American Morning

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February 22nd, 2010
04:00 PM ET

We Listen – Your comments 2/22/2010

Editor's Note: CNN’s "Broken Government" series spurred heated response from American Morning’s Monday audience. Some sarcastically remarked that the government was “not broken,” because the Republicans were getting exactly what they wanted: “low taxes on the rich, and no regulation of the big money players on Wall St.”

  • David: As far as Republicans are concerned, government isn't broken at all. They are getting exactly what they want from it; low taxes on the rich, and no regulation of the big money players on Wall St.

Others suggested greed was the culprit for the demise of the U.S. political system.

  • Jan: Big businesses focus on greed instead of fair profits and investing in a company and its employees is an enormous part of why the middle class is in the position we are in today. No one, and I mean no one, needs the amount of money being given to companies top tier executives instead of investing back into the company and its employees. Greed defined as “excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves avarice: reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth (personified as one of the deadly sins) has brought down civilizations in past history and unless we change this I fear for the future of America. What happened to being proud of your accomplishments instead of being greedy individuals who take the money at the cost of their employees? The people whose money they are running away with instead of help building Americas future and a stronger middle class. Companies need to invest in the employees who do the work.
  • Greg: Union corruption destroying America. More union Corruption in Flint, MI
  • Mark: The American Dream is alive and doing well–in India, and at a huge discount. Our, nay, The Government is not broken, they are right on schedule in selling out the middle class.
  • Dan: Fix middle class problems, fix broken government – GET RID OF LOBBIEST, SET TERMS LIMITS FOR POLITICANS, We now have a new class system and the middle class does not fit anymore.

A third group was not concerned “why” government was broken, and instead offered various solutions on how to “reset” the current system, perhaps by calling for a new “Continental Congress.”

  • Peter: Perhaps the only way to fix our broken government at this point to call a Continental Congress. How else to get big money out of lobbying, fixing the filibuster rule, ending the two party system, clarifying executive powers, and clarifying term limits for congress.
  • Dr. L: The Government Is Broken...But Not Beyond Repair. The Best possible fix for the US Government is SIMPLISTIC in all its glory. However, "The Fix" would create a true representation of the American people and it appears that the politicians (career or otherwise) are not ready/willing to give in. "The Fix" is this... ELIMINATE $$$ MONEY $$$ from the political system. It can be must be done. It would level the field and make the dream possible for any American Citizen willing to serve. I think this is what the founding fathers had in mind. This will also reawaken the American Voter... Let's Talk.
  • Linval: "Broken government"...that by far is an understatement! When has these politicians, democrats or republicans, independents or whatever they want to call themselves do anything for the people?? Anything that has to do with the general well being of the people is always the "unpopular thing"...why is That? They are all selfish people thinking about their bank books and political careers rather than worrying about doing what is RIGHT for the people ...NOT! for themselves! This will only stop when we the people finally realize that it is 'WE" that ultimately has the power! the power to vote them out and shut them down!
  • Marlin: You will have guest and pundits explaining the reason for broken govt. when the answer is very simple. We have a republican minority that is abusing the senate filibuster rule to such an extent as to stop the majority from getting legislation passed. In all my years I have never seen a time when a small number of the minority would go along with the majority. Not today. If you want the answer just publicize all week the number of times this minority has filibustered since they lost the majority in the house and senate. Amazingly the public blames both parties.
  • Joe: Both Congress- and the Media today need the same Fix! GROW UP!

What do you think? Continue the conversation below.

Filed under: We Listen
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. gerald


    February 25, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  2. thomas brittain

    Just came in heard fix not sure what but. 1. bar all lobbyist maybe this would give our goverment time to WORK FOR THE PEOPLE. 2. Cut the pay and benifits give them 5 weeks vacations. All other weeks would be at work. Maybe this would weed out some of the rich ones give a chance for someone else a chance to help our country. We know that some of them are in bed with lobbiest but nothing is done about it. And for all our goverments if they had not wasted our hard earned tax dollars maybe THEY WOULD HAVE SOME. Don't get me started. NO MORE EARMARKS UNTIL WE"RE FIXED.

    February 24, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  3. darininlouisiana

    how can americans be represented by their elected leaders in any way shape or form when they get everything free?.. take away their free healthcare and see how fast they get to work on a real debate about healthcare.. stop lobbyist at the front door to our elected officials.. make it a federal crime for politicians to take anytthing from them and put any lobbiest in prison for bribing our ELECTED OFFICIALS..bribe a cop and see what happens....politicians cannot do their jobs and see americans as equal peer's when they spend MILLIONS!!! to get a 100k job? is easy and you dont have to tax the WORKING CLASS..when america sell's arm's to the taliban,al-queda,sudan rebel's etc take 10% of that and fix healthcare.

