You'll Never Guess What Americans Consider the Least Concerning U.S. Problem

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The average American has certainly had a full plate of concerns and problems to contend with over the past five years. The U.S. economy has thrown us the deepest recession in 70 years, complete with a housing bubble and credit crisis, all while the government lowered and then re-raised payroll taxes. In addition, if health-care coverage wasn't part of their everyday lives, then the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known better as Obamacare, which is set to go into full effect for individuals on Jan. 1, will ensure that one way or another people obtain health insurance or pay an end-of-the-year penalty.

In sum, the past five years have resoundingly transformed a somewhat predictable economy into a cauldron of uncertainty.

Keeping this in mind, I was very intrigued with a Gallup poll conducted last week that questioned some 2,000-plus respondents on what they considered the top problem in the U.S. to be. The choices the respondents were given to select from were as follows (in no particular order):

  • Government/Congress/Politicians
  • Federal deficit
  • Economy in general
  • Poor leadership/The president/Corruption/Abuse of power
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Unemployment/Jobs
  • Immigration
  • Ethics/Moral-religious-family decline/Dishonesty

Now just imagine you were given this question: "What is the most important problem in the U.S. right now?" What would your answer be?

Here's how America responded :

What's the Most Important Problem in the U.S.?

% Respondents

Economy in general




Health care




Federal deficit


Ethics/Moral-religious-family decline/Dishonesty


Poor leadership/The president/Corruption/Abuse of power






Source: Gallup. Figures do not add to 100% because of rounding.

This makes sense
Some factors here do make a lot of sense. Take, for instance, the "economy in general," which is still the biggest concern in the minds of Americans. Slow growth in consumer spending is still keeping many small businesses from ramping up expansion plans for fear of wasting their hard-earned money, and it's a primary factor that's keeping the economy from kicking into that next gear. Even with the Federal Reserve having targeted interest rates at historically low levels for years now, the American growth engine hasn't taken off.

Despite this big fear, worries about the economy have been abating on a steady basis since late 2008, when the same Gallup poll at the time noted 58% of respondents selecting the economy in general as America's top concern. One key component to that end has been the stabilizing power of the U.S. stock markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) , an iconic symbol of American multinational companies, and the broader-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) have both more than doubled from their lows set in March 2009. As a strong basis for investment in this country, these indexes have helped add credence in the psyches of investors to the belief the past can indeed stay in the past, and that investors should be focusing on the bright future.

It also hasn't hurt that the housing sector, which crippled so many family households, is finally on the mend, with home prices rising by 12% in the United States' 20 largest cities in June, according to the Case-Shiller Composite Index -- the fastest rate of growth since 2006.

But one particular answer among these respondents had me scratching my head, as it made little sense.

What's wrong with America?
Why, oh, why is education dead last among the problems that we need to address? I'm not in any way saying that Congress, immigration, health care, or any of the other issues listed above aren't important, so don't misconstrue my words; but the top two concerns smashed together -- the economy in general and unemployment/jobs -- can both be solved by improving education in this country.

In other words, you improve education and you essentially eradicate HALF of the problems in this country, according to the respondents of this survey (49%).

Just last week we examined the single biggest problem with America's labor force: underemployment. Based on U-6, a U.S. Department of Labor Statistics measurement that factors in the unemployment rate as well as workers who have accepted part-time employment but wish to work full-time, 14.3% of the American workforce, or one in seven, is currently underutilized!

The onus of wrongdoing as is related to underutilization isn't necessarily on the students here entirely, but on both employers and colleges as well for failing to prepare students for real-world challenges and guiding academia on what degrees they're currently looking for.

Before the recession, broad-based degrees helped establish versatility, which opened the door to multiple career paths for college grads. That isn't the case anymore, with enterprises looking for specialized skill sets in a very difficult full-time job environment. Your degree can mean the difference between finding a good-paying job quickly, or being forced to seek a paycheck in a situation where you'd be considered underemployed or overqualified.

Now for the good news
Whether you believe it or not, education -- be it a lack thereof or the wrong type of education -- is at the root of a majority of America's problems. But there's still hope.

