Our government is more badly divided than maybe it has ever been. What's the answer?
September 28th, 2011
04:34 PM ET

Our government is more badly divided than maybe it has ever been. What's the answer?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The public's trust in the federal government is at an all-time low, which is no big surprise. They're lucky in Washington the citizens haven't marched on the place yet.

There's a new CNN/ORC International Poll out Wednesday that shows only 15% of Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what's right always or most of the time. Fifteen percent.

Seventy-seven percent say they trust the federal government only some of the time. And 8% say they never do.

Just last year 25% of Americans felt they could trust the federal government always or most of the time. Before the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, the majority of Americans felt this way. But the only time Americans have had such trust in the government since the 1970s was right after 9/11.

Meanwhile, as both parties appeal to their bases and emphasize their differences with the opposition, another new poll suggests what Americans really want is compromise.

The Gallup survey shows for the first time a majority of Americans say it's more important for politicians to compromise than to stick to their beliefs.

Tea party members are the only group in this poll who say it's more important for politicians to stick to their beliefs. Again, no surprise there.

All this comes as the federal government just barely averted another shutdown, this time over a disaster funding bill. Last month, our lawmakers took us to the brink of default on our national debt obligations as they wrangled over an increase in the debt ceiling.

And you can bet when the supercommittee comes out with its deficit-cutting proposals there will be lots more ugly partisanship from our leaders. It seems to be all they know how to do these days.

Here’s my question to you: Our government is more badly divided than maybe it has ever been. What's the answer?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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Filed under: Government • US Government
October 19th, 2010
05:58 PM ET

Americans' negative view of federal workers justified?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

At a time when millions of Americans are disgusted with the federal government, a new poll shows low marks and negativity toward civil servants.

The Washington Post survey finds 52 percent of those polled say the 1.9 million federal workers are overpaid for what they do.

Seventy-five percent say federal workers are paid more and get better benefits than those working outside the government, according to the survey.

Thirty-six percent think they're less qualified than private-sector workers.

And half say that federal employees don't work as hard as those at private companies.

The poll also shows a deep divide along party lines when it comes to the views of the federal work force, with Republicans being more negative.

Republican candidates are latching onto this sentiment. On the campaign trail, they're using civil servants as examples of what's wrong with government - too big, too invasive and too much in debt. They vow to freeze pay raises and furlough federal workers if they win control of Congress.

Federal unions and Democrats describe criticism of "faceless bureaucrats" as scapegoating.

The government says it's hard to compare salaries in the private and public sectors because many jobs outside government are in low-paying industries while government workers are typically more skilled.

The good news for government workers is that of people who have interacted with a federal worker, the survey found. Three in four say the experience was a good one. Also, the survey shows younger Americans are more likely to give positive reviews.

Here’s my question to you: Is Americans' negative view of federal workers justified?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Taxes • United States • US Federal Government • US Government
February 5th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

36% of Americans have a positive view of socialism

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Socialism may be tossed around like a dirty word these days, but it turns out more than one-third of Americans have a positive image of socialism.
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A new Gallup poll shows 36 percent of those surveyed have a positive view of socialism, while 58 percent have a negative opinion.

No surprise that there is a big partisan gap here - most Democrats and liberals have a positive view of socialism, compared to the negative image held by most Republicans and conservatives.

The poll also shows Americans are very positive in their reactions to these terms:

  • Small Business
  • Free Enterprise
  • Entrepreneurs

While they are divided on the terms:

  • Federal Government
  • Big Business

As for capitalism, Americans respond more positively than negatively - by almost two to one - 61 to 33 percent.

But out of all the items in this poll, socialism has the lowest positive rating and the highest negative rating - yet like we said, that positive view still tops one-third, which is significant.

In recent months - some of the president's critics have taken to calling him a socialist.

They point to some of Mr. Obama's policies, including what they call a government takeover of health care, as proof.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if 36 percent of Americans have a positive view of socialism?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Social Issues • United States • US Government
February 13th, 2009
01:12 PM ET

Is the stimulus bill transparent?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Part of President Obama's appeal during the election was his call for a new era of transparency, of shaking up the way things are done in Washington.

Is the stimulus bill transparent?

The 1,071 page bill was posted late last night on a congressional website.

But when you look at how his stimulus bill is moving through Congress, it sounds a whole lot like the way "old" Washington operated.

Late last night, the stimulus plan – all one-thousand seventy-one pages of it – was posted on a congressional web site. This gave lawmakers only a few hours to read it before voting. No one can read a thousand page document written by lawyers in just a few hours.

so the House passed the bill without having read it and the Senate is expected to do the same thing shortly. Almost $800 billion and nobody in Congress knows what's in there. That ought to help you to sleep well tonight.

The Democrats promised lawmakers and the public would have at least 48 hours to read the thing before the vote. They lied. Again.

Old fashioned politics. Wait until the last possible moment – President Obama wants this on his desk by Monday – and then cram it through.

As the AP puts it, the stimulus bill is clearly "the result of old-fashioned sausage-making", with pet projects coming to light that hadn't been included in the original bills.

Here’s my question to you: What does a 1,000 page stimulus bill the public had virtually no chance to look at say about the new era of "government transparency"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Stimulus Plan • US Government
February 6th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Can government head off depression?


A man waiting at a breadline in San Francisco during the Winter of 1933. (PHOTO CREDIT: DOROTHEA LANGE/NATIONAL ARCHIVES/NEWSMAKERS)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. economy is in its worst shape since the recession of the 1970s, and perhaps soon it will match the Great Depression. So says the CEO of General Electric.

Jeff Immelt says that unlike other downturns, this one is faced with limited liquidity. He stressed that governments around the world have gone "all in”… "firing as many bullets" as they can to stimulate their economies, and eventually "government always wins". Immelt says it's more important to move forward quickly with a large stimulus package than to worry about the details. Congress - are you listening?

And there's more. Another top economic mind, the co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co – or PIMCO – says the U.S. might head into a "mini depression" unless government spends trillions of dollars. That's trillions, with a "T." Bill Gross told Bloomberg TV "there is a potential catastrophe if the U.S. government continues to focus on billions of dollars". While Congress bickers about mere hundreds of billions, a couple of the brighter bulbs in the private sector suggest it's going to take much, much more.

Gross says that the Fed is going to have to buy Treasuries. That's because some believe that as China's economy slows, it may start buying less of our debt. Goldman Sachs estimates that government borrowing will reach $2.5 trillion this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, these grim assessments came right before today's report that employers cut another 598,000 jobs in January – the worse job loss since December 1974. It brings the unemployment rate to 7.6%. Happy Friday.

Here’s my question to you: Is the U.S. government capable of heading off a full-blown depression?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Recession • US Economy • US Government
September 17th, 2008
05:49 PM ET

How can your faith in government be restored?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC yesterday that the Democrats do not bear any responsibility for the mess on Wall Street.  Democrats have had control of congress for the past 2 years, and Republicans pointed out they haven't passed any legislation regulating congressional excesses.

If they had tried, it probably wouldn't have mattered.

The White House likely would have vetoed it or Republicans in the Senate would have blocked it, and it never would have passed to begin with...

Whether it's the economy, energy or foreign policy, the interests of the American people increasingly take a backseat to partisan politics, finger-pointing and the blame game.

There's no commonality of purpose to cooperate in the interests of our citizens. The parties only pretend to care about us, but they don't really.

What they care about is holding onto power at all costs - which is why this presidential election is going to "cost" in the neighborhood of one billion dollars.

And you can bet Congress will take its next vacation the end of this month right on schedule.

Here’s my question to you: What would it take to restore your faith in our government?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: US Government