    February 24, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  4. Steven Mirante

    Regarding the story about the 88 "teachers" who were fired at Central Falls HS in Rhode Island, yes it was right for the superintendent to fire all those overpaid, underworked crybabies. They are getting paid too much to do too little and have the nerve to complain when asked to stay a little later and do a few other things to help their underperforming students do better! I live in NY where school teachers work only 6 hours a day for less than half the year (180 days), get paid for all holidays, have numerous breaks, get 2 months paid vacation (called summer) while their students forget what they learned the past year.The students dress like thugs and strippers going to a fashion show for future gangsters and pimps and prostitutes instead of properly. They complain because the bankrupt MTA wants them to pay $4.50/day to get to school and back, where they get free breakfast and lunch and a free education.
    The teachers obviously aren't the only ones to blame, but they are the ones supposed to be teaching the kids and aren't doing what they are getting paid very well to do.
    All the teachers in all the underperforming schools in the entire United States SHOULD BE FIRED!
    For people who claim to be teachers, they have a lot to learn!

    February 24, 2010 at 7:36 am |
  5. Rudolph B. Phillips

    Let’s see if I understand this…

    I’m just getting on to an expressway when suddenly my car accelerates out of control. I put the car into all gears and nothing changes – I’m still accelerating out of control. I turn off the cruise control and nothing changes – I’m still accelerating out of control. I put both feet on the brakes and pull the hand brake and nothing changes – I’m still accelerating out of control.

    I’m now doing a top speed of 110 miles per hour (even though my Lexus can do 140), totally out of control, and, oh by the way I think I’ll make a phone call on my bluetooth to tell hubby I love him.

    And you guys and Congress believe this crap.

    February 24, 2010 at 6:47 am |
  6. Brian

    Broken government? It isn't broken. It is owned lock stock and barrel by big business. During the ensuing layoffs all last year did anyone ever look up the disparity between American citizens and foreign visa holders being laid off?? I know where I am all we saw going out the door were the American citizens and the resident aliens. All of the foreign workers here on H1B (and other) visas are still there. Years ago we were told by the government that they had to have these visas because they couldn't find the workers here. This may have held true during the late 90's when unemployment was at historic lows. Our government that is supposed to be watching out for us has allowed not only these people to stay, but they are still bringing them in. Before one American was laid off all of these people should have had to go home. Any new visas should be tied to the unemployment rate. Big business owns your government. It isn't broken. It is going just as planned. The WTO has the plan. It isn't to pull up the 3'rd world were all of the jobs are being outsourced to. It is about flooding the U.S job market with foreign workers, slowly sending every well paying job overseas, and destroying the middle class. All of this happens with the collusion of your owned government. They continue with unfair trade deals, escalating visas, and tax breaks to send work offshore. All the while the businesses keep their remaining workforce doing busy work while all of the real work is being done over there and by the visa workers. This is being done by both parties. It has been for years. Forget talking about term limits that they will never vote for and cut their own throats. The only way to do it is to vote out every incumbent and vote for the other guy, no matter who it is. Next election, do the same thing, no matter if you were happy with the new guy or not. This eliminates powerful senior congressmen. It reminds them on who they work for. All the big business money does you no good if you’re gone next time around. The dangerous side is they feel threatened and nullify the election, declare martial law and show their true colors. We have been told we live in a global economy and all of this is inevitable. The United States is the world economy. The proof is there. We just saw it. When we go down the rest of the world goes down with us. We are the largest consumer economy in the world; at least we spend the most. Nothing gets better until we do start spending. This is what the WTO would like to put an end to. It can only be accomplished by killing off the middle class. If we have a worldwide middle class when one country dives they all do. It is all there to see, just look. Most elections are decided by the great middle. The registered Republicans and Democrats don't. We saw this the last time around contrary to the media reports about how "the loser just didn't get out their base". Until the great middle takes this back from the Republican and Democrat corporate masters it will continue to slowly continue to go downhill. We need a government that will use the incredible power of our economy to dictate to the WTO instead of the other way around. It is time to quit being led around by the nose by these idiots and take back the country. I gave you one idea how. If you agree paste this into a letter and mail it to your congressman and president, and sign it. If you think I'm nuts do the same, say I'm nuts and sign and mail it. I don't care as long as we win this country back. Take it back!