A recent study conducted by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce highlighted some of the worst degrees in terms of unemployment but also pointed out in the process some of the most in-demand degrees. From an economic, investable, and personal perspective, boosting education and awareness in these degree areas would be beneficial for everyone involved.

Nursing: Nursing is a huge winner, with an unemployment rate of a mere 4.8% -- nearly 3% below the national average unemployment rate. Nursing demand is only expected to increase, with baby boomers beginning to hit retirement age and Obamacare set to shuffle millions of newly insured Americans into the health-care system. To put it another way, the medical system is going to have its hands full for decades to come, and it will need as many trained staff members as it can get.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) , the nation's largest health-care provider, for instance, has plans to hire close to 600 people in the Carolinas alone, with a good chunk of that hiring being nurses and nurse practitioners. These health-benefits organizations aren't hiding the fact that Obamacare will keep them busy, which should give colleges and the public a clue to start thinking in terms of nursing degrees. 

Marketing and market research: Just hearing about this degree makes me cringe, as it immediately brings up memories of telemarketers calling me at all hours of the night to sell me their wares. However, marketing has evolved far beyond just traditional cold-calling these days. With the world having gone global in scale over the past two decades thanks to the advent of the Internet and far better infrastructure in burgeoning emerging markets like China, Brazil, Russia and India, a degree in marketing can translate into something as simple as a strategic marketing or advertising job with a multinational corporation to something as complex as a financial market analyst with a Wall Street firm. Because of the diversity of the degree and the need for marketing even at the simplest of businesses, it's a degree with an unemployment rate of just 6.6%.

Last year, for examples, a Forbes report identified Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD  ) as one of the nation's largest companies seeking marketing help, with, at the time, 123 job openings in marketing -- far and away higher than any other major corporation. To me that isn't too surprising, as the struggling retailer needs fresh ideas and a new image to help transform it into a company that can once again attract younger consumers without having to get into pricing wars with its competition.

Veterinary medicine: For this last one I'm going rogue from Georgetown's list and introducing a third area of undermet educational needs with high growth potential -- veterinary medicine. I know this firsthand, since I was about halfway through a veterinary medicine degree in college 14 years ago before switching majors to economics. Between 2010 and 2020, veterinarian job growth is forecast to increase by 36% thanks to the growing acceptance of pets into the American household and as part of the family. To that end, veterinarians have an unemployment rate of just 0.6% (that's right ... zero point six percent!) according to U.S. News

We only need to look so far as PetSmart (UNKNOWN: PETM.DL  ) to see how transformative this change has been. PetSmart, which offers an array of retail pet products in its stores, as well as grooming and veterinary services, has delivered 126% revenue growth since 2003 -- consistently growing its top line every year, even when the economy hit a major roadblock in 2009. 

We've got college-educated people out there. Fix it!
Simply put, education should be a bigger emphasis in this country, but it's not. Within these studies we have the knowledge to exact change that will lower unemployment and underemployment and create a happier and more productive workforce. Ultimately, this should improve economic growth and boost the top-line results of big corporations that could lead to a sustainable long-term rally in the Dow Jones and S&P 500. Without a big shift toward correcting our underutilization and educational problems, I don't see this rally as sustainable for much longer.

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Read/Post Comments (122) | Recommend This Article (28)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:12 PM, fangzamillion wrote:

    Several items in the list seem to be the same thing, and others are very closely related. By separating them this way, some seem more trivial than they might actually be. Consider this:

    Poor leadership/The president/Corruption/Abuse of power 6%

    Government/Politics/Politicians 10%

    VERY closely related (if not same thing) for total of 16%.

    Ethics/Moral-religious-family decline/Dishonesty scored 7%, but how much of this is tied to "poor leadership/corruption/etc?

    Immigration garnered only 6%, but with 80% of the citizens opposing 'reform' and favoring enforcement of existing laws, could it be that this ties in with the unfavorable view of elected officials?

