband's dealing, Dodd and his sweet deals, Barney Frank and his relationship with Freddis Mack, Rangle and ALL of his dealings. Every appointee who couldn't file his or her TAXES correctly and we're suppost to TRUST these people? I have NO faith or trust in my so called leaders.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  303. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    The most serious problem facing the US today, Jack, is our government's inability to agree on anything. Some good ideas for "fixes" have been presented by both Dems and the GOP, but both parties are too busy playing their recursive political game of Capture the Flag. Maybe it's time to dissolve the partisan system altogether and elect Congressional reps and senators (2 per state) as they are now, but based strictly on individual merits rather than party platforms. And I don't know where you went to school, but I was taught that 51 out of 100 is a majority, not 60 out of 100. Maybe then our government might accomplish something.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  304. james

    The debt and childish attitudes by unprofessional uneducated republicans. What do they know about economics? Also, why should we believe when they say something will or will not work they appear to be pulling ideas out of the air with no economic think tank mentioned.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  305. Dallas

    In a single word Jack the problem is capitalism. As Americans we are taught from the very beginning that money makes the world go round and you are only as good as the car you drive and the amount of bedrooms your house has. The top priority in life is not to help out your fellow man or do what is best for your society as a whole, but rather do what is best for your own bank account. How can we continue to be shocked by wallstreet giving themselves bonuses, politicians getting into bed with corportate lobbyist, and all the while taking every cent they can from you and I? Do you really think there are many people out there that would do much different? The world has become a breeding ground of used car salesman with one simple goal. 'Take them for all that they've got.'

    February 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  306. mark

    We have lost our collective soul, sold our friends and families for 30 pieces of silver. This democracy was predicated on good and moral people. Because we have ceased to be good (to ourselves and our neighbors) and moral we have ceased to be great....a true tradgedy

    February 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  307. Mike

    I believe that the single most serious problem facing our nation is all the foreign nationals in this country being allowed to enter on work papers to take our top R&D engineering jobs in high tech. Then take that technology back to their home lands in India, China, and Russia to reduce our tech lead and displace us, as they now do with our high tech engineering jobs in Silicon Valley. Look at the new Silicon Valley in India as an example.

    The short sighted mentality that has allowed this to occur is that the labor force in these countries is believed to be more profitable (lower wages) than using our own talent that created the Internet and smart phone we have today.

    February 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm |