51% Favor Government Shutdown Until
Congress Cuts Health Care Funding
Sept. 17, 2013
President Obama yesterday criticized
congressional Republicans for insisting on
spending cuts in any budget deal that continues
government operations past October 1, saying
they risk "economic chaos." Most voters agree
a federal government shutdown would be bad
for the economy, but they're willing to risk one
until Democrats and Republicans in Congress
agree on ways to cut the budget, including cuts
in funding for the new national health care law.
Just 20% of Likely U.S. Voters believe a partial
shutdown of the federal government would be
good for economy, according to a new Rasmussen
Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-six
percent (56%) say such a shutdown would be bad for the economy, even though payments for things
like Social Security, Medicare and unemployment would continue. Sixteen percent (16%) think it
would have no impact. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But 58% favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while only 16% prefer one that increases spending.
Twenty-one percent (21%) support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.
This helps explain why 53% would rather have a partial government shutdown until Democrats and
Republicans can agree on what spending to cut. Thirty-seven percent (37%) would prefer instead that
Congress avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels as the president has proposed.
Some conservative Republicans in both the House and Senate are refusing to approve a budget unless it
slows or stops funding for the health care law, but the president and most congressional Democrats are
adamantly opposed to any such cuts. However, 51% of voters favor having a partial government
shutdown until Democrats and Republicans agree on what spending for the health care law to cut. Forty
percent (40%) would rather avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending for the health care
law at existing levels.
Late last month, 42% of Republicans said threatening to vote against a government funding bill unless
it cuts off funds for the health care law will help the GOP. Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagreed, while
14% said it would have no impact. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Democrats and 48% of unaffiliateds
thought it would hurt Republicans.
Most voters continue to dislike the health care law, and 54% expect it to increase, not reduce, health
care costs. From the beginning of the debate over the law four years ago, voters have consistently said
that cost is their number one health care concern.
Under the health care law, uninsured Americas are required to have health insurance by January 1, and
failure to do so could result in sizable penalties. Now that the president has delayed implementation of
the employer mandate portion of his new national health care law, 56% of voters think he also should
delay the requirement that every American buy or obtain health insurance.
(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are
also available on Twitter or Facebook.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 14-15, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports.
The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for
all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
The president sounded similar dire economic warnings before the so-called sequester automatic budget
cuts kicked in March 1, but even after some highly publicized flight delays that were blamed on the
sequester, just 24% of voters felt government spending was cut too much. Forty-four percent (44%)
said spending wasn't cut enough. Now, interestingly, the president is proposing continuing federal
spending at least in the short term at the lower levels set by the sequester.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans think that when government agencies are forced to cut their
budgets, they generally cut popular programs first to make the cuts seem more significant.
Democrats are far more concerned about the prospects of a government shutdown than Republicans
and unaffiliated voters are. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters in the president's party think a partial
shutdown would be bad for the economy, but just 40% of GOP voters and 48% of those not affiliated
with either of the major parties agree. But then 78% of Republicans and 64% of unaffiliateds favor a
federal budget that cuts spending, a view shared by just 34% of Democrats.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of Democrats agree with the president and would prefer to avoid a shutdown
by authorizing spending at existing levels. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans and 62% of
unaffiliated voters would rather have a shutdown until the two sides can agree on what spending to cut.
Similarly, 78% of GOP voters and 57% of unaffiliateds like the idea of a partial shutdown until
Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending for the health care law can be cut. Sixty-nine
percent (69%) of Democrats favor instead avoiding a shutdown by authorizing spending for the law at
Looking to the future, 80% of GOP voters believe it is more important for their party to stand for what
it believes in rather than to work with the president. Right now, 65% of Likely Republican Voters think
Republicans in Congress have lost touch with GOP voters from throughout the nation over the last
several years, while 59% of Likely Democratic Voters think Democrats in Congress have done a good
job of representing their party's values.
The president and congressional Democrats have tied many of their criticisms of the Republican budget
positions to the Tea Party. Just 39% of all voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party,
although 78% of Republicans believe it’s at least somewhat important for their leaders in Congress to
work with the Tea Party, including 45% who think it’s Very Important.
While voters are more critical of the Tea Party itself, most continue to agree with its small government
principles. Sixty-four percent (64%) prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes
over a larger one with more services and higher taxes. Sixty-two percent (62%) think the government
should cut spending rather than increase it in reaction to the nation’s economic problems.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of all likely voters say they have been following recent news stories
about the federal budget debate in Congress, with 42% who say they are following Very Closely.
The Percentage Of Americans That Consider
Themselves To Be “Lower Class” Is At An All-
September 17, 2013
Do you consider
yourself to be “lower
class”? Most Americans
wouldn’t dream of
thinking that way. Even
at the toughest times of
my own life, I always
considered myself to be
Traditionally, the vast
majority of Americans
themselves as either
“middle class” or
“working class”, but
now we are witnessing a
huge shift. According to
survey results that were
just released, the
percentage of Americans that identify themselves as “lower class” is now at an all-time high. It is still
only 8.4 percent of the country, but the fact that this number is rapidly growing shows that something is
changing on a very fundamental level.