    February 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  7. Jack

    (Thanks for CNN, Tony, Ali and others for "Broken Government". What I have difficulty with is that the Democratic Health Care Plan tremendously benefits the American People, & most people agree that we need health care reform. So why do some people object to it when it is needed by those who lose their jobs, that don't have health care, those that have gone bankrupt from health care costs, and among other reasons. the danger to our medicare system. Is it because of the rumors and fears circulated, or because they or selfish and greedy if they have coverage. Nothing is free, but I don't know where our country would be without Medicare and Social Security. We don't count our blessings!

    February 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Billy

    This Bloomberg article points at the smoking gun which will ultimately come to be known as the greatest crime ever committed against the American People:Secret AIG Document Shows Goldman Sachs Minted Most Toxic CDOs.

    It was a crime committed by the Federal Reserve; the Bush Administration; and the elite ruling class of Wall Street who are truly in charge of America.

    Term Limits for EVERY level of Government, and taking the money out of campaigns and Lobbyist activity are two EASY solutions.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  9. Rick

    The whole system is in dire need of repair. I have been in business for 17 years with sucess, and feel that if didn't need the money because I was wealthy I would qualify for a loan. With the values of colateral being down 30-40 % when based on a conservative a appraisal, and then a bank discounts that 20-25%, that basically means your borrowing power is .25 cents on the dollar. That does not make someone to interested in risking 17 years of hard work for pennies on the dollar. Until our government does something to literaly help small business, our economy and unemployment will remain in the tank.

    February 23, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  10. Carolyn

    Banks are a rip off they are too busy linning the upper managment pockets, I thought that they were a house of lending when in need.! what a joke that has become. For the people ya right. but that;s life in the fast lane.

    February 23, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  11. Larry Schmidt

    I believe that you all have missed a very simple point to this whole arguement.... we, the small businesses, don't need more debt to fix our companies problems.... we need more customers! I ans many others would be in perfect shape and be able to expand and hire if the general public would just start spending again! I understand the viciuos cicle that we are all in, but there are plenty of people out there that continur to have good jobs and are in no worse shape financialy than they were 3-5 years ago and they now have stopped spending! They hoard their money for the "just in case things change for me" theory, and it has devistated the small businesses inn their communities! Get the loans to them and get the money to the general public again by maybe paying some of our debt down by putting funds to credit card companies to pay off consumer debt??!! Stimulate from the bottom up instead of from the top down for a change!!

    February 23, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  12. Steve

    Can't see the details of the President's $30 billion plan, but your report indicates that the small community banks aren't interested. If the banks are only concerned about their liability, then solve the problem for them (the carrot) and make it expensive for them to turn down the opportunity to perform "no cost to the bank" community service (the stick).
    Suggest to the President that he propose a program where half of the money is made available to the ONLY the SMALLEST community banks, and the other half of the funding be held by his Administration as deposit insurance to relieve the small banks of liability. Then tell the banks they only get a small percentage of a minimal interest charge and the Administration gets the rest to restore the funding loaned.
    Basicly "draft" the small banks into performing "gov't loan service" to help their local economies, and not to make more profit for themselves.

    February 23, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  13. Kevin Findley, CPA

    It’s actually very simple to solve the lending problem. Banks like any business needs income to stay in business. Take away a few things and banks will actually have to go back to work and lend money to stay in business. 1. Take away their ability to charge service fees (of any kind) or limit (regulate) them severely. 2. Do not allow banks to invest in treasuries with depositor funds or funds borrowed from the federal reserve or the like – they can invest their own capital in anything they want. 3. Take away government guarantees such as SBA Loan Guarantees.

    What you will find is banks will actually start looking and competing for loans. They will not be able to sit back passively and wait for the loan applications to come across their desk. They will actually have to work…

    Shut down the free money!

