One Day Ahead Of State Of The Union Address, American Dissatisfaction With Economic, Political Issues At Record

Tyler Durden's picture

As Obama takes the stage for tomorrow's State of the Union address, in which, among other things, he probably will not announce that the US debt limit is effectively $16.4 trillion, or 107% of GDP and rising, he faces a very unhappy audience: one which according to Gallup has seen its dissatisfaction with economic and political issues hit record levels. Among the Gallup observations: "As President Barack Obama prepares his annual address to Congress, Americans are broadly dissatisfied with the state of the nation in several specific issue areas, with satisfaction down sharply in some cases since January 2008. However, three issues -- the nation's economy, the size and power of the federal government, and the moral and ethical climate in the country -- fit both of these unwelcome criteria." And with the only response the administration has in the past three years consisting of either printing more money which sends all assets, especially energy, higher in price, or fiscal stimulus of which 90% and more is lost due to inefficiencies and corruption, we don't see satisfaction rising any time soon.

On how Americans see the state of the economy:

Americans' satisfaction with the state of the nation's economy has dropped by 23 percentage points since January 2008 to 13%, according to a Jan. 5-8 Gallup poll. These figures represent both the lowest rate of satisfaction and the biggest decline seen for any of 24 issues measured in the survey. Attitudes toward the moral and ethical climate and the size and power of the federal government are similar to each other. Slightly fewer than 3 in 10 Americans are satisfied with each, down from about 4 in 10 in 2008, the last presidential election year and the last time Gallup measured satisfaction on all 24 items.

Hardly needing a mention, another major source of discontent is America's perception of its glaringly incompetent governance system.

Americans' satisfaction with the size and power of government has declined fairly steadily since January 2002, just months after 9/11 and at a time when Americans were positive about most things relating to the government. Confidence in the economy has dropped sharply since 2008 after fluctuating between 2002 and 2007. Confidence in the moral and ethical climate was flat through January 2008, before falling to the new low.

There are some aspects which Americans are happy with, acceptance of homosexuality being one of them. Also affordability of healthcare - presumably this focuses only on those who are benefiting from Obamacare, as opposed to the remainder who are funding it.

That leaves 10 issues in the poll about which Americans show tepid satisfaction, varying from 30% to 42%. Net dissatisfaction (the percentage satisfied minus the percentage dissatisfied) is particularly high for the size and influence of major corporations, the availability of affordable healthcare, the amount Americans pay in taxes, and "our system of government and how it works."

Gallup's conclusion:

Recent Gallup polling has documented Americans' discontent on a number of fronts, including with the economy, the overall direction of the country, the federal government, both political parties, the media, big business, education, U.S. healthcare coverage, and gas prices. Of the 24 issues Gallup polled on in the recent survey, 13 have satisfaction scores below 40%. Public satisfaction has declined by a significant margin on 9 since January 2008, including to worrisome lows on the economy and system of government. Despite recent gains in the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, the large majority of Americans in early January say they are dissatisfied with the nation's economy.


State of the Union speeches typically provide sitting presidents with a valuable opportunity to highlight their successes, redefine their failures, and reset the nation's political priorities. Obama will undoubtedly try to do this on his own terms, perhaps highlighting some of the issues Americans rate highly in this survey. However, he faces the daunting task of making his message credible and relevant against the backdrop of political and economic turmoil that has characterized much of the past few years.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Stoploss's picture

The state of the unicorn address??  People watch that shit??

Dr. Engali's picture

Not me. I have more important things to do than listen to a liar point fingers and try to divide a nation. Personally I'll be spending time with the kids.

Momauguin Joe's picture

Who's got time to watch the staged politics on the boob tube? Kids give me a $500. Cabela's gift card for Christmas. I'm driving up and taking a look around for a good 30-06.

WonderDawg's picture

Depending on what you plan to use it for, a .308 might be a better choice. It's plenty big enough to take down big game, less recoil, and the ammo is cheaper. Just a thought.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Also used by U.N. forces if I am not mistaken.

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

This is Obama's chance to turn things around. He made a good start by introducing strong and decisive fiscal stimulus programs, but lately his efforts have been lacking somewhat which explains the recent poor economic performance. The ability of congress to introduce meaningful fiscal stimulus programs has also been hampered by the Federal Reserve's recent hawkishness as well as childish disputes over raising the debt ceiling.

gaoptimize's picture

I signed in just to vote this down.  MDB thinks the fiscal and monetary crack pipe hasn't delivered a big and long enough hit, so he thinks it's time to fire up the
Keynesian hookah.  What part of "negative GDP return per unit of debt" don't you understand?

Popo's picture

MDB is one of our resident trolls.  He likes making absurdly annoying comments.

trav7777's picture

our culture is's no accident.

research certain attributes of people who are dominant in porn production, hollywood studios and media, banking, the slave trade, vice trades, and then do the same thing for "civil rights" and other racial "watchdog" organizations.  You'll notice some things which are readily apparent and just highly coincidental I guess.