    Face it: The vast majority are fed up with ALL the politicians.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:19 PM, mindyme62 wrote:

    here, let me clean this up for you:

    In sum, the past five years have resoundingly transformed a somewhat unpredictable economy into a resounding comeback to a pre-Bush era

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:27 PM, kirmutchn wrote:

    Not surprising. I had expected the job market would get more attention and the President's proposal for addressing the Nation's infrastructure opportunities (roads, bridges, waterways, environment). All this could be addressed if our politicians would not be beholden to the Pentagon with its incessant fearmongering and defense industry self-serving support. Let the sequestration take its course and cut the $600 billion defense budget.....and let's not get involved in Syria.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:32 PM, jeffy57 wrote:

    WOW!!! I would have never guessed that the economy would be No. 1. I thought no.1 would be when are we going to land on Pluto?

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:34 PM, smorpo wrote:

    @mindyme. The only thing it's "resoundingly transformed" is turned us from a thriving capitalist / free market country to a struggling socialist - bent country. The only thing "predictable" now is more struggle for less pay. You have your head in the sand if you think America is somehow thriving. We are getting buy because people are working harder.

    Until we get the liberal millstone off our necks, this country is going to continue to struggle. Everyone is working harder to just stay afloat. No one is investing here and certainly not until the "details" about Obamacare are really known.

    Also, don't forget congress has been under democrat control until recent. All their giveaway spending programs have basically forced business into tough decisions. That has been a big contributor of the "unpredictable" economy you speak of, not Bush letting a free market operate on it's own. Business have less $$ for hiring and are forced overseas just to stay afloat.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:41 PM, hojoblomo wrote:

    Just what we need - more chuckleheads with college debt and degrees in ethnic studies, women's studies, French poetry, "criminal justice", poli sci, and art history! NOT!

    The problem is that we have TOO many college grads and not enough jobs that need what they studied. And many of these same liberal arts grads have zero work ethic and no willingness nor ability to become a productive employee to serve customers and the company.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:45 PM, BobinTexas wrote:

    The survey is interesting but I question some of the analysis. The issue of education as a solution to job availability is out of date. That used to be a reasonable solution. But now, if the corporations making the profits in this country are not investing in this country to create jobs, the amount or type of education one has is irrelevant. At this moment, the companies are proudly bringing manufacturing jobs back to this country and then quietly refusing to consider hiring the talent they laid off 10-15 years ago. Consumer confidence is low because there is no one- political, economic, social, media, or anyone else- standing up and leading people to believe in themselves. The game of power politics at all costs is getting very old. A few more years of do-nothing leadership and the dream of flushing them all out might just come true in 2016.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:53 PM, jrdawe wrote:

    Dear Sirs and Ladies,

    I concur that education is our largest problem. The answer does not lie solely in our university system, but rather in our overall education system. Not everybody wants a university degree nor do they need one. A perfect example of a good education system is Germany. Not only do they have a great university system, they have an excellent and far superior trade school system. While the U.S. has been giving up heavy industry jobs such as machinery manufacturing, the Germans were back then and even today the finest machinery manufacturers in the world. This is due to their excellent education system that educates those who do not want to work in an office with a trade that allows them access to the middle class. It is in this area of education that we find ourselves lacking and also seemingly ignoring. We ship good paying jobs overseas because we do not have the skill sets required to do the work ourselves. This I find to be extremely saddening.

    Best regards,

    John R. Dawe

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:56 PM, constructive wrote:

    I'm just glad that immigration is the second lowest issue. Maybe xenophobic and racist voices don't represent America after all.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:56 PM, knechitilo wrote:

    There is a glut of nurses looking for work. Where did you find the statistic that the unemployment rate is 4.8%?

    I graduated with honors from Case Western Reserve University and have more than a decade of experience as an oncology nurse. For the past three years I have been unable to find even a volunteer position as a nurse. Perhaps it is due to age discrimination, but it is the glut of job seekers that enables hospitals and other employers to be able to choose only younger applicants.

    Have you been paid to say that there are a lot of opportunities in nursing?

