my personal blog

April 15, 2008

U.S. Satisfaction, 1980 through 2008

Filed under: politics,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:58 am

Gallup posted their latest polling results on overall U.S. satisfaction yesterday. Here is full story, and here is their chart:

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008

The first thing I noticed looking at this chart was that, lo and behold, satisfaction increased during Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s terms, and decreased during both George H.W. Bush’s and George W. Bush’s terms. An unscientific estimate—I squinted my eyes and looked at the chart really closely—shows that Reagan inherited an abysmal 17% satisfaction level and left with a 50% satisfaction level. Bush inherited that high satisfaction level and left with it at 29%. Clinton inherited that level and left with it at 53%. And under the younger Bush, it’s gone to a pre-Reagan era low of 15%.

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008 with arrows depicting trend during various presidential terms

A terse translation: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton inherited shit and turned it to gold, and both Bushes took that gold and turned it back to shit.

April 5, 2008

A Long View on the 2nd Bush Administration

Filed under: politics,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:12 am

When George W. Bush’s presidency began, I was young enough for my complaints to be dismissed as stemming from my being young and inexperienced in life. Back then, I worried that the United States was approaching decline; that she could no longer support her people with the jobs needed to keep growing; that without immediately changing her course, we would be lost.

Some eight years ago, we were on a precipice. We chose, by a very slim margin, to back down; and then, we were pushed off. Over the years that followed, we have fallen. We have lost our security, our rights, our jobs, our financial stability, our global standing, and only God knows how much else. And I believe that we’re not going to understand the full extent of how far we’ve been pushed until years after the 2nd Bush administration has passed.

I was thinking of this as I read about a poll wherein 61% of historians polled viewed the 2nd Bush presidency as the worst in our nation’s history. Whether or not we elect the right man for the job this time around, we’re still in for an entire generation of problems. A generation of problems which we will have traced to one moment in the year 2000, when the ship of state was hijacked.

Perhaps a decade from now we will be able to take a long, sober look at this administration. Only then, when we have (hopefully) undone most of the damage it has caused, will we truly understand exactly how bad this administration has been.

July 29, 2005


Filed under: politics,rants — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:02 pm

The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. That’s right, the war on terror ain’t just for terrorists anymore! And it’s no longer a war either, it’s a struggle! Against violent extremists! So, when are we due to send troops to kill off every abortion clinic bomber in the United States? They’re violent extremists.

I guess the term “war on terror” sounded great after 9/11, when the time for being angry and sounding as tough as possible was right. But it appears the latest armed-cum-ideological war since the ill-fated “war on drugs” isn’t fairing much better these days, with more terrorists than before 9/11, an increasingly frustrated Iraqi people, and a U.S. military death toll that’s bound to exceed the death toll of the 9/11 terror attacks before we finally find our way out of there.

That’s okay, though. After all, it’s not a war, folks, it’s a struggle, like the new slogan says. Neverind the 1800 dead U.S. troops and tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, it’s a struggle! When you talk about an armed invasion as a “war”, you know, it just doesn’t workshop very well in public relations circles, especially after the public finds out the case for war was built on a farce!

The media’s alreay tried its best by neglecting to mention those little details the public doesn’t really want or need to hear, such as the largest U.S. military death toll since Vietnam and the fact that there are now more terrorists out there than there were before the whole thing started,and that they’ve set up shop in Iraq.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks about fascist and communist slogans? The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism? Proletarians of the World Unite!

May 31, 2005

Why Bush’s 2nd Term Is A Good Thing

Filed under: politics,thoughts — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:39 pm

Yes, I’m a staunch liberal, and I think the Bush administration’s second term could be the best thing that ever happened to us, and the worst thing that ever happened to the Bush administration. Wipe that shocked look off your face and read on to see why.

During the 2004 presidential elections, as Democrats were divided between the hopeful “lets get out the vote” and the hopeless “Bush is going to win” camps, I thought about what a second term for George W Bush would turn out, and thought what was at the time considered blasphemy amongst my fellow Democrats: “Perhaps it would be for the best in the long-run if Bush won a second term”

My reasoning was that it takes longer than one term for people to understand and feel the full effect of an administration’s decisions. With a single term, the Bush administration could escape accountability for its mistakes, but the four years of the second term would give ample time for the effects of these decisions to set in. While the first four years might zip by with momentum, the second term tends to be difficult, even for a popular administration. The administration comes under closer scrutiny.

Take Iraq, for example. magine if Kerry had one the election last November. We would still be embroiled in post-war Iraq, because after the Bush administration set the ball rolling, we can’t just pick it up and leave. The difference being, the public would see Kerry making war decisions, and as the years roll on, it would eventually “forget” that the previous administration started the war, and become frustrated over the new administration instead.

Now, Bush has four more years of the public’s increasingly negative view of his handing of Iraq. The Bush administration has four more years for the public to become increasingly frustrated with things like the economy, unemployment, gas prices, and so fort. And during this term, 9/11 will no longer cut it as an excuse.

I thought about this as I read an article from today’s Washington Post, Bush’s Political Capital Spent, Voices in Both Parties Suggest (By Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei, Washington Post Staff Writers). It’s not terribly long, and I suggest you read it. The article describes how it appears that just six months into his second term, Bush’s “mandate” has already disappeared. Apparently, its gotten to where even Republican politicians are growing frustrated with this administration. Its support is waning, and the poll numbers show this. A Gallup poll puts Bush’s approval rating at a rock-bottom 45% approval of his handling of Social Security is around 30%

The most interesting piece of information to slip out in the second term so far, however, has got to be the Downing Street Memo, which has gotten members of Congress asking the question, “Did the Bush administration deliberately mislead America into going to war with Iraq?” The administration has thus far skirted the topic entirely, and the most disturbing thing is, so has the mainstream media.

I mention this today as an article by Ralph Nader, The ‘I’ word is published in The Boston Globe, detailing exactly why, if the answer to the previous question is “yes”, then it is time to start impeachment proceedings.

To sum it up, I believe I was right last November, and I reaffirm that I am glad that Bush won a second term. With support dwindling, at best he’s likely to sit out the rest of the term as a “lame duck”, while more damning evidence continues to trickle out to the public. They asked for “four more years”, and now they’ve got it, but as the saying goes, “careful what you wish for… you just might get it”.

March 18, 2005

N. Gregory Mankiw

Filed under: business,politics,school — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:16 pm

Mr. Mankiw was until recently George W Bush’s chief economic advisor. He also wrote the texbook for my applied macroeconomics class, obviously titled Macroeconomics, 5th ed.

I’m reading through the textbook right now, and I cannot help but think about his position while reading it. The textbook is great, well-written for the most part, pretty concise, and easy to understand. But I can’t help but think that Mr. Mankiw is preaching “do as I say, not as I do” in this textbook. Either that, or he really needs to read his own book.

This is the same guy made famous for his report praising the trend of “outsourcing” of American jobs to foreign countries and partially responsible for the Bush administration’s perennially sunny economic forecasts.

In the few mentioned of George W Bush I found in the textbook, one implies his tax cut was sound Keynsian economic policy, and another blames the bleak economic picture on 9/11, but the book is pretty free of Fox-News-Syndrome (e.g. too much political commentary). I look forward to reading one of the textbook’s last chapters, which is exclusively about government debt.

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