In case you haven't seen it, I post this chart from Gallup. The country as a whole has never been so dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed. This chart gets my vote for the most important of the year.
• 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
• 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
• 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
• 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
• Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
• 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.
All of this has major implications for next year's elections, since the election will essentially be a referendum on fiscal policy. Do you believe taxes should rise to pay for current and projected levels of spending, or do you believe that spending should be brought into line with the existing tax rate structure? Do you believe that more government spending and regulation of the economy will improve the outlook, or do you believe that less spending and regulation will?
Judging by the findings above, I have to believe that the elections will be the catalyst for a significant change in fiscal policy, in the direction of spending restraint and at the very least an avoidance of higher tax rates. This shift in the mood of the electorate has been underway for some time now, beginning with the emergence of the Tea Party, and it found its greatest expression in last November's elections. As a supply-sider, I have welcomed this shift from the very beginning, since I strongly believe it will prove to be very positive for the long-term financial and economic outlook.
In short, things are so bad right now that they are almost surely going to get better.