Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, April 24, 2011
ISSUE #652
A country run on polls can end up on wrong track

April 24, 2011

COLUMBUS: Everything in Washington today is run by polls. Nobody who has the job of making decisions about the future of the country will say or do anything important until after some pollster calls a few voters to see how it will fly.

Polls are fine to help pick a top football team, but whether you want the financing of Medicaid or Medicare based on a poll, I got my doubts.

In one poll, 70 percent of Americans say the country is “on the wrong track.” They should have asked the other 30% to point out the “right track.” That way the folks running the locomotive can perhaps get us switched over to it before the train goes off a cliff.

According to a poll, nobody likes Congress. Well, almost nobody. Their approval rating is 9%. The only problem is, the other 91% can’t agree on what they disapprove of. I bet close to half of that 91% is mad at the Senate and the other half is mad at the House. Are they mad because the budget is being cut, or because it is not being cut enough? The only “approval rating” a Congressman pays attention to is in his own district. And as long as that is above 50% on election day, he’s happy.

A New York Times poll asked whether the 2% of the population who make more than $250,000 should pay more income taxes. As you ponder that for a moment, would you be surprised if 98% said “Yes?” But actually, only about 75% want them to foot more of the bill. Even among the Democrats, who have a habit of asking someone else to pick up the tab, less than 85% agreed. Since these high earners pay about half of all income taxes, maybe the next poll should ask what percent of our total tax bill those folks should cover.

Standard & Poor’s didn’t need a poll to decide that our credit rating is about to get worse. They announced what plenty of folks already knew, that if the government keeps spending 40% more than it is taking in, even China will stop loaning us money.
Gas prices hit $3.90 in Ohio. I hope they are lower where you live. President Obama said on the radio this weekend that presidents do not have “a silver bullet that can bring down gas prices.” He also said he feels our pain, but I’m not so sure because when his limousine pulls up to the gas pump, it’s not his credit card that they use. It’s ours.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“The Literary Digest is taking a poll to see how many people there are in the United States who are interested in politics that can write their name. Up to now there has been about a third more Republicans that can write than Democrats. Course, when election day comes and all you have to do is make your mark, why I think the Democratic total will pick up. Republicans have to learn to write on account of signing checks, but Democrats never have to be bothered with that.” 
DT #695, Oct. 18, 1928

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