How would you describe the shape the country’s in?

President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation tonight. Today’s Question: How would you describe the shape the country’s in?

  • Clark

    We are in big trouble. We have a clueless president who, in 4 years increased our national debt by 40%, yet with obamacare, added additional entitlement spending. He is the president of food stamps given over 50% of citizens are now on some form of government handouts. Thanks to obama, we have become a nation of moochers and this includes banks, GM and those with under water mortages. Obama believes regulation should replace individual responsibility and accountability.

    Go ahead looney left, take all our income, it still won’t cover the spending of our current clueless community activist president.

  • Alison

    Limping along.

    We have a substantial portion of the electorate who has been brainwashed into thinking that if only the super-rich and big businesses had a little more money due to paying less in tax they would create millions of new jobs. They ignore the fact the rich have already gotten richer and the biggest businesses are already sitting on record piles of cash. But if only they could keep a little more, then they would create more jobs.

    This same misguided portion of the electorate somehow seems to think that health care isn’t a human right. Only some people are deserving of it. If we provided health care to all we’d be socialists – gasp! Of course many of those opposed to universal health care are Christians. I don’t understand how denying adequate health care to anyone is a Christian value, but I suppose they can interpret their holy book however they like. From a business standpoint, I’m not sure how we expect our businesses to compete internationally when they provide health insurance to American workers and companies in other countries don’t provide health insurance to their workers. But at least we’re not socialists!

  • Hiram

    I think the country is failing. This might be the last presidential election we have.

  • Duane

    The US has a great capacity to correct the direction of its economy, however, I see the same “malaise” exist that occurred during the Carter administration. During the Carter administration, we had high interest rates and high inflation that contributed to the malaise. That does not exist yet!! This country can be turned around, but we will need someone positive and capable to lead this country. We have a Senate that fails to pass some 30 jobs bills or a budget bill, both passed by the House this last year. The House has acted, now it takes the Senate and the President to act.

  • Tim

    Spoiled. If people think their lives are rough they need to do a reality check of what its like for a majority of the worlds population. Does that mean we shouldn’t try to better our lives bhere in the U.S.? Of course not! But to think that you’re getting a raw deal because you can’t afford to go out to the bar every weekend AND have cable TV is a joke.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Hey, Ringham, why didn’t you just ask, “What is your favorite political rant?” This question opens the floodgates to mindless parroting of partisan talking points.

  • kim

    The country is divided. Worse, there’s a lot more talking (or shouting) going on than thinking or listening. It reminds me of something a wise, older friend told me years ago.”Sometimes you have to ask yourself which you want more, the sheer joy of a really good fight, or to actually accomplish something.” I don’t think we can afford the luxury of a really good fight. I hope we can find the maturity and wisdom to bypass that and try to actually accomplish something.

    There is actual evil in this world, I believe that. But, there are also a lot of good people, on all sides of the issues, who are sincere in their efforts, even when they disagree and even when they are wrong. I think, if we look deeper, we’ll generally find that we agree on more than we disagree on. We need to look to that and quite wasting our time on that fight.

  • Debby

    The economy is improving, despite the mostly successful efforts of Republicans to obstruct every initiative to take unified action to use the power of government to work on behalf of businesses and individuals, leaving the Congress weak and divided.

  • Tom

    Our country is divided, those who produce and pay are getting tired and those who receive are protesting (OWS). The original Pilgrims almost failed because of their ‘collective’ arrangements and I fear history is about to repeat itself.

  • david

    It’s great, just super duper, peachy keen, for 1% of the population. You wouldn’t know it for how much whining those selfish, evil, stupid folks do. Just look at clark’s post. My god, after inheriting their money, and paying lower taxes then anyone else, and never ever having to want for anything, it’s not enough. Mommy and Daddy paid for their college education, how dare folks who need loans wouldn’t want the game rigged against them. The 1% still NEEDS more, and then they call the rest freeloaders. If their taxes were just a little lower they might hire a new maid, or buy a third home. That would stimulate the economy. It’s been 10 years since their last tax cuts, and there’s still no jobs. I guess it wasn’t enough. And don’t get them started on that socialist scourge Obamacare, even though I have yet to hear any particulars on just exactly what makes it so bad. And none of them have offered a viable alternative. They just whine. They just want to maintain the status quo, the 1% has got the best healthcare their money can buy. F the rest.

    Almost makes one proud to be an american. I myself have a plan. Invest in pitchforks and torches, cause the 99% is beginning to see just how short their end of the stick they got is, and are rising up against their oppressors. Hope folks like clark have got a good home security system, they are going to need it.

  • Patrick Stevens

    the country is doing a whole lot better than it was when the President took office. If the Republicans and Tea Partiers in the House would just get over their dismay at having a progressive President, we could be doing a whole lot better.