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 3:57 PM, echodan wrote:

    Well, here's the thing. You can't MAKE students learn. "Education" gets thrown around as a great buzzword, but the fact is, parental involvement AND the economy are the two major factors in predicting how well a child might learn. Kids need structure and discipline to focus on studies. But more importantly, stable economic status for the family unit is imperative for a successful learning environment. No matter what Obama says about education, without jobs, it's going to be a losing proposition.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:01 PM, dongr1949 wrote:

    Anyone who can't see what obama is up to is a blind fool.This will be a third world country by the time he is done with it and our congress both sides are helping him.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:02 PM, juliuscexar wrote:

    These "POLLS" are made by government people just trying to sway the public one way or the other.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:04 PM, juliuscexar wrote:

    and if you don't believe it then you can just go and do a doody!!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:05 PM, jekbrown wrote:

    Dude, the guy flipping burgers at mickey D's had a masters and 15 years of management experience before the economy went to crap and he lost his McMansion, and you're claiming that more education the cure to our economic ills? Give me a break. I work in an office with three people...none of our jobs requires more than a GED and yet we all have degrees. Within a year or so, we'll have a masters and 2 bachelors between us. A former guy who used to work in my office had a PhD for crying out loud. Americans uneducated? Not even close. Over indebted due to 'education' would be a more accurate description.

    The truth is, our real problem is a freedom/liberty problem. Even if every single American had Einstein-level intellect, it would be irrelevant so long as we have a centrally-planned economy. Mediocrity is the best you will EVER do under that system, regardless of education.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:07 PM, BilFoxsoapbox wrote:

    The Motley fools are like lots of unethical crony socialists - 2 cute by half...the issues for most Americans is was and always will be the economy and the socialist utopians and crony allies destroy opportunities and hence all of the rest of these things melt into irrelevancy when you can't find a job or have to work two crappy jobs to make ends meet...

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:07 PM, shineridge wrote:

    1st, OBIMBO Care is gonna be a DISASTER, and most Americans know this. That's why MOST OPPOSE it !!!! Next, the stock market (Fraud Street) is a MANIPULATED joke. The market has been up, but that has NOTHING to do with the ACTUAL economy. ALL 9 problems the opinion poll mentions, ALL NINE should be a MAJOR concern for all Americans,

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:08 PM, ScamuelJones wrote:

    The #1 BIGGEST problem we have in this country is the dummjy moron we have living in the White House and his economic policies as well as his Muslim and communist agenda!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:10 PM, oldrepo wrote:

    Education will always be a problem in this country. Too many people believe in entitlement. Why work if the government will provide for you as long as you squirt kids out? My son was trying to teach 5th grade in a low income area. The girls were telling him how to get food stamps, WIC and all the other "give ME's" They didn't want to try to learn. Our system should not consist of handouts, but rather hand ups. We should have incentives to learn and to get off the system. If you are a 3rd generation welfare recipient, then the system has failed.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:12 PM, juliuscexar wrote:

    I've traveled to many west European countries especially north west Europe and it's much better over there. Tina Turner lives permanently in Switzerland and she said she LOVES it. Jerry Lewis lives in France. Brando lived in a French Republic territory for many years. It seems rich American's move to west Europe as soon as they can.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:21 PM, joeddins wrote:

    Education is limited,not by what students learn, but by how long they remember. Until we find a way to improve remembering, we have to keep working to maintain the present level.

    Interesting that corporate leadership (ethics) was not a choice.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:29 PM, mrzonacat wrote:

    By far, the single, biggest problem facing our country is GMOs in our food supply. Our government, by allowing Monsanto to run roughshod in our food supply, putting unlabeled, carcinogenic GMO toxins in the majority of consumer food is, by far, the most evil political travesty in my 54 year old lifetime. There really isn't a close second. If people had GMO-Free food, the need for healthcare would be greatly minimized. GMOs are responsible for a myriad of growing health concerns, incl., cancer, organ damage, autism, diabetes, sterility and more. BAN GMOs NOW!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:31 PM, christian1269 wrote:

    Obama likes funding for education, because it pays teachers to brainwash their students in political correctness. We don't teach math and science. We teach political sensitivity, cultural awareness, globalism, environmentalism. People with talent who work go into the private sector and get real jobs. People who are unproductive go into teaching. Why is our educational system so poor? The most unproductive people are in it, financed and encouraged by left wing fanatics. Them that can't do teach.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:31 PM, anders525 wrote:


    Please do your own research into current facts instead of just mindlessly spitting out old information.

