Hello, Washington? Is Anyone Listening?
By Eugene Robinson
It’s sobering that three-fourths of Americans, according to a new Washington Post poll, have little or no confidence in our elected leaders to solve the nation’s economic problems. At this point, though, it’s hardly surprising.
If anything, we should be shocked and alarmed that 26 percent of our fellow citizens apparently believe the president and Congress are going to make it all better. Are they not paying attention? Or are they delusional?
The manic-depressive swings we’ve seen in the stock market all week just serve to heighten the general anxiety, like the soundtrack of a horror film. Seesaw gains or losses of hundreds of points on the Dow tend to mask the overall trend, which is downward—and also distract attention from the fact that markets in Europe and Asia are heading in the same direction. The world is trillions of dollars poorer than it was just a couple of weeks ago.
Trillions, by the way, are the new billions.
The survey by the Post shows that while officials in Washington may be clueless in the face of economic turmoil, most of their constituents see things quite clearly. Seven out of 10 respondents said the federal government is “mostly focused on the wrong things”—and blamed Democrats and Republicans for this misdirected focus in precisely equal measure.