    February 23, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  14. jd

    Yes, Government is broken, and until we force each elected official to walk in our shoes they will never know. I say, take each elected official and put them in an apartment, pay their first months rent and utilities and then give them minimum wages and have them pay the bills and survive on it. If they don't have to see what we go through, how will they ever get it right. The Dems and Repubs can keep fighting all they want, it does NOTHING to help the common person. Show them what it is like and you will find they will start acting accordingly.
    The press drives the government more than we do, I stll have yet to find people who agreee with the "polls" that come about. I found about 12% liked Oblamus when the elections were going, and the press had him so far up! Where do you get these polls from? Obviously you got the man you wanted and now the press looks foolish for all their touting of this man. He is spending more than Bush and getting us in deeper. And where are all our soldiers? NOT HOME! Oblamus is a fool

    February 23, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  15. ginny

    We are a political system of two parties. When there is an open primary, a well organized effort by the opposing party can sway the outcome of the primary and thus the election, by voting for the weaker primary candidate of the opposition, who will then go on to face their stronger candidate,

    If independents want to have a primary, find qualified candidates, and have one.

    February 23, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  16. Ange Tekam

    I want a single payer health care reform, and by charity to insurance companies, I want them to remain in business, but they would have to compete with the government options so they would either take a smaller profit, or provide a better service. That is true competition. Collusion to extort healthcare consumers out of money they don't even have is not competition. It is extorsion.

    February 23, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  17. Ange Tekam

    It is not the government that is broken, even though I would say our political system is broken (this is another debate).
    It is the demand and consumption that is broke. Unless we fix it, it's not going to go away. Let's face it. Let's put more money into the pocket othe higher consumer categories: The poor.

    February 23, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  18. Ange Tekam

    Why would American businesses large or small, hire American at a higher wage rate, unless the the tax incentive offsets the difference in production and transportation cost to make cheap goods available in America?
    We all know there is no money for such a large tax break, just to add to stock.

    So unless we want to continue in the failed exercice in futility by giving more money to the rich and corporations to add to stock, and face the needed support of internal consumption, then we are still in for continued depression. Support of Internal Consumption is the support to the poorest of our society, the ones who have an incentive to consume rather than to save.

    Any addition to rich people's household income triggers more savings rather than consumption.

    February 23, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  19. Ange Tekam

    The crisis we face today is a Demand side crisis. I must admit, this is complicated by globalization.

    There is a lack of Demand for all goods to justify production. By demand, I mean resources available to buy goods produced or to pay for goods. (ability to pay for goods)

    The lack of demand is fueled by unemployment and competing cheap goods. So the American small business faces a confluence of two deadly situations:
    – The consumer want the goods they produced only if it is as cheap as the competition.
    -When their income falls, they want to buy even less of all goods, and definately less of the expensive American goods.

    For many Americans today, the choice is clear: There is no money to buy American.

    February 23, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  20. Ange Tekam

    Well, we can continue to lie to ourselves. Like they say in muslem circles, in difficult birth, "if the only doctor is a man, what can you do?"
    We would have to face "socialism" if we have to solve this crisis. No amount of money to corporations and small businesses would create consumption given the state of Demand and consumption in our country.

    February 23, 2010 at 8:15 am |
  21. Ange Tekam

    The government is trying to make more money available for production . An increase production would only add to stock if consumption doesn't follow.

    We all know the consumer is unemployed and broke or careful. So the only way out of this crisis is to support consumption by putting more money into the pockets of the consumers. That is not going to happen, because of our fear of "socialism".

    February 23, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  22. Ange Tekam

    We all know it's not going to happen because America hates giving money to the poor. "fear of Socialism".!!!? but not fear of socialism if we doll out billions to private companies!!??
    It is OK to give money to the rich, in all its forms (tax breaks, bail out, and outright extorsion for exhorbitant profits from essential services such as healthcare, CEO salaries, Bonuses, ...).

    February 23, 2010 at 8:11 am |
  23. Ange Tekam

    The solution is to give the money to poorer consumer. and here is why:

    February 23, 2010 at 8:08 am |
  24. John Ruppel

    Having lost my business during the depression in the late 70's/ early 80's, I know exactly what the gentleman that was looking for a n operating capital loan is going through. What we need is a program that the government guarantees these loans. Good credit is no good without collateral to back it up. If the government would set up a small business loan program similar to the FHA, where the US Treasury guarantees the principle. The Small Business Administration was not adequate to handle this in the last collapse, so a more robust, small-business oriented program is necessary. Use the funds that were mandated as a guarantee, not a direct surce of funding. The way I hear it, the banks have money to lend, they just don't want to take the risk. Until we get accross this threshold, we will continue to sputer and stall.

    February 23, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  25. Helen Kusio

    Congress needs to eliminate any exemptions for themselves in any laws, and benefit packages.

    They are not better than the rest of us. Laws that apply to us (sexual harassment, for example) should also apply to them.