    I am just going to address one area of this poorly written article that I deal with directly, veterinary medicine.

    Starting with your comment how you know veterinary medicine "firsthand".

    So you just quit veterinary medicine after a few years in the program? Are you sure it wasn't animal science or veterinary science? Because you are implying a Doctorate program and not an undergraduate program. Now I'll believe the best and think that maybe you were just in an undergrad program and you are trying to make it seem like you know more about it. 2 years in a pre-vet program 14 years ago gives you NO standing now. So stop trying to relate to something now that you did 14 years ago.

    Now, for your comments on growth.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read the NY Time article "High Debt and Falling Demand Trap New Veterinarians". In addition, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) 2013 Workforce Study states that growth from 2013-2025 will be 0.9% average annual growth.

    Let alone the multiple new Veterinary Medicine programs that are opening up or plan on opening (2 in Arizona, 1 Tenn, 1 UT, 1 Buffalo NY is on hold). There is a strong concern for new graduates and their long term financial stability among a large population of veterinarians.

    Ok, off my soapbox.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:37 PM, popeye1250 wrote:

    First, "immigration" isn't a "problem", Illegal Aliens are.

    As for education, many jobs don't require a "degree." Just look at all the people in govt. who have "degrees" doing jobs that were done by secretaries 20 years ago at *half the pay!*

    Whatever happened to the "OJT" on the job training we used to have in this country like Europe does?

    Anyone who thinks that you, "can't make it in business without a "degree" has never met "the boss's son or daughter."

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:37 PM, warriorgeorge wrote:

    The biggest problem in this country is congress, especially the right wing congress , the GOP tea party libertarians and the Christian right , they are destroying this country , and need to be removed as a party , Backed by people like the Koch Brothers , who for all intents and purposes are NAZI in their background, taught by parents and grand parents that highly believed in the ways of Hitler , they're whole family were and they are still backing those views, and they have Allies like Michael Bachman ,Sarah Palin , Joe Walsh and Allen west, and a host of tea party senators and congressman that are now calling for armed revolt against the Government , back this with the tea party and their ties with the KKK, they have become a totally Racist anti women anti minority and anti poor institution , they are destroying the very fabric of what was good in this country, some how they need to be stopped and stopped very soon , otherwise we shall become a slave race to those individuals that would corrupt our Government and destroy our rich way of life , if they take power our heritage and our art music and the helping of the poor shall go down the drain , this needs to stop and stop now , never vote another republican tea party libertarian or the like into office again , there are other party's out there vote for them

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:41 PM, nawdy1 wrote:

    use the skilled trades people to teach there trade to young people before they are to old to pass there trade on to the young. thats the education that has fallen far behind.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:42 PM, newmanratc wrote:

    @rightislight, you pretty much said not to be political but here's all the things that Democrats have done and none of the things Republicans have done. You said the Iraq war but you pretty much tried to blame everyone for that one.

    @Christian, you must be in that blame Obama for everything crowd because the US education system needed fixing long before we even knew who Obama was.

    @shineridge, when you call him things like Obimbo most people with a brain can get their point across without resorting to insults.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:44 PM, MarVistaLeslie wrote:

    Mr. Williams: review your fact-checking! As a bookkeeper I want to make a correction, which is: "the government lowered and then re-raised payroll taxes."

