CBS News-NY Times Poll Reveals We’re Morons

A CBS News-New York Times poll was released this morning. It showed that over 80% of Americans think the country is headed in “the wrong direction,” that “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.” Two in three people think we’re now in a recession.

And yet, 28% of Americans think George Bush is doing a good job as president. So even though the vast majority of us think things are going poorly, two-thirds of us don’t blame George Bush for that.

But you know whom we do blame? “Government officials.” Sixty-eight percent of us think the housing crisis is due to regulators and lenders. Only 14% of us blame the borrowers.

But 53% of us think the government should help bail out homeowners who took out loans they couldn’t afford.

In summation: The country is way off track, especially economically. That is not, however, the president’s fault. It’s the fault of government officials, who clearly can’t be trusted to run the economy. But government officials should definitely save the economy, by giving money to homeowners, who really can’t be blamed for buying homes they couldn’t afford.

Oh: And we now care more about our wallets than we do the war in Iraq.

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  • Two days ago this last Wednesday, I decided to go to my local Kroger to pick up a few groceries and buy gas (at $3.19 per gallon!). I noticed that the store was unusually heavily trafficked. So while browsing the aisles and waiting to check out, I decided to do my unscientific study. I checked to see if there had been a change in how people shopped, and ALAS, there had been.

    People NOW took their times checking for bargains, and used stacks of coupons. I had never seen that before. If that doesn't give you a good picture of what the economy is doing to folks, nothing else will!

  • thereisnogray

    $3.19?????? Dangit, I need to move by you, Doc. I just paid $3.50 a gallon to fill up my Taurus that is so old it's practically an antique. Of course to move there, I will have to sell my house, which no one will buy, because everyone has debt out of their ears and can't get a loan. Or, they can get a loan, but own a house that no one will buy because someone else has debt out their ears. It turns out I didn't need CBS or the NY Times to tell me that things are a little upside down. Oh well, this will all go away when we get a new President……………………………..sorry, fell out of my chair laughing. I'm back now.

    That's good stuff. I have to go call Ben Bernake now.

  • Gas here is $3.75 a gallon. $43 to fill up my Ford Focus

    Winey: Difficult! Wow. That's so tough. Keep us up on what happens with your house. It kills me the degree to which we leave our military families to fend for themselves.

  • Ed

    Winey: I also can't believe how we don't support our military families. Why can't we get a GI Bill for the 21st century passed. Seems to me that should happen before tax rebates or bailing out people from mortgages they couldn't afford

  • Amen to that.

  • "Oh: And we now care more about our wallets than we do the war in Iraq."

    I think at least part of this is the fact that we know Bush isn't going to be taking us out before he gets out of office. So what's the use of pounding away at this moron when we know he doesn't care what the American people think when in less than a year he'll be gone and we'll be getting out.

    At least, hopefully we'll be getting out. If not, it'll be another interesting 4 years.

  • FreetoBe

    I KNOW there is a recession: it costs more for my groceries today than it did when my children were home and I was buying for 3 (2 short years ago); my company-sponsored health insurance has gone up 15%, as have all of my utility bills; my son's college tuition has sky-rocketed, but the annual salary cut-off for federal grant money has been reduced. A single person is really out of luck trying to live alone; it seems like one salary cannot support a household anymore. My son has to decide whether he wants to eat or pay on his school account, and he works part-time as well as carrying 18 credit hours a semester. And do salaries increase to match the cost of living? No, of course not. And because someone bought more house than they could afford, our taxes now have to be used to bail them out. That's just outrageous; where's the consequences for their poor decisions?

    Sorry, wineymomma, although I have compassion for you and your children for being separated from your husband, you all signed up for this when you signed up for the military; in exchange, you receive free housing, free medical, free dental, free life insurance, and non- taxed food. You can live in a gated community (on post) if you choose. You receive a cost of living increase in your salary EVERY YEAR! (I was there, I was a military member for 6 years of my life, plus another 10 as a federal employee overseas.) So if you're having problems selling your current house, do what thousands of other military members do: put it in the hands of a management company and go be with your husband.

  • FreetoBe

    ….and my last line failed to attach to the above:

    Thanks for letting me vent; does my frustration show?

  • People complain about gas but dont get mad at the congress whom want let the oil companies drill in Alaska. I've lived and love Alaska. I have walked on the pipeline. It is safe and the oil companies are not the blame for those baron's in the Middle East raising prices, or the nuts making the oil companies have 16 or more diffrent blends that are not proven to be any cleaner than the next. Congress is lead by people like Al Bore. Listen to people like him and don't read to find the true facts and we end up with senseless rules and no new refineries since the seventies.

