US Debt: A Bigger Threat than Terrorism?

Public opinion polls are a dime a dozen. But put a few of them together, and an interesting picture starts to emerge…

Let’s start with the one that hits like a two-by-four: 79% of Americans polled by Fox News and Opinion Dynamics believe it’s possible the US economy could “collapse.” Republican, Democrat, independent – doesn’t matter, the majorities are overwhelming.

The same poll reveals 65% of Americans believe the national debt poses a bigger threat to the nation’s future than terrorism. Again, supermajorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents are in agreement. (But interestingly, the numbers are lowest among Republicans – 61%. That compares with 66% of Democrats and 69% of independents. Dick Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter” mantra dies hard, it would seem.)

Buttressing those numbers is a poll by Bloomberg asking Americans for their assessment of President Obama’s performance on a host of issues. The category where he measures the worst: the deficit. Only one-third of those polled approve of how he’s dealing with that. And 80% agree with the statement “government spending is out of control.”

Those numbers wouldn’t surprise David Walker, the former US comptroller general now with the Peterson Foundation. Peterson commissioned its own poll a year ago at this time. As Walker writes in his book Comeback America, “Above all, Americans told us that they want to get the economy back on track. But their second priority for the Obama administration was somewhat surprising. They wanted the president and the Congress to address our escalating deficits and debt levels.”

How confident is Walker that these voices will be heard in Washington? He’ll share his candid perspective this July at the Agora Financial Investment Symposium in Vancouver. Along with a return visit by Marc Faber and perennial favorites like Bill Bonner and Doug Casey, it promises to be one of the best ever. Discounted early-bird registration is still available, but not for long.

Dave Gonigam
for The Daily Reckoning