TruthInSunshine's picture

--2012 Annual State Of The Union Address; Advance Copy--

My fellow Amerikans, if I am re-elected in 2012, for another 4 year term as teleprompter of Wall Street, the state of the union will be strong.

[Glitch in electronics; circuitry overload]

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.


Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless Amerika.

Thunderous Applause [soundtrack]

ratpack1968's picture

I second the .308 recommendation - assuming it is for sport.  If you're preparing for the zombie apocalypse you would be better off with a pump-action 12 gauge. Less likely to wing innocents in close quarters (a .308 will go through walls).  A reliable .45 ACP sidearm (1911, XDM, Glock) would make a good traveling companion.

trav7777's picture

I third the 762N recommendation.  Turns cover into concealment.  I like .45 too but the capacity of the modern nines along with the apparent ballistics performance of the latest JHPs is pretty compelling.  Same is true in .40

Momauguin Joe's picture

Thanks Wonderdawg. I'll check it out.

Dr. Engali's picture

I shoot a 270. It's one of my favorite guns to shoot.

Stoploss's picture




1 Barrel


Dr. Engali's picture

I also shoot a .223 and a 9mm. But when I really want to go crazy I shoot my Saiga 12 gauge.

DarkestPhoenix's picture

I'm falling in love with the Glock 21 and Glock 22.  I bought my 22 simply because with a couple conversion barrels and one slide, I can now fire .40, 9mm (threaded barrel), .22LR and .357.

But I can't help but stare longingly at the G21, which puts versatility to shame in that department, with the ability to fire .45, 10mm, 38 Super, .50 cal, .40, .357, 9mm and 400 corbon (why you need it when it's rare as shit and you have 10mm anyway, I have no clue), with the proper conversion barrels, mags and slides.  8 calibers, one gun.

Gully Foyle's picture

More on Ron Paul

By: Paul Craig Roberts|

If Ron Paul’s libertarian handlers and support base could escape their ideology, Ron Paul could be much better positioned to win the Republican nomination.

Here are some suggestions.

Ron Paul should be making the point that Social Security and Medicare are threatened by multi-trillion dollar wars that are funded by debt, by bailouts of a deregulated banking system, and by money creation to keep the banks afloat. Libertarians support deregulation, but their position has always been that deregulated industries must not be bailed out with public subsidies, much less subsidies that are so extensive that they threaten government solvency and the value of the currency.

Instead of hitting hard on the serious threat to Social Security and Medicare posed by Obama and Republican candidates for the nomination, all of whom serve Wall Street, the military/security complex, and the Israel Lobby, Ron Paul has been positioned both by his supporters and his opponents as the danger to Social Security and Medicare. This is an amazing strategic mistake by the Ron Paul campaign.

The mistake is somewhat understandable. Ron Paul’s supporters are mainly among the young. The importance to them of Social Security and Medicare will not register for many years, but for the vast majority of the population Social Security and Medicare are essential for survival. A candidate who is positioned as the destroyer of what scant economic protection the American elderly have is not positioned to win an election for president.

Many libertarians regard Social Security and Medicare as welfare handouts and as Ponzi schemes, when in fact these programs are a form of private property. People pay for these programs all their working lives, just as they pay premiums for private medical policies and make their deposits into private pension plans. Libertarians are great defenders of private property, so why don’t they defend the elderly’s private property rights in Social Security and Medicare benefits? Social Security and Medicare are contracts that government made with citizens. These contracts are as valid and enforceable as any other contracts. If Social Security and Medicare are in dire trouble, why is the government wasting trillions of dollars in behalf of private armaments industries, a neocon ideology, and Israel’s territorial ambitions? Why isn’t this question the most important issue in the campaign?

Instead, in a decade that has seen two massive stock market crashes and an amazing amount of financial fraud, libertarians prattle on about privatizing Social Security and about how much larger the retirement pensions would be. They speak about delaying the Social Security retirement age to 70 without any thought to what a person does who is retired by his employer at 65. People who suggest making Social Security and Medicare off limits until people reach 70 need to have a look at the cost of private medical plans for older people. A group plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida for a 64-year old woman has a $18,000 premium, large deductibles per medical issue, and a 20% co-pay. Even a person with private insurance faces potentially ruinous health care expenses.

Libertarians will not wait to think before they inform me that private savings are funded but Social Security and Medicare are not. They are incorrect on both accounts.