  • Why do we use corn for Methenal and not sugar cane. Sugar cane produces muck more fuel for much less gas. It has been used in a South American country to make them energy independent with no natural gas resources. Corn is used to prop up the corn industry and no other reason, but now you pay more for meat and other items because the corn is not available for livestock feed. Another example of congress selling out for votes.

  • FreetoBe, dude, that was harsh on the military stuff. I'll grant you the medical and the non-taxed food (except for the 5% upcharge, which is comparable to sales tax in some states, while some other states don't tax food anyway), but I don't receive free housing or free dental. We get a housing allowance that fluctuates depending on the area we live in, and if we choose to live on base (and if there's space, which there hasn't been at our last 2 stations) the allowance simply goes to the private companies that increasingly manage the military housing. Active duty gets their dental on base, but family members like myself have a dental plan which carries a monthly cost and comes out of the paycheck like anyone else. I'm pretty sure we have a payroll deduction for the life insurance as well, but I could be wrong there.

    I'm not saying it's a bad system–we have our reasons for staying in–but I get uncomfortable when words like "free" this and that are thrown around when that really isn't the whole story. Like everything there are (dis)advantages to weigh and priorities to determine. Military or not, it sucks to be stuck with a house you can't sell.

    But yeah I do agree that times are tough, and I'm not for the government bailing out folks who bought more than they could pay for, and don't even get me started on college expenses. Been there done that had the loans to show for it.

    And as for John's post itself–yes. Idiots, the lot of us. As a whole (major generalization here), we form opinions before we know the facts, and sometimes even in spite of the facts, and we don't bother checking to see if our opinions agree with themselves. Hence the results shown in TV/Newspaper polls. 🙂

  • As for the housing crunch–then there are people like me…I’m trying to do the right thing and sell my house and not put more burden on the economy, so I can take my monsters to be with their dad and my husband…and we are stuck because no one will buy or rent our house. Plenty of lookers all very complimentary of our house but no one taking it off our hands

    So go ahead and bail out those that took out loans they couldn’t afford but by no means should you help the military home owner stuck in a crunch like this!

    Sorry for the dripping self pity!

  • John,

    I know I could look up the poll to see what the polling methods, margin of error and all that stuff might be. It's easier to agree polls have strange, often entertaining results.

    I think someone might have used this elsewhere on your blog.

    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky animals and you know it." – K in the movie "Men in Black."

    SO there you have government "by the people, for the people."

    As far as the military – been there, done that and I'm with skerrib there. Was a year-long waiting list for base housing where I was – and that was for families, not single airmen. The housing allowance did not realistically take into account local market conditions or the recession at the time (1982-1986).

    The free dental had me yelling "yes, YES! It's SAFE! It's VERY, VERY SAFE." (from a torture scene from "Marathon Man").

    While doped on painkillers after an accident, I was coerced into signing rights away to sue due to the accident. (Dad did successfully sue the military, though, when a K-loader dropped on him due to someone's negligence. But that's another story).

    There is no adequate compensation for serving in the military. That's why it's called "serving." And that's why many so accurately call it "sacrifice" – especially when it comes to military spouses who have to bear a lot of sacrifice, separation and responsibility with little to no understanding from civilians.

    Preach it Skerrib!

    God and God's peace be with you Wineymomma!


  • yes free…I have been trying to decide if I should respond to this and I feel compelled to.

    There was no housing available when we arrived here almost six years ago. The wait was listed as 18 months but was well closer to the 2 year mark. We could have rented. We chose to buy and support the economy of our community. We did not over extend ourselves on our mortgage, we are more than able to pay our bills, but to pay our mortgage and have a place to live somewhere else is just not something we can do…

    Free medical and free dental…ah yes the perks of military life…we don't get free dental for anyone but the active duty member as was previously mentioned and the insurance we are provided with does not cover anything except routine care. And just try to get an appointment on a military facility for a child that is not chronically ill…good luck.

    And the last time I checked the surcharge at the commissary was 10percent. Although I am thankful for the shopping privileges on base because even with 10 percent there are just some things on the economy we would just have to do without.

    Yes, skerrib, you do pay out of deduction for you SGLI…so its not free either.

    Sorry, John, for hijacking your blog but Sam is right, this is why it is called serving!

  • Thanks guys!

  • Winey: Don’t be silly about “hijacking” my blog. I deeply appreciate the quality of all your comments, and I’m particularly grateful for the hardwon insights you’ve shared here. It’s excellent to get both you and Skerrib’s (and Sam’s!) perspective on a subject that right now should be so important to all of us. (Not to in any way disparage what you said, Free–though, as noted, it WAS a tad harsh-sounding.) You’re always more than welcome here.