    His leadership has, so far, extricated us from Iraq, and is slowly getting our foreign policy straightened out after eight years of saber rattling and senseless invasion.

    He helped ot save General Motors, Chrysler, and most of our banking industry. He has tried to compormise and “work” with the right wingers too much, but I think he has learned his lesson and will be taking the fight to them now.

    The Union is stronger because of the President’s leadership.

  • Jim G

    We’re stuck in the 1970’s. The median working stiffs’ wage hasn’t kept pace with inflation since the mid 1970’s. The top 1% have seen their wealth grow to the highest percentage ever, including even the “gilded age” of the late 19th century. The top one-tenth percent ( 0.1%) are now wealthier than the lowest 150 million Americans. Does anyone else smell French fries cooking in our future?

  • Mark G

    Things are pretty tough for most people, but the current partisan bickering and refusal to compromise on anything is just making things worse. People that complain about Obama need to consider the state we’d be in had the McCain/Palin ticket won in 2008. I consider President Obama the only hope we really have at this moment and I fear what will be in store if one of the Republicans should win this fall. Consider the alternatives: a President Romney who represents the worst of the top 1%, as well as alien to the concepts of working with a divided Congress; a President Gingrich who was run out of Congress due to his illegal dealings, his general ineptitude, and his inability to compromise; a President Santorum who envisions himself the ultimate arbiter of social morality…..or worse; or a President Paul who cannot even ensure the backing of his own political party, much less unite the country to move it forward. Makes me even afraid to vote this fall!

  • Diana

    Businesses are successful because of good workers, transportation, energy, education, hospitals, fire departments, clean water, etc. It’s time they wake up and realize how important these things are for their own survival and start paying equally for these services.

  • GregX

    We are under the impression that the “ship is fine” we just need to change the crew and captain. Wrong – we need to change. Our leaders have given up on leading – they “poll” us to find out what to do.

    Tme to leave them behind. If you’re thinking the solution is to change political leaders… you are NOT paying attention. If you think tweaking TAX rates will have any affect in the next 20 years – get real. If you think that business leaders sitting on 2 trillion in cash are going to lead us to prosperity – put the booze down.

    Corporations run the national government (executive, judicial, legislative) and most states too- for the benefit of the executives and the shareholders.

    so what to do …

    Buy stocks – and start whip-sawwing the corporations. Once we break them … the rest of the problems get pretty managable.

  • P. Nielsen

    Well on its way to becoming a full-blown third world country and rushing at breakneck speed to get there. The ignorance of the population is staggering….those listen to right-wing talk radio and television networks is appaling, since many of them who are swayed by the misinformation and lies then go and vote for candidates and political agendas that never will help or benefit either them or their families. Rather than citizens and their elected officials being concerned for the common good, they have become interested in “what’s good for me”, a very selfish and destructive viewpoint. Neither of our political parties represent the will of those who elected them, rather they are in the clutches of corporations and wealthy individuals of those corporations. Let us rue the day the Court affirmed corporations as people. The country is on a downward slide with little hope of regaining ground while we continue to allow this kind of behavior to go on.

  • Craig

    Many have commented on the venality of government, and I agree with that. But the US is also working through a difficult transition into the world labor market. The standard of living for similarly skilled workers will eventually equalize across the globe.

  • Kerri

    It will only get in better shape by going to pot. Only legalizing/decriminalizing the world’s most useful plant, Cannabis/hemp, for the benefit of the people and the planet will redeem the country.

  • This is NOT lucy

    I agree with many, especially Hiram, gregX and P. Nielsen.

    What does the shape of our country look like? It looks like we are going over the Niagra in a GLass barrel.

  • Sharon in St. Paul

    It’s in pretty bad shape when MPR has guests like Mary Kiffmeyer, the author of voter purging of African Americans in MN, as an expert as you did today. News sources such as yourself need to be less concerned about “fairness” and more concerned about truth. I’m very disappointed.

  • Shane

    Bad, but not as bad as the E.U.

  • Bear

    At 6:47 Steve the Cynic predicted his question would spiral down the black hole of favorite political rants. Checking beck several hours later; he was right. We have all the usual players wagging their fingers at the poorly informed wrong “other” side, spouting fulsome opinions heaped with hyperbole: a microcosm of our political delema.

  • James

    People are confusing the the terms “state the country is in” and “trendline the country is on.”

    Compared to almost every country in the world, we are in really good shape. We have a functioning government, a functioning economy, a good constitution, etc., etc.. We are by far the wealthiest country in the world. We are the country that almost everyone else in the world would love to move to. Talented or smart or lucky or hardworking people can still make it big. On the flipside, we clearly have a spending problem and an accumulated debt that is becoming problematic.