Social Security and Medicare are funded with a payroll tax. It is true that the government has stolen the funds, spent them, and left non-marketable IOU’s in their place. But in our deregulated casino financial system with street registration of “securities,” the same thing happens to private holdings. Where is the money that individuals had in MF Global? What happened to people’s savings invested with Madoff? What happened to Enron’s investors? Can AIG make good on its promises to pay the benefits that people have purchased? Can banks whose balance sheets are loaded with subprime derivatives make good on their depositors’ accounts? US government debt is a component of many private pension plans. How secure are the values of Treasury bonds?

The notion that free unregulated markets are totally trustworthy is the enormous mistake that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made, for which American and European peoples continue to pay. Libertarians endorse this fantastic mistake to the hilt.

This is not meant to be an attack on libertarians. Rather, it is an explanation of some of their mistakes. There is much to admire about libertarians. They believe in civil liberty, that is, in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. They understand that government cannot substitute for the market. I know a lot about libertarians. I was associated with them for years, serving for several years as Distinguished Scholar at the Cato Institute until I was run off for independent thinking.

Libertarians are sectarian, and their tolerance does not extend beyond their ideology.

The biggest mistake that libertarians make is the way they view government and private sectors. Government is the root of all evil, and the private sector is the source of all good. Libertarians have never figured out that people are the same whether in the government or in the private sector. They will abuse their power regardless of where they perch. That is why government needs to be tied down by the Constitution and the private sector by regulation. Yes, regulation can go too far. Certainly, deregulation has gone too far.

The ongoing financial crisis from deregulation and ongoing jobs crisis from offshoring constitute empirical evidence that the belief is false that an unfettered private sector is the source of all good.

Some readers misunderstood the point of my previous column, “America’s Last Chance.” I am endorsing the U.S. Constitution and making the point that Ron Paul is the only candidate for president in either party who is committed to resurrecting the Constitution. Without the Constitution we cease to be American citizens and become subjects of a tyrannical police state. My complaint is that the only candidate who could bring back the Constitution cannot be elected because of the inflexibility and sectarianism of his base. Possibly there are more worthy third party candidates, but they have no prospect of visibility. Ron Paul is visible, and the opportunity is going to waste.

I hope readers will spare me their comments about how important their various single issues are. There are many important things. The question is: what is the over-riding important thing?

Civil Liberty, essentially the accountability of government to law that serves to protect the innocent, is the historic achievement of the English over many centuries from its beginnings with the foundation for common law established by Alfred the Great in the 9th century through Magna Carta in the 13th century to the Glorious Revolution in the 17th century. If this human achievement is lost, it is unlikely to be resurrected. If the Constitution that Bush and Obama have murdered stays in its grave one more presidential term, no one will be able to re-establish the Constitution’s authority.

And please, no prattle from libertarians about “natural rights.” The only rights we have
are rights achieved by centuries of human struggle that we have the wits and strength to retain.

And no prattle from left-wingers who denounce the Constitution for not protecting slaves and native Indians. The Constitution did not establish universal justice. The Constitution protected the people covered by it. Over time rights were extended. During the past decade the Constitution lost its power. Today rights depend on the subjective opinion of the executive branch. This is tyranny. We should be unified in our opposition to tyranny.

Pontius's picture

Do you expect to persuade someone on this blog with this post?  Who is going to read it?

trav7777's picture

so at least you admit this place is an echo chamber?

trav7777's picture

this is idiocy...SS and Medicare are private property??? WTF?

They are IN NO WAY analogous to a pension that you "pay into."  There is no savings for SS, no trust fund, no fund of any kind.

SS and Medicare are gov't entitlements, no more and no less.

MissCellany's picture

Nor can you bequeath to your heirs any remaining balance at your demise.

thurstjo63's picture

Mr. Roberts, I agree with alot of what you have stated. I would say that rather than just making a statment that government is the root of all evil and the private sector is the source of all that is good, Ron Paul would be better stating the ways in which the government with or without business distorts the market and how it impacts on people's wallets. He really has a platform presently in which he could completely transform how society views capitalism but at present, his articulation of how the free market benefits individuals is not great. Along the lines of what you are saying, he could explain how government and bank printing of money impacts on senior citizens pensions and social security payments. How it impacts on purchasing power. He could talk about companies that without government largesse were able to become profitable sometimes even despite government. People like James J Hill who built railroads in the northern parts of the US without government help and beat his competition hands down while delivering high quality and low cost service. He could also talk about the ways that government when it is restricted to its proper constitutional role can benefit the populace. He could also talk about how services that people now view as essential were delivered by the free market in the past. He could talk about the social and medical services provided by Mutual Aid societies at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century and how that was all done privately. In terms of environmentalist, he could explain that pre 1860 (i.e. pre Lincoln the railroad lawyer who became president), that people used to sue for pollution when any type of polloution came through the air, land or water on their private property. And how it was because government decried that all firms could pollute as a matter of public policy (only they couldn't pollute worse than the other firms in that sector!?!) that environmental regulation became necessary. If he can show people HOW the free market can provide solutions to what is important to people's lives he will make an even greater breakthrough than he has made up until this point.