    (Hey, Skerrib: A week or so ago I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but was prevented from doing so by what I assumed was some kind of snag in the Google name/password ID thing. I’m sure it’s been fixed right now … in fact, I’ll go over and try to leave a comment right now. If you don’t see one right quick on your latest post, then … then, again, Google hasn’t recognized my usual Google I.D. and password. But I’ll go see…)

  • Richard Lubbers

    John, if 1.4 out of 5 think GWB is doing a good job, then that means 3.6 out of 5 think he's not doing a good job. And you already said 4 out of five think we're going in the wrong direction. They pretty much says the same thing.

    I don't think one man can be responsible for a county's success or lack of success. But I do belive the current administration's policies have done more damage to our country than any other in my lifetime.

    Perhaps you might do well to address corporate greed as the culprit for many of our ills. Yes, many people bought houses that they now cannot afford. The lending institutions gave them the loans. Foreslosures are inevitable when people lose jobs that pay $22.00/hour because the corporation shipped their jobs to China, and the only work they can find is at a fast food chain or retail clothing store at less than half the pay. The executives of that corporation still make the same salary, and high bonuses for increasing the bottom line. In the mean time, we are eroding our manufacturing base in this country, and the middle class with it.

    He who dies with the most stuff wins? Let's hear it for Kenneth Lay! Or should we call him Cheato Lay? His widow is doing fine living off the retirement accounts of hundreds of former Enron employees.Do you think she tithes on that income?

  • FreetoBe

    wineymomma and all the rest: Sorry for sounding (and writing) so harshly. Not my intent at all!

    I'm having a crisis–you all pray for me please!

  • Kim

    Everybody should read "Economics in One Lesson" by Hazlitt. Written in the 40s but the lessons hold true today. It is free on the web at


  • I'm afraid I would have to agree with your headline here, at least to a certain extent. We keep putting people in office (not just the presidency) that have either already been headliners for bad practices or keep voting against what we want. Unfortunately too many people are influenced by press and TV commercials and not enough by facts and research. It's almost like people get amnesia when it comes time to vote, forgetting the awful scandals, or headlines that caught their attention prior.

    As for the "bail out for people who got loans they couldn't afford" I'm afraid a lot of that was ignorance. Being a mortgage broker in the past myself, I couldn't believe what some would do to get a loan thru. A lot of these people just made the mistake of trusting the people they were working with, who were more interested in commissions than client wellfare. One of my own clients, who actually ended up being one of my best friends, when I told her she couldn't really afford to refi, she just went out and found someone that said "Sure, we can get it done for you". Now she's upside down in her house and wondering if she should just walk away.

  • "Government Officials"…(not synonymous with The President?) should save the economy by giving money to homeowners? Yes.They should. They contributed to the problem in the first place.

    A $6 Billion Dollar TAX BREAK for HOMEBUILDERS is working it's way through the Senate right now while the value of our property is on a downward spiral. Guess what "government official" approves or declines that bill. The one we call The President.

    Yet "government officials" can't be trusted but The President can? Are you kidding me!?

    Last I learned…and it's been a long while, correct me if I'm wrong. I remember Congress has the power to make the laws, the Executive and Judicial branches pass bills to The President to veto or approve which of course can actually become law if The President doesn't act on it in ten days or so yet Congress can also override The President by rewriting a bill or doing that 2/3 thing and all the while The President serves as Commander-In-Chief. Since when is The President NOT a government official?

    And let's back off scapegoating homeowners who some casually say took loans they couldn't afford.

    Let's see. Unfair, deceptive and abusive lending practices has nothing to do with the mortgage crises? Predatory lending to unqualified buyers and all the other underlying issues of predatory lending? Layoffs due to U.S. companies leaving to take advantage of slave labor and less-than-cheap labor in other countries? White collar crimes that raped the trust of too many investing Americans?Recession? Adjustable rate mortgages?

    Even IF the government allowed FHA to guarantee refinancing of mortages, it'll still be costly, because the value of many homes have decreased below the purchase price. Did I mention pre-payment penalties that cost thousands of dollars.

    But the CBS poll reported only 14% blames homeowners. Still too high.

    Here is what it boils down to. The immensely wealthy homebuilders and our Government Officials which DOES INCLUDE The President, are all playing tennis in the same backyard. Why? Because if our Government Officials, (the ones we don't trust) refuse to play by the rules of the wealthy homebuilders, then the homebuilders will withhold their political contributions & tie those Government Officials (the one's we don't trust) on the wrong track of economic destruction with the rest of us working, foreclosed Americans.

    Oh yeah. We're morons alright. Keep thinking The President ISN'T a government official. See if he will veto or approve a $6 Billion dollar REBATE to homebuilders or Help You. I'd bet my mortgage The President gets clumped into the group of government officials I don't trust.