    The trendline is a little more anxiety provoking. As previously mentioned, the spending/debt problem is a tough one. America is losing its competitive advantage to countries like Brazil, China, India and lots of other countries, who are very keen to be the next US of A. There is no one to blame on this one. It’s a competive world. If we want to reverse the trend, each and every one of us needs to compete harder. And it would appear that as we face some real challenges, there is a lack on consensus on how to deal with the challenges, and a whole lot of bitching and moaning that “the other guys wrecked it or are wrecking it.”

    I believe that the post-WWII period of American success was the result of both good planning and good luck and wasn’t going to go on forever without hitting a few bumps in the road and making a few adjustments. We’re at one of those points of time.

  • Philip

    Overfed, materialistic, self-absorbed and entitled.

    We all need to look at ourselves in the mirror and change these things about ourselves. I don’t think it will work, though, because we’re also self-deluded.

  • wayne simoneau

    We need jobs, education, housing, medical care, transportation among the bacics— all take taxes and we all must pay them fairly. Wayne Simoneau

  • JasonB

    There are ominous signs, not just for the working poor, but for the wealthy.

    The privileged class owe more than their livelihood to the working middle class, they owe their lives. The creation of the middle class saved the wealthy from their demise by avoiding revolution. Every other ruling class in history that grabbed too much wealth and power at the expense of everyone else ended up at the wrong end of a firing squad or a guillotine. But apparently the latest generations of elite haven’t learned this, and are trying to gobble up as much as possible.

    However, with free trade and internationalized financing and banking there seems to be dwindling incentives to keep America strong and safe, at least if you’re rich. Even the worst case scenario of a total collapse means you can just skip out of the country knowing that your money is safe somewhere else.

  • Wally

    The country is in the crapper. Repubs blame Dems and Dems blame Repubs, but every president and congress from FDR on–Republicrats and Democans–have had their hands on the flush lever, and just keep pushing.

  • Iam james’ keeper

    “America is losing its competitive advantage to countries like Brazil, China, India and lots of other countries, who are very keen to be the next US of A. There is no one to blame on this one. It’s a competive world. If we want to reverse the trend, each and every one of us needs to compete harder”

    Yes that strategy has taken us to this great position where we are.. Personally, i am for finding ways -cooperative ways-globally where we can all live on the same planet without oppressing others in order to get our ‘thing’.

    Privatization is class suicide which wil only benefit the wealthy. It is not going to lessen the gap and create an equality but rather corral all low income together. The movie District 9 comes to mind.

    I smell a Revolution in the air.

  • Steve the Cynic

    This is completely unsurprising, but very revealing. The question, in reference to the State of the Union speech, was about “the shape the country is in.” Notice, please, how many of these comments construed the question as referring to the state of the economy. People seem to assume that the amount and distribution of material wealth are the most important indicators of our national well-being, even though wealth has only a very weak correlation with happiness. Study after study shows that once a person has enough, more wealth does not result in more happiness.

    We love to gripe about the economy, but let’s be honest. The economy today only seems bad by comparison with the unsustainable housing-bubble years leading up to the crash of 2008. In reality, the apparent prosperity we had in 2007 was illusory, being fueled by borrowing against inflated assets. We really have nothing to complain about. The poorest of the poor in America today are unimaginably wealthy compared to folks in many other parts of the world.

    Along with GDP, we should include in our assessment of national well-being factors such as infant mortality, hunger insecurity, life expectancy, crime rates, literacy, education levels, amount of leisure time, availability of recreation, amount of green space, polution levels, etc.

  • Wally

    Well said, Steve the C, in pointing out that most only think in economic terms. And in consideration of all those other criteria, I still say the country’s in the crapper, though we do have it so much better than so many others and ought be thankful for that. But many aren’t grateful. I live below the “official” poverty line, but in my humble opinion, live very well, with a roof over my head, plenty to eat, and a warm bed. I’m not complaining about my situation. But the fiscally profligate pigeons are coming home to roost. The whole mortgage debacle is only the beginning.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “In the crapper” is relative, Wally. By most measures that are actually relevant to well-being, we’re near the bottom relative to other developed nations, but we’ve got it pretty good compared to the vast majority of the population of the world. The sky is not falling, dire predictions by ideologues on both sides notwithstanding.

  • ann steinke

    The country is in poor shape. The underlying fabric that we have built it on is flawed.

    We will need to see big, fundamental changes in thinking and acting to improve it.

    I know of 3 people that lost their homes, and 5 that lost their jobs. I have never experienced that before. I bet everyone that reads this has had the similar experiences.

    That is a lot of people. You know, they say the unemployment has dropped to 6 %.

    What if that’s only because unemployment has run out for many people and so it LOOKS like unemployment is down. What if its really because those who are unemployed are beginning to drop from the countable records?

    Thank God at least the occupy america people have had enough courage to protest. It can not be easy when the media that presents the movement portrays it as inconsequential. They are condescending really,,,,but then look who owns the media.