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Yes, Mr. President, We DO Have a Spending Problem!

In early January, House Speaker John Boehner went to the White House for a one-on-one with President Obama about the federal budget and how to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” That discussion reportedly went nowhere. However, after the meeting Speaker Boehner noted that at one point, President Obama said to him: “We don’t have a spending problem.”

In a Wall Street Journal article on January 6, Speaker Boehner said that he was stunned when the president made that comment and responded as follows: “But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem.”

Boehner told the WSJ reporter that he repeated that same statement to Obama several more times during the meeting. Near the end of the negotiations, Boehner said that President Obama got irritated and said: “I’m getting tired of hearing you say that.” The meeting ended in failure, no surprise there.

I think everyone reading this knows we have a spending problem – no, a spending crisis! But what do the American people think? After all, Obama was re-elected by a comfortable margin in November. So, do a majority of Americans agree that we don’t have a spending problem?

A series of Fox News polls taken earlier this month were eye-opening. For starters, a whopping 83% of Americans polled said they believe America does have a spending problem. Of those polled, 97% of Republicans, 87% of Independents and even 69% of Democrats all agreed that we do have a spending problem.

In fact, out of 13 issues that Fox polled earlier this month, more voters are “extremely concerned” about government spending than on any other issue polled. I’ll bet that Obama wishes he had never made that statement to Boehner!

Here is the list of top concerns among voters, in order:

Government Spending 32%
Health Care 31%
Economy 30%
Education 29%
Federal Deficit 29%
Decline Of Moral Values 29%
Job Market 26%
Gun Laws 26%
Taxes 25%
Terrorist Attacks 22%
Illegal Immigration 16%
Climate Change 13%
Nation’s Infrastructure 13%

Take another look at the list above. Where are Obama’s priorities? Hint: look at the bottom of the list. Taxes, Illegal Immigration, Gun Laws and Climate Change are among the president’s top priorities. Government Spending, the #1 concern among voters, is not on Obama’s radar screen – remember, “We don’t have a spending problem.” You could virtually turn this list upside down for Obama!

There were several other notable pearls in the recent Fox News polls.

Twice as many voters polled believe the country is weaker, rather than stronger, since Obama took office. In addition, by a 52-40 percent margin, voters think the worst is yet to come on the economy. Those saying the country is weaker include 78% of Republicans, 49% of Independents and 21% of Democrats.

Pessimism is also seen in other areas of the Fox polls. For example, by a wide 60-34 percent margin, voters say that President Obama’s $800 billion dollar stimulus plan didn’t work. Over half of Democrats think the stimulus worked (55%), while most Republicans (87%) and Independents (58%) say it didn’t work.

Opposition to another round of stimulus runs two-to-one, perhaps because most voters think cutting government spending (73%) would be more likely to help strengthen the nation’s economy than increasing spending (15%).

In my February 5 E-Letter, I wrote about a new Pew Research Center poll which found – for the first time ever –that 53% of Americans believe that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms.

Well, in the latest Fox News poll, the numbers are even worse when voters were asked the same question: “[Do You] Feel Government Has Become Too Powerful And Is Restricting American Freedoms?” The answer: 58% believe the government is too powerful and is restricting their freedoms, versus only 38% who said they are comfortable with the government’s power.

I could go on with more poll stats from the Fox surveys earlier this month, but you get the picture. Most Americans are not happy with the role of government, and most believe that things are not likely to get better – or will get even worse – this year.

Question: How did big spending President Obama get re-elected?

Have a great weekend everyone!

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