What do you think the biggest problem is in the US right now? See how your concerns compare...:
Bottom Line: Asking the ubiquitous question about what our country's biggest problem is right now is bound to draw a bunch of different answers, and it did, but it's also a highly instructive look into what we're most concerned with politically. Gallup recently sampled on this question and here were the responses:
I'll take the top 10 concerns starting with #10:
#10: North Korea
#9: Ethical/moral decline of country
#5: Unifying the country#4: Illegal immigration
#1: Dissatisfaction with government
Many of these, including the top two concerns, are linked. Healthcare is a top issue because of the lack of affordability. The lack of affordability is driven in large part due to the Affordable Care Act which was built on a wall of lies and false promises. Speaking of false promises that's where we now are with the Republicans in Congress which should only aid to the angst of our top two concerns. Parsing through this and thinking about our top concerns and how we're at the mercy of politicians to act on our behalf (which can quickly depress you if you dwell on that thought), reminded me of a story shared by an old friend of mine, former CEO of Godfathers pizza, former Presidential Candidate and current Atlanta talk radio host Herman Cain (If the name's familiar but you can't place him...You might remember the person who briefly led the 2012 Republican primary race for President with his 9-9-9 tax plan).
In the 90's I co-founded a company called Maui Smoothies. That's unimportant to this story aside from it leading to my first introduction to Herman Cain when he was still the CEO of Godfathers pizza. Both being in the food service business in Georgia led us to cross paths and begin a bit of a friendship that continued when he retired from Godfathers and I was in talk radio in the early 2000's. Around the same time rising Republican political star, former 2 time Orange Bowl winning quarterback from Oklahoma, and friend of Herman's - JC Watts, called it quits with politics out of nowhere. This was surprising because JC was young and overwhelmingly popular with his constitutes - he won he last Congressional election 65-31. Over lunch with Herman JC said something I've not forgotten when asked why he gave it up and got out...this is paraphrasing but captures the essence:
"Congress is made up of 80-10-10. The biggest concern of 80% of the politicians is winning their next election. 10% of Congress is just happy to be there and only 10% are serious about doing the right thing for people".
He explained that being part of the 10% who cared but couldn't successfully advance his ideas became too frustrating so he left. I can't help but to think that as we've watched Republicans run on repealing Obamacare for seven years, but currently balking at actually doing it given the opportunity, we're watching what JC said play out about fifteen years later. There's still a chance that they'll do the right thing but how much confidence do you have? No wonder the politicians and the policies they've screwed up are our biggest concerns.