The percentage of Americans who approve of the job Congress is doing returned to 13% in October, matching the all-time Gallup low on this measure, first recorded in December 2010 and repeated in August.Clearly people are unhappy, and it's primarily about jobs. Secondarily it's about Congressional bickering and not getting anything done about the deficit (or anything else).
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Congress' approval has been low all year, registering below 20% each month since June. The latest results are based on a Gallup poll conducted Oct. 6-9.
Behind the recent rock-bottom ratings is subpar approval from all three party groups. Republicans' and independents' approval of Congress in 2011 has consistently been below 25%, and more often below 20%. After averaging 24% from January through July, Democrats' approval fell sharply in August, to 15%, and has remained lower than that since.
Currently, Republicans' and Democrats' approval of Congress is identical, at 14%, similar to the 13% among independents.
- There have been no structural reforms and no desperately needed repeal of Davis-Bacon.
- No legislators brought right-to-work laws as a bargaining chip in the budget negotiations.
- Lobbyists effectively write our legislation.
- There are no pending measures for campaign finance reforms
- The bank reforms that did pass have been both toothless and useless.
- The healthcare bill that passed is a disaster
- Attempts to reform Medicare failed
- Military spending is extraordinarily wasteful but Congress likes to funnel wasteful spending to their districts to create jobs
- No one believes either party will rein in deficit spending (and they won't)
- Congressional compromise amounts to spending more on the military in return for spending more on social programs. Economically we can afford neither.
Factor into the picture a jobless non-recovery with real wages falling, and the Congressional approval rating is both easy to understand and well deserved.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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