BillyBoy22's picture

The state of our union IS STRONGGGG!!!! (cheering)

Chief KnocAHoma's picture

I'm gonna play a drinking game.

Every time Huesein Obama takes credit for anything positive or uses the words ME or I, I will take a shot of vodka.

Every time he blames the Republican for gridlock I will take a shot of bourbon.

I only have one gallon of each. I HOPE that is enough.

Anyone care to bet how long I'll be able to stay awake?

ihedgemyhedges's picture

2 questions:

1. Are you a hot female?

2. If answer to #1 is "Yes", mind if I come over and watch with you????

lolmao500's picture

Who wants to bet Obama is gonna warmonger against Iran at the state of the union ala Bush?

ihedgemyhedges's picture

Well, one thing for damned sure, the teleprompter will say "The state of our union is strong."

Isn't it amazing that the teleprompter says that EVERY year?!?!?!?!?

Shizzmoney's picture

What do these numbers tell you?

Americans, across the board, are saying, "Please get this finger out of my ass".

ZeroPoint's picture

More like a fist, half way up to the elbow....

Gully Foyle's picture

U.S. President: The American people, Mr. Smiley, would never ever buy this.
Smiley: Mr. President, the American people will buy whatever we tell them to.

Irish66's picture

Moral and ethics, whats that?

GeneMarchbanks's picture

Always good to monitor what homos are up to with their erections...

Scalaris's picture

"Hardly needing a mention, another major source of discontent is America's perception of its glaringly incompetent governance system."


Yet these morons are keep being voted.

- Why America?

Conrad Murray's picture

I'm unsatisfied! BAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWW! I swear after I hold my nose and vote for a piece of shit this time I'll never do it again! BAAAAAWWWWWWWWWW!

Pass the Doritos and Blatz, the game is on.

Gully Foyle's picture

Conrad Murray

"Pass the Doritos and Blatz, the game is on."

Pass me the Salad and Mineral water, figure skating is on.

GeneMarchbanks's picture

I rarely do shout-outs but if you have two minutes to waste then this is for you Conrad:

Conrad Murray's picture

Man, if only you knew. I've been trying to find someone DJ-like with audio skills to mash that up with the song below for a LONG time.

firstdivision's picture

Sooo...tomorrow should be about a 3% up day in the markets, no?

AC_Doctor's picture

It would take a coronal masses ejection to destroy every TV in America to wake most of these lazy fucks up to persue real CHANGE.

Gully Foyle's picture


"It would take a coronal masses ejection to destroy every TV in America to wake most of these lazy fucks up to persue real CHANGE."

It ain't the tv.

I don't vote. Two reasons. First of all it's meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. The shit they shovel around every 4 years *pfff* doesn't mean a fucking thing. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around – they say, 'If you don't vote, you have no right to complain', but where's the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.”

“The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election”"Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.'"

"I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don't vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, 'If you don't vote, you have no right to complain,' but where's the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote -- who did not even leave the house on Election Day -- am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created."

George Carlin

francis_sawyer's picture

They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens.

Well at least that was true before Obama came along...

gladiator2's picture

Hi Gully

I handle the "if you don't vote, don't bitch" argument with "As long as I pay taxes, I'll bitch whenever the mood strikes."

I agree that voting doesn't take us where we want to go.   I maintain low expectations and still get disappointed.  

However, I believe that it is very important to REGISTER to vote for the simple reason that when communicating with senators or representatives, I introduce myself as a citizen, a taxpayer, an honorably discharged veteran, and a registered voter in your district (or state of Texas for senators).   I also believe that the act of writing or emailing senators and reps is often effective.

Not as effective as giving them money, but better than just bitching to the bartender or my neighbor.

Dr. Engali's picture

Maybe Americans will figure out that government is the problem not the solution. We keep getting more and more of it and our problems get worse.

toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

Get ready for another arrogant-sounding, taxpayer-funded campaign speech between golf games tomorrow...

chinaguy's picture

"The economy is improving" blah-blah-blah " jobs are being created" blah-blah-blah "There will be challenges ahead" blah-blah-blah.

lolmao500's picture

the nation's economy,

In the dumpster and it's gonna get way worse.

the size and power of the federal government,

Way too big. More fascist than the Chinese government ever was with the NDAA, SOPA/PIPA, warrantless wiretapping, secret prisons, torture, private prisons, etc... At least in communist China, you get a trial, probably a fake trial, but at least you got a trial. Under NDAA, you don't.

and the moral and ethical climate in the country

Moral? In the dumpster. Ethics? Long gone. 


The army should just take the occasion of the state of the union to encircle the whole building with tanks and all and arrest everyone in there for high treason. Then the trials can begin.