    The correct fact/language is that the government temporarily REDUCED the employee's FICA payroll withholding and at a later date then RE-INSTITUTED the previous tax rate. It was always intended to be re-instiuted again, the actual date was subject to future review. There was no raise in this transaction.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:44 PM, bgt1976 wrote:

    The biggest problem the USA is going to have very soon is when the global economy switches from the American dollar as the standard and goes to something else. That is when it is going to hit the fan and we are going to go into the worst depression we have ever seen. The Fed keeps printing more and more money, and soon it will devalue the dollar to nothing, the global currency will switch and we will all be screwed when a gallon of milk cost $30 dollars and gas is $20 a gallon.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:50 PM, clloyd53 wrote:

    There was once a time when houses were affordable and the American dream was alive and well. During that time economics said that saving money for homes, autos and goods was the right thing to do. And debt was frowned on. Then came supply side economics. That said debt was good. And money in the bank restricted economic growth. Today in order to have economic growth you have to have cheap credit. And debt is counted as the same as cash. When you have more debt than currency to cover that debt. The economy can do nothing but fail.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 4:58 PM, deletingthisnow wrote:


  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:01 PM, Centurion13 wrote:

    I don't suppose it would make sense that the reason education is so low is because everyone in the education system is telling us how wonderful things are? Are they telling us that? I honestly don't know. Throwing money at the problem results in wealthier unions and the corruption that goes with *that*. Demanding teachers do a day's work for a day's pay gets the unions screaming to high heaven. As well as create teachers who now teach to the standardized tests, rather than the way they once did.

    We still have instructors at my son's former high school who taught to their own political agenda rather than the AP requirements. He is now about to attend university, where the first thing he received was an assignment to review a book by Barbara Kingsolver. I warned him to decide how he felt about AGW before attempting to 'critique' the book, as the instructor was likely not going to teach textual criticism, but discuss the political agenda concealed in the book.

    And that's why politicians are so popular these days.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:13 PM, KristenSuzanne wrote:

    It would seem individual states are acting against ObamaCare...and their failure to implement it and establish exchanges is only the beginning...affordable care? What a total misnomer that is...and a lie just like Obama and everyone connected to him...good luck on that....

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:14 PM, stevecan2 wrote:

    Clinton did just fine with a Republican majority in Congress. Looks at the state of California. A liberal haven and see the mess that is going on. Detroit, another liberal safe haven, broke. Liberal ideology does not lead to prosperity over time. I am moving and taking a job in Santa Rosa, CA, with a much higher cost of living than Las Vegas, yet I am taking a pay cut to do it. Luckily I am a right wing Christian Evangelical that knows how to save money and plan ahead, if I had a liberal mindset, I would have no money saved and not be able to do it. I have to now forcibly start using my savings and will not be able to purchase goods. So now, no local businesses will get any purchases from me, just enough to feed myself and pay utilities. The only entity other than my personal reasons for making this move to make money from me being there is the state of California (Government) by becoming a tax payer. My situation proves why liberal ideology fails over the long term. Instead of being able to do business at a locally owned store, I will be forced to only do business at large corporate retailers like Walmart supporting the already rich and the government.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:17 PM, Medz92 wrote:

    I think the reason why Americans chose education as the least important problem is quite simple... lack of adequate education.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:21 PM, ambystoma13 wrote:

    The most important issues facing this nation were not included on the list. That in itself is a reason why I am pessimistic in our ability to solve water issues, energy issues, pollution issues, climate change, endangered species, unsustainable agriculture & natural resource use. In short we're concerned about an economy that is inherantly unsustainable and yet we give little or no concern about how to make it sustainable. No wonder education ranked so low.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:22 PM, lowellalan wrote:

    Education is the damnedest thing. Everyone gets an education either formal or informal and there is a cost associated with it. Right now there are many unemployed and underemployed people with college degrees. Many of these people are young and have considerable debt due to their college degree that is equal to paying off half a house. Maybe they would have been better off buying a house but no one would have loaned them that kind of money for a house without a job so why were they encouraged to borrow so much when there is no single physical asset to secure the loan?

    Now what should we teach the kids in school? When I graduated, back in the dark ages, my high school had only one computer and it was far ways from any students . Yet computers are a major part of most everyone's life in society today. I learned computers because my school had taught me how to learn and instilled a love of learning in me.