  • Kim

    Here is what Hazlitt said:

    The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

    Which seems to me to be a statement that fits in well with Christian principles – but what do I know.

  • Wait a minute … I know this "Kim" guy … he's a COLLEGE PROFESSOR!! Stop trying to get us to LEARN stuff, Book Boy!!

    Man. You gotta watch these college professors. They're never happy unless everyone's READING something without any pictures in it at all. You don't see ME reading books, do you? No. And you see how that doesn't have any effect on me that's not good or rather should I say very negativity.

  • For those who might be feeling a bit worse for wear due to the “bad” economy or perhaps due to gas prices or foreclosure, please go to this site to get reality reset:

  • "A CBS News-New York Times poll was released this morning. It showed that over 80% of Americans think the country is headed in “the wrong direction,” that “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.” Two in three people think we’re now in a recession.

    And yet, 28% of Americans think George Bush is doing a good job as president. So even though the vast majority of us think things are going poorly, two-thirds of us don’t blame George Bush for that."

    I think your math is off. If 28% believe Bush is doing a good job, 71% believe he isn't. Which is close, statistically (within 10%) to how many believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Also, two-thirds is 67%, which is pretty close to the amount of people who don't think he's doing a good job.

    "But you know whom we do blame? “Government officials.” Sixty-eight percent of us think the housing crisis is due to regulators and lenders. Only 14% of us blame the borrowers."

    Somebody had to approve them as borrowers, didn't they? Like a relationship, it takes two to tango.

    "But 53% of us think the government should help bail out homeowners who took out loans they couldn’t afford."

    I think the government should impose penalties on the irresponsible institutions who lent the money in the first place, which would provide relief to the consumers.

    "In summation: The country is way off track, especially economically. That is not, however, the president’s fault. It’s the fault of government officials, who clearly can’t be trusted to run the economy. But government officials should definitely save the economy, by giving money to homeowners, who really can’t be blamed for buying homes they couldn’t afford."

    I'm not sure how you summarize that from what you said. Sort of, I guess, but I think you're taking a bit of a leap. Especially toward simplicity, as there are complex concepts at work here. 71% of Americans believe it's the president's fault, which is clearly the majority, and the government needs to impose higher taxes on the upper-most brackets to provide relief for those in the lower ones.

    "Oh: And we now care more about our wallets than we do the war in Iraq."

    Of course. Just ask Cheney, who's made untold millions via Halliburton's defense contracts. You think Cheney cares about freedom in Iraq or terrorism? No; he just wants us scared so he can make more money.

  • Ric, thanks for the reality check, that was awesome! You are the man.

    In our society today there seems to be an epidemic of trying to find villains and fix blame, and a severe deficit of self-examination, of us being willing to ask what we may have done to contribute to problems.

    There are no problems that cannot be solved, just people unwilling to solve them. The mind of Christ understands that and seeks to build healthy, harmonious relationships between people (otherwise known as peace). It is hard for me to contribute to this process if I am busy trying to prove that everything is someone else's fault.

    End of sermon. 🙂

  • scottoncapecod

    Statistically speaking, 50% of Americans are below average, so we must keep that in mind whenever we view surveys…

    Love the name of your Blog. I'll see you here, there or in the air.


  • Thanks Ric, for the reality check!! That link you provided is an eye-opener. 😯

  • no worries FreetoBe…I’ll be praying

  • Home

    "And yet, 28% of Americans think George Bush is doing a good job as president. So even though the vast majority of us think things are going poorly, two-thirds of us don’t blame George Bush for that."

    Ummmm…. wouldn't 28% be less than ONE third, not two thirds?

  • You know, I believe you have a point there. Oh, well. It's not like it really effects the overall point of the post, or anything like that.

  • I guess I don't understand your point:

    -Is the summation your summation of the situation or the summation of the reported data?

    -I agree with previous poster that The data shows that the # of people who think we are "headed in the wrong direction" is almost equal to the number of people who DON'T "think George Bush has done a good job." The assessment would therefore assume they are one in the same… Which is not what it seems that you are saying…

    So homeowners are not responsible for buying homes they couldn't afford??

    I'm sorry, I just don't see which side you are taking on any of this, how you are analyzing the data, and what points you are making.

    I do however know where I stand on these issues:

    -Bush can't be blamed for everything just as he wasn't given credit for when things were great and unemployment was at an all time low and the stock market was at an all time high.

    -Home owners are responsible for buying homes they can't afford regardless of what lenders told them…it's common sense, a variable rate mortgage is VARIABLE and will go up….it's common sense, the housing market couldn't sustain the trajectory it was on…

  • FreetoBe–no problemo. I shall pray as well.

  • Numbers aside, the summation is very well said. We like anonymous government officials, just not ones with names that we know, I guess.