How low is our confidence in government? I was reviewing some of the data that we recently pulled from our monthly fielding with investors today and came across a result that was so on point at what is wrong with America today that I burst out laughing. We had asked over 2500 investors ranging from barely any wealth all the way up to multi-millionaries whether they believed Congress and President Obama could work together to make a workable jobs plan. Only 8 percent of investors Agreed or Strongly Agreed that this was possible. In fact, just over 1 percent Strongly Agreed to this possibility.
Not surprisingly, 74 percent of investors (basically three quarters of Americans) didn't believe that our government could work together to solve our problems. While it is really sad that we feel this way, the question becomes who or what is the cause of the problem.
I believe there are three primary reasons that our elected officials cannot work together. I think the term limits for those in the House of Representatives are too short. The problem is because they are always worried about losing their jobs.
The second reason is that it is so expensive to continually run for Congress. Congress people are always busy raising money for the next election. When can they do their jobs and really understand the billions of pages put in front of them? The need for media and the related cost exacerbates this need. They need to get the donations from the big spenders and then they are obligated to follow the interests of their biggest donors. I think many a good person has been corrupted in office due to the need to raise money to continue to campaign.
The final reason is caused by the electorate. Some of the representatives, especially the newly elected Tea Party representatives, are truly trying to follow the beliefs of those who elected them. I believe, however, that there is a fundamental philosophical difference between the left and the right that is more divisive than ever before.
Theoretically it has always been there, but the advent of cable news and the 24/7 discussion of these differences has made them virtually insurmountable. Not only are the differences clearly being identified, the pros and cons of each issue are laid before us. While in the past we could ignore issues and pretend not to understand, now we have no choice but to understand and to support our own values.
I think the Congress is stuck in the middle of the mess which is self-perpetuating. I think the Financial Times said it best this week when it said that "America just needs to go back to being America". We need to be leaders and not let our individual interests threaten the strength of the whole. Look at how the Eurozone is floundering. We are acting just like them...and we are not separate countries. Just acting like them. Separate countries made up of red and blue states.
What do you think?