Trusting the Folks

Amidst all the madness over Obamacare and the government shutdown comes a fascinating poll about "we the people." Beginning in 2005, the Gallup organization has asked the following question: Do you trust the American people to make good judgments about political issues?

Eight years ago, 63% of those polled said they had trust in the folks. This year that number had plummeted to just 46%.

The reason is President Obama. There is now much buyer's remorse about his reelection. All the polls show his job approval rating is below 50% and falling fast, the Syrian debacle and the Obamacare chaos adding to the general dismay about the soft economy.

The key disenchantment with the economy is that the median salary for American workers has dropped on Mr. Obama's watch. After five years, paychecks continue to be stagnant. Also, tax revenue is at an historic high. Doing the math, workers are paying more to the government and taking home less from their check.

Not good.

And it is the fault of the American people that our politicians continue to let us down. Let's be honest, many of us simply don't pay attention to our country. We are too caught up in our own situations to be bothered with public policy. And it has never been easier to escape reality. High tech gizmos give individuals the power to create their own isolated worlds. Millions of Americans now spend the majority of their leisure time texting, tweeting, gaming, porning, emailing, and surfing the net.

We are facebooking, googling, blogging, flaming, spamming and downloading. We are becoming a nation of cyberspace zombies; addicted to machines that shut out real life. H.G. Wells said it would happen and it has.

Talk radio hosts call them "low information voters." Americans who don't know much about history, current events or anything else and who often vote on pure emotion. If they like somebody, he or she gets the chad. And Barack Obama is a very likeable guy.

We live in a complicated, dangerous age. Democrats have seized on the economic collapse and a bad war (Iraq) that happened on President George W. Bush's watch. They have convinced the majority of voters to embrace a new America – one that gives the federal government extraordinary power. One that runs up a record amount of debt in pursuit of social justice and "income equality."

Well, it is simply not working out. The gap between rich and poor under President Obama is getting bigger because fewer well-paying jobs are available. Corporations are being taxed to the hilt and are loathe to add more workers. Thus, salaries fall because there are more than enough applicants to fill any job vacancy.

As the Gallup Poll suggests, we are beginning to blame each other for the confusing state of this country. And, indeed, it is collectively our fault. We should be electing problem solvers – not charismatic ideologues who can whip people up into a frenzy.

But in order to make the internet cut, you have to make a flamboyant play to a specific crowd.

Not a smart crowd, a specific crowd.

  • Lee Church

    you are taking my material goldberg.. at least cite me as a source.. lol
    but you shrunk it from a world wide issue to a national issue.. you missed the point i made in the comments you took the theme from.
    the world is certainly going to have to deal, at one time or another with displacement, permanent displacement of labor.. already, automation has displaced workers, at first thought they would get higher paying, better educated jobs, but as krugman recently admits, that’s not the case. he, and others have been misinterpreting the data. Krugman is now in the camp that we have a problem.. and world wide issue with what do people do , how does society operate, and how do we reward people when everything is automated.. (and as we approach that point .. how to we transition).
    I’m not alone in this view, as i stated on the previous thread, even goldman sachs thinks it’s a trend that is going to require some serious thought.
    You have managed to trivialize it and politicize the problem… which as i called you out for recently is why YOU are part of the proglem. You are the creators of these zombies (you got that from me too perhaps?) much as Shelley’s character Frankenstein created the creature. The theme of that for folks that only watch movies is the obligations that folks have to clean up the problems they unleash upon the world.
    You created your own zombies.. and you continue to do so.
    Mr Goldberg, clean up your mess.

    • Brian Fr Langley

      First, the writer of this post was Bill O’Reilly??? Perhaps read the top. Second, this screed has far to much ramble and to little coherence. Third, automation is staggeringly expensive. Thus only the richest of economies can do it. Fourth, being an actual purchaser of automation, while the gains are not insignificant they typically don’t displace workers, rather they uptick production. Gaining efficiencies typically benefits every body, from the buyer, (cheaper prices) to the worker, (more demand for their product). And last but not least, as North America ships jobs to East Asia, (particularly China) where our labor force can NOT compete. Automation may be our only economic salvation. In the end wealth, (all wealth) is simply more food than you can eat. As long as food production is rising, so is real wealth. If it starts to fall, well let’s just say that’s when the troubles will start. Automation should actually assist in raising world food production.