In America today, less people than ever believe that they have the opportunity to make a better
life for themselves, and according to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 20 percent of
all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some
point over the past year. We have 47 million people on food stamps and we have more than 100
million Americans enrolled in at least one welfare program, and that does not even count Social
Security or Medicare. We have gone from a “land of opportunity” to a land where tens of
millions of people are being crushed by the system.
When I mentioned above that “less people then ever believe that they have the opportunity to make a
better life for themselves”, perhaps you doubted that statement.
And I wish that it was not true.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, that is exactly what one new survey shows…
Last year, less than 55% of Americans agreed that “people like me and my family have a
good chance of improving our standard of living,” the lowest level since the General Social
Survey first asked the question in 1987.
And even those that are “educated” are becoming more pessimistic…
From 2002 to 2012, the “lower class” among Americans with one to four years of college
more than doubled — from 2.6% to 5.8%.
So what about you?
Would you describe yourself as “lower class”?
Not that there is anything wrong with that. It can be very hard to be optimistic about your economic
situation when you are trapped in poverty and everyone around you is trapped in poverty.
Even as Barack Obama boldly proclaims that we are in the midst of an “economic recovery”, poverty
continues to grow. In New Jersey, poverty hit a 52-year high in 2011, and when the final numbers for
2012 come out it is anticipated that they will be even worse…
Poverty in New Jersey continued to grow even as the national recession lifted, reaching a
52-year high in 2011, according to a report released today. The annual survey by Legal
Services of New Jersey found 24.7 percent of the state’s population — 2.1 million residents
— was considered poor in 2011. That’s a jump of more than 80,000 people — nearly 1
percent higher than the previous year and 3.8 percent more than pre-recession levels. ”This
is not just a one-year or five-year or 10-year variation,” said Melville D. Miller Jr., the
president of LSNJ, which gives free legal help to low-income residents in civil cases. “This
is the worst that it’s been since the 1960 Census.” And it may get worse: The report warned
Census figures for 2012 to be released this month may be higher.
There are two Americas today. In the “good America”, stock values are soaring and almost everyone
has a job. People from that America openly wonder why everyone is so concerned about the economy.
In the “bad America”, unemployment is rampant and poverty is everywhere. At this point, low income
households have an unemployment rate that is over 21 percent, and there is not much help on the
In the old days, if the wealthy wanted to get wealthier, they needed the rest of us to run their businesses
and work in their factories.
But today, they have figured out that they can make much larger profits by replacing us with
computers, robots and machines. They have also figured out that they can ship millions of our jobs to
the other side of the planet where it is legal to pay slave labor wages with no benefits.
This is putting a huge squeeze on average American workers. For most Americans, the only thing that
they have to offer in the marketplace is their labor. Unfortunately, that labor is not valued as much as it
used to be.
Yes, the elite still need us to do service jobs for them. Those are not easily replaced by technology or
shipped overseas. So they still need us to cut their hair and flip their burgers.
But without a doubt we have a structural problem with unemployment. As the Brookings Institution
recently discovered, it would take 8 million more jobs before we could say that we have “recovered”
from the last recession…
Last month, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3% from 8.1% a year ago. That might signal
progress, but the share of workers with jobs was 58.6%; it has remained close to that for
several years. The unemployment rate is inherently flawed and isn’t the best measure of
economic progress; it counts only those with jobs or actively looking for work.
And in a frustratingly slow economic recovery that has discouraged countless workers, it
risks ignoring these missing workers — an estimated 6 million, according to the Brookings
Institution’s Hamilton Project.
The Washington-based think tank has come up with what it calls the “jobs gap,” or the
number of jobs it would take to offset the effects of the Great Recession. Factoring in the
millions of jobs lost during the Great Recession and the number of jobs needed to absorb
new workers, the nation needs 8.3 million jobs to fully recover from the recession.
And of course the quality of our jobs continues to decline as well. In America today, only 47 percent of
adults have a full-time job, and one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.
Unfortunately, thanks to Obamacare this trend is going to get a lot worse. Millions more Americans are
going to be forced into part-time employment. For example, just check out what Trader Joe’s is
Trader Joe’s, the grocer once lauded for providing health care coverage to its part-time
workers, is about to push those employees off its plan.
According to a memo obtained by the Huffington Post, the company will stop
covering employees who work less than 30 hours per week.
The change is set for the start of 2014. Instead of insurance, workers instead will get a
check for $500 in January.
“Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe’s, we believe that with the $500
from Trader Joe’s and the tax credits available under the [Affordable Care Act (ACA)],
many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to
you,” said Trader Joe CEO Dan Bane in the memo.
I wish that there was better news to report, but we have to be very honest about where we are at as a
In order for there to be a thriving “middle class”, there needs to be lots of middle class jobs.
Sadly, the number of breadwinner jobs that the middle class depends upon is shrinking.
Unless a miracle happens, the percentage of Americans that consider themselves to be “lower class” is
probably going to continue to grow.
So how would you solve this problem?
BECAUSE THERE'S A WAR ON FOR YOUR MIND