    Retirement benefits should resemble those that the rest of us get. One term of service should not entitle congress members to get retirement benefits for life.

    Likewise, health care benefits for Congress should again resemble what the rest of us get. 100% coverage of whatever they want? I don't think that's right.

    February 23, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  26. joel Smeyne

    Gov't is broken – we elect people to represent us, and they have failed miserably in this responsibility. If their constituents favor or oppose an issue, this is of no consequence. They vote however their party instructs them to vote with no concern whatever as to what the people they represent want.

    A prime example is health care reform. The people almost unanimously want the system improved. Two-thirds of the population do not favor the monstrosities in the House and Senate. They do not want gov't control of this issue. Who cares what the people want? Are they too stupid to know what they want o what is best for them?

    I care and I know what I want – no pre-existing conditions, tort reform, portability, help those who cannot afford health care and cannot get Medicaid, reasonable limits on premium increases to name a few.

    Hello Representatives and Senators, this is what the people want. Are you too interested in partisan politics to care about the people who elected you? By the way, if your Health Care proposals are so wonderful, how come members of Congress have exempted themselves from this "fabulous" program. We the people elected you. It would be nice if you represented them and not your party leaders.

    February 23, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  27. Christopher

    The map by Latoya, showing the growing ranks of the unemployed since 2007 was most telling, if there was ever a time for our politicians to earn their keep, it's right now; create tangible jobs. a "Work America" program in 50 states. Don't listen and you'll have civil unrest, never mind arguing politics, as Dana says, "actions speak louder than words". We all must make do with less, our standard of living is going down... that trend is inevitable, but the goal of Washington is to make it the least painful. Yes, taxes will rise and it is up to us (our elected representatives) to share these proceeds most equitably....... don't do it (and sell the message) and every "gated community" in the nation including Park Ave.
    will hear/see the consequences... it won't be pretty... and we'll live in fear, from our backyard.

    February 23, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  28. Jeff Valasek

    "Somehow we are allowing the extremes to run our country. We NEED moderates on both sides and they are, unfortunately treated as the bastard child because they didn't vote with "their party". HUH?? How's about voting for the people that elected them into Congress?"

    Yep. It's simple. Vote for the PEOPLE who you (?no longer?) represent.

    Just do the job. If you do it well, you'll be re-elected. If not, you're gone, and deservedly so.

    And, please, not on 'polls', but on what you know to be true and right.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:42 am |
  29. Dana

    As a young girl growing up during the 60's I developed into a wide-eyed optomist with realistic dreams about my future and a high opinion of this country. Over the last 50 years my dreams have turned into nightmares and my opinion of this country and our goverment leaves nothing less than a bitter taste in my mouth, but I don't blame our elected officials. I blame myself and all the others who put them there. I find it ironic that every year we complain about our current crop of elected officials but every election it seems that the same old curmudgeons are re-elected to claim their seat. This country used to be a powerhouse. Today we are nothing more than a joke and an embarrassment and most of this has occurred within the last 30 years. I bet if you looked you would find that many of the same politicians in office today were there 30 years ago. There is a lot that must be done to "fix" this country and restore its prominence and it will only get its start from us. We can stomp our feet and point our finger at the other guy all we want but the truth is that nothing will get done until we all take responsibility for our vote (or decision to not vote) and teach our children how to research the impact of their intended vote. We have to stop being lulled by political stump speeches and begin researching political records. As the saying goes....action speaks louder than words.

    February 22, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  30. Stephanie

    The government is definitely broken. The two party system should be a thing of the past. America isn't made up of Democrats and Republicans but Americans. There's a lot of gray between those two extremes and each of those extremes hold a minority of people. Somehow we are allowing the extremes to run our country. We NEED moderates on both sides and they are, unfortunately treated as the bastard child because they didn't vote with "their party". HUH?? How's about voting for the people that elected them into Congress?

    Eliminate lobby groups, don't allow Corporations to be treated as a person, establish maximum terms for the Senate and House of Representatives, require that they only use their last year in office as their campaign year and officially recognize an Independent party.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  31. Luis R Hernandez

    I am a husband and father of 4 children and unemployed along with my wife not working at all. We have $0 income (honestly) yet we have plenty of food, a home and the love of Christ in our lives. How do we make it? Easy! We completely depend of Jesus for EVERYTHING in our lives. He provides us with abundant resources in such beautiful ways and all he asks from us is to serve him and to obey his word.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:43 pm |