      • Lee Church

        you are quite right.. the website was goldberg.. i didn’t know he didn’t write all the articles.. you are quite right.
        my comment then applies to the author.. sounds good to me.

        Your second point is purely opinion and completely subjective. one could make that claim about your post.. unless you are saying that putting first, second third makes it not a ramble..
        your contention that automation is expensive implies that companies are not making wise investment decisions.. it implies for example that an automotive manufacturer would do better to hire workers than a robot… Obviously manufacturers disagree with you. and while it’s true industrialized nations tend to be ‘richer’ as you say..poor economies automate as well.. in fact your assumption is that automation must be complete elimination of a worker when in fact automation is more often a carpenter using a power saw, an office uses a computer and other productivity improvements. you can semantically say.. that’s technology.. that’s NOT automation, so if you want you can call it replace workers with technology..
        to the worker they are replaced.. they don’t care what you call it.
        and yes.. no doubt about it, in the aggregate technology does improve the world.. i’m not anti-automation.. You read with your bias glasses on.. which is one reason think it’s screed.
        And sure.. automation certainly does increase production, that’s why companies do it.. otherwise it would be cheaper to just hire zillions of people, though even then there are tasks that automation will outperform.
        So to your screed., and it’s as much a screed as mine..omits that other countries are automating.. that’s why world demand for oil is becoming more correlated with china and india.. as their economies become more industrial, they consume more energy. you know this, i know this.. let’s move on, shall we?
        the problem is that as the world moves toward that automated agriculture that you describe, it takes less labor.. You likely know that labor is becoming a smaller cost of production.. a road crew now uses a machine.. drives along and does the work of many when compared to 1930s. so it’s no surprise that a road reconstruction project hires less and costs more per job, nor is it surprised that those jobs are less local.. as they are more specialized. but there are fewer of them.
        we simply don’t need the same labor in agriculture, manufacturing, and many areas (even web pages are easier than years ago).
        And that brings long term unemployment.. you can only find new jobs in new areas for so long until even doctors and lawyers become automated.. IBM is working with their watson program for example to diagnose diseases.
        and we have machines that fix machines.. OPDs to diagnose car engines.. all of this lets the folks practicing these trades operate more efficiently.. which means fewer of them for any given economy. which is chronic unemployment. The Federal reserve sees this, goldman sachs and investors see this. it’s not a radical position.
        The discussion that the world has not had, due to folks like you OReily goldberg, etc. is how does the world operate as we automate more and more and labor becomes less and less.
        in 26000 miles circumference, there is only so much growth possible. at some point.. and you can argue where that point is.. but at that point.. labor isn’t needed at all.. at any price.
        long before that.. (aka now), there are stressors as folks are displaced. they are angy.. they want that coat hanging bending job.. but a machine does that better and cheaper than a person. we are left with service jobs.. the poor (workers) and the rich (owners). there is no in between because it’s machines wall to wall. For now there is research and development, there is engineering.. but those professions are see tech improve effecieny so an engineer can design faster, meaning we need less of them for any given output.
        automation is likely our only ‘salvation’, i agree with that.. but it’s really more of a ‘temporary’ salvation. and if you consider the guy that is unemployed because the coat hanger machine made him obsolete then it’s not a salvation to him.
        This is a description of that guy:
        He is some 60 year old guy who gave his all bending those coat hangers.. and he had a pension, until the company was bought in a leveraged buyout.. pension plan recalculated and said to be overfunded, and then debt added to the company and the corporate raiders walked away rich, he was left with an underfunded pension, and the company had to automate to save costs and be competitive because their interest expense was getting too high (that’s a metaphorical story.. you know the routine).
        How does this your salvation meaningful to that guy? particularly if you say, your on your own now.
        But even if we take the approach that he is disposable.. let’s look at that.. other countries are developing more industry.. korea now makes cars.. samsung has a better phone than apple (unfortunate, but it’s really better), they are automated also.. sure there are third world countries, ,but even these are automated.. to some level .. textile mills don’t sew by hand in the dominican republic, for example.. and all but the somalia’s and the haitis are maing strides..Korea, india some real big countries BRIC and Germany.. and so forth, with large populatios that will have unemployment as they automate more jobs. They are not sitting still.. they are catching up, particularly china.
        So what’s the plan for the world’s population.. just let those other folks go bonkers and hope the big fence keeps them out? is that your plan? and as we automate/use technology more.. we will have chronic unemployment.. What’ the plan to deal with that? pretend they don’t exist? make them work at MCD?
        other than pretending that there will be some mythical future for workers.. folks need to give some serious thought about it.. your reply focuses entirely on the automation and benefits in the aggregate (which go to the owners). Your reply didn’t lay out much about the workers other than they will still be needed in some third world countries.. for awhile anyway.
        Nonetheless yeah.. O’Rielly oddly wrote about his after i posted on Goldberg’s blog… interesting timing.. indeed. coincidence? perhaps.. but since i raised the issue to discuss why chronic unemployment has other factors other than tax policy and healthcare it’s interesting.. perhaps he would like to head it off at the pass.. grab the meme and set the tone.. that would certainly be plausable.. but I still think it’s not a bad idea to at least recognise where he is getting his ideas from.
        anyway.. good luck with holding the country hostage.. you are going to need it.

