Despite the lofty rhetoric during Monday's inauguration festivities, a Jan. 21 Gallup poll shows that most Americans disapprove of Barack Obama's job performance during his first term in office. Indeed, the president's 49.1 percent approval rating average significantly trails that of his predecessor, George W. Bush, who held a 62.2 percent rating during his first four years.
The mainstream media has conveyed unusually high support for the nation's first commander-in-chief from Hawaii, but the sentiments of the American public may be telling. Bush left office in 2008 with the worst job approval rating in history, and that may foreshadow a growing frustration with a politician who promised "hope and change" prior to occupying the White House.
In another Jan. 21 Gallup poll, just 39 percent of Americans believe that the economy is in a positive state. However, that might be artificially high optimism given that the majority of individuals (including illegals) are now dependent on government entitlement programs - programs that are, effectively, redistribution (a.k.a. socialist) initiatives that aim to transfer wealth from productive citizens to less productive ones.
Case in point, there are now close to 50 million people who must rely on food stamps to put food in their stomachs. Free handouts give the less motivated cause for optimism.
The fragile economy is foremost in voters' minds. More than 53 percent of Americans think that fixing our economy is more important than Obama's second-term agenda of "economic fairness," according to Jan. 21 Rasmussen poll. Only 35 percent believe that the latter is more important, with the rest counted as undecided. More likely, the undecided are unaware that economic fairness is code word for big spending social progressivism that has brought parts of Europe to the brink of insolvency.
While official government figures state a 7.8 percent unemployment rate, the real figure is believed to be as high as 13 percent if biased assumptions by political appointees are removed from labor statistics. Additionally, the underemployment rate is between 22 to 25 percent. In San Jose, Calif., it's as high as 38 percent.
Barack Obama faces daunting challenges in his second term. The question is: Will struggling voters, including those on the government dole, make better decisions at the poll during the next election cycle?
A federal budget deficit of over $1 trillion and national debt levels approaching $17 trillion are placing heavy strains on all U.S. taxpayers including the middle class. Worse, the U.S. senate has refused to pass a budget in four years which actually violates the federal government's own laws. Earlier this month, ratings agency Fitch announced that it may downgrade America's credit rating for the second time in the nation's history due to its crushing debt.
Unfortunately for those who bought into the "hope and change" slogan, the president's second inauguration speech barely mentioned the fiscal emergency which faces current and future taxpayers. Instead, Obama said that moving forward he will focus his efforts on gun control, immigration reform, and infrastructure spending.
On Monday, rapper Lupe Fiasco was kicked off the stage in the middle of his performance during an inauguration event. The 30-year-old's offense? He was dissing Barack Obama. That's no crime, not if we still live in a democracy.
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