        • Brian Fr Langley

          Coherence is in the eye of the beholder, so of course it’s opinion. You are the writer, I am the reader. So if you want to get your message across, the opinion of the reader (as to it’s coherence), is far more important than the opinion of the writer. After all, you should already know what point you’re trying to make. As to your second attempt, it starts well, then gets far to long and rambling to hold attention. And then leaves one wondering what exactly your point is? Do you mean to see the planet depopulated? Do you mean to outlaw robots? (or other technology)? Or do hope that a world wide collective (led by yourself) is the solution to the earth’s woes???

          • Lee Church

            what? i could not figure out what you said.. i guess you failed…
            geez.. don’t start with a passed ball is only the pitchers fault stuff.. it’s both..
            and as to your quality scores.. who cares? i’m not even trying to please you.. could not care less whether i write like this, or
            Whether my dear sir, the communications are consistent to the unilateral standards.
            Now after your BS.. no , I specifically said i was all for automation. and i say it again, absolutely.
            Automation makes the world a better place, in the aggregate. Your equation, as does the author that riffed off my posts of a few days ago (without giving credit, i may add) doesn’t include people.
            You cite ‘salvation’ by automation. And I said two things, first, it’s temporary (but i didn’t say not worthwhile as you have mischaracterized it to be, in typical GOP/TP glasses), and second your ‘salvation’ is only for the owners, not the workers, not the people.. they are absent your equation.. the only people you mention are the low wage slaves in other countries, which you are betting on won’t also be displaced (bad bet, particularly in china).
            And i didn’t say anything about socialism, or a collective, that’s you talking. not me. Is that what you would like to do? It may be, as you don’t spell out what all our people do once we have salvation in complete automation.
            My post, as it has been, is that folks need to stop doing what you are doing, that is making everything into a weapon. every word of my post is some sort of potential weapon to you. you say.. ah.. how do i twist this, or better, take something inartfully said to use against them.. that’s what you have done on anything you don’t agree with.
            But the fact remains.. your salvation, doesn’t say how these jobs of the future work.. how does someone that has a job, and insurance, that get’s sick, manage to change jobs, even when they are no longer sick if they are denied future coverage? How do you handle those that will be permanently displaced by your salvation? and how do you handle folks like china, who has both cheap labor AND automation.
            My point was the world’s issue is to answer how that future model works.. as we are going there without a nash equilibrium at the end point.. and we don’t even have a transition plan. and no, i’m not suggesting central planning, i’m suggesting that you argue for policies that bring temporary salvation for few, and misery for the masses.
            again the world needs to figure out how we are going to operate when labor is no longer needed. Your plan doesn’t even come close. Instead you sharpen your semantic weapons, and give dancig with the morons scores to posts (while riffiing off them without even so much as a ‘thanks for the idea).
            The issue of chronic world wide unemployment is clearly not your concern. Your solution is based on an equation that dropped the variables for “people”.
            we are done.. really.. don’t bother.. just do your TP bubble thing.. and twist what i said into “collective”.. geez.. nothing of the sort.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            I think you’re taking this all wrong?? My comments were critique not criticism. I found elements of the post interesting, but couldn’t figure out what it was you were trying to say. As for politics the idea that I’m GOP is NOT reflected in a word I said. However your post’s definitely take a leftist (collectivist) position. You either agree with the idea of private property rights or you don’t. If you don’t you’re a collectivist.

  • Sheila Warner

    I agree with Bill about the reason for the wealth gap. There is a shrinking number of good jobs. Brilliant.

  • ElvisWasAHero2Most

    The reason I don’t trust Americans to make good judgements on political issues is because of the lack of education in this country. Bill, you should know, I’ve seen that intern you send into the streets to ask questions on your show that anyone with a a shred of political awareness would be able to answer, but we need to face the facts… the folks are dumb. How many people still think Obama is a muslim? Or that evolution is a hoax? Or misunderstand socialism? Or think that Medicare isn’t a government program? If we can’t get past some basic things, than the folks have lost my trust.

    Remember when Obama was called an elitist? Because you know, he received ivy league schooling (just like you Bill :-D). Well, when your job is leader of the free world, where do you want your president to graduate from? University of Phoenix? The Founding Fathers were the same way, the smartest people of their time who were discovering science and speaking multiple languages, seeing the world. I trust those in Washington over the folks.

    Rather than elect problem solvers, because let’s face it, one man’s Cruz is another man’s Reagan, a more objective approach would be to filter out the influence of the media, particularly cable media which is so hungry for ratings that the most outlandish accusations are spewed and delivered to the folks for us to perpetuate.

  • Wheels55

    Brian, you are spot on.
    Hopefully people will not return the House to Democrats in 2014 and perhaps take the Senate away from them. If Obama has control over all three branches again, think of the careless things he will do.

    If Washington were to be a game of Texas Hold’em, Obama went all-in on his effort to spend his last two years really wrecking our country.

    • Brian Fr Langley

      If the dollar collapses (as it well might, after printing QE1,2, and 3) and the economy with it, 2014 and 2016 could be a Republican sweep. BUT if the Dems and their media friends have their way, the collapse (if it happens) will be blamed on “Tea party” intransigence, not 5 years of insane spending, along with 5 years of insane money printing. (by the way, while the two are related, debt and money printing, are NOT the same thing). If the Dems succeed (as they well might) at the blame game, the Dems will sweep 2014 and 2016.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    If you think the blame game is bad now??? A whole lot of NON mainstream pundits, (like say a Ron Paul) are pointing out, that the federal reserve money printing ponzy scheme, may just about be over? The current President was about to set a record for buyer remorse. BUT wait???? With the coming debt ceiling debate, Obama and the complicit mainstream media will now blame the “tea party” (and those nasty Republicans they’re said to hold captive) for the coming catastrophe. It won’t be the past 5 years of spend, spend, spend, along with, QE1,QE2, and QE3??? No,it will be those “hard right” (they mean fascist) tea partiers who don’t want to further raise the debt ceiling. Like all Ponzi schemes QE1,2, and 3 will end. And like all Ponzi schemes before them, it’ll end badly. (although admittedly no one really knows when) Nero happily fiddled while Rome burned and then blamed those no good Christians. Barack Obama will have a similar play.