    I am a science teacher and I have taught high school math, yet I am not beating the drum for more math and science classes. We also need someone who can repair our car, solve our plumbing problems, weld our skyscrapers together. How about the guy who puts food on your table. Most of the most successful farmers I know, and yes I do operate the family farm, do not have a four year college degree.

    Maybe education is so low in the survey because people realize that the government's efforts to "fix" it would most likely be a train wreck. Certainly most teacher I have taught with found the "No Kid Left Behind" plan to be very flawed.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:32 PM, eholtz wrote:

    MegaShort says: “I'm just glad that immigration is the second lowest issue. Maybe xenophobic and racist voices don't represent America after all.”

    Keep those invectives off the board. The only racist post so far is yours.

    With about 25 million illegal aliens roaming this country (only a tiny fraction of which work in agriculture) any whining about racism comes from racists themselves (usually anti-white ones.) For them,nothing short of total abolition of borders will do. California has been bankrupted by them and a few other states are not far behind. Are you posting from your LaRaza offices?

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:33 PM, lb27608 wrote:

    @stevecan2: Do you honestly believe that the fact that you're a "right-wing Christian evangelical" bestows some sort of innate financial sense upon you?

    I am somewhere between liberal (on financial policy) to extremely liberal (on social policy), as is my wife. We are both atheists, too. Despite all that, we are both very successful in our work and have saved enough money over time that we will be able to retire quite comfortably.

    But hey, enjoy Santa Rosa. Sonoma County is a beautiful place. I might be moving there sooner rather than later now that the legislature here in North Carolina has fallen victim to the Tea Party and insane conservatism.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:35 PM, frank1199 wrote:

    How about "lack of parenting" as the number one problem? This country has children giving birth to children, usually out of wedlock, and it doesn't even make the list? Hummmm....

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:40 PM, BigBrother666 wrote:

    "Why, oh, why is education dead last among the problems that we need to address?"

    Actually, we don't know if it is dead last. All we know is that 95% of Americans don't consider it the TOP problem. For all we know, they could consider it the second to top problem.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:42 PM, lowellalan wrote:

    To all of you bashing each other and one political party or the other...first I believe the last two presidents have been the worst of my life time, one republican and the other demarcate. Both have eroded our freedoms and used fear to push their agenda and failed to lead and command respect around the globe. Second Pres Kennedy said it best when he said let's not seek the republican way nor the demacrate way but the right way. If you are name calling and pointing fingers you are still not seeking the right way

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:42 PM, Monsterstomper5 wrote:

    I disagree that Ethical, religious, family decline and dishonesty go along with poor leadership and government corruption. Ask how many school children have politicians living at home with them and you'll probably get a lot of strange stares. Poor leadership is causing family decline? Ethical and Moral decline? I won't argue, but I asked myself, Poor leadership from 'where'? The President of the United States is not tucking your child in bed at night. You are. The State Senator isn't watching football on Sunday Morning instead of going to church. You are. Who is supposed to make sure that your kid gets something to eat at lunch? You are. And 'who' is supposed to make your kid go to school, do his homework, and understand that hard work is the basis of any successful life? You are. A president is only president for 4-8 years. You are a parent for life.

    You want your children moral? Take them to church, synagogue, or temple. You want your kid to work hard? Show them what hard work means.

    Don't like someone's politics? Sit down with your child and tell them why, with as few cuss words as you can. Don't expect someone thousands of miles away to give your kid 'morality'. That's your job.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:46 PM, rnlightle wrote:

    The problem here is that Education is a long term concern that we wont be able to do anything about until we handle the short term issues of our failed/failing polictical leaders and polictical process. How are we supposed to address a concern as large as education while we are fighting illegal and unjust wars, having our economy destroyed and our wealth eradicated, and all the while we see that our politicians can't agree on the color and smell of crap?

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 5:48 PM, thistle809 wrote:

    Perhaps if many of the people who responded had a better education, they would have realized that a key factor to improving the economy is well-educated people for employers to hire. Better paying jobs usually require advanced education and people with good salaries can purchase things, thus infusing cash into the economy.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:08 PM, strifle wrote:

    Same concerns that we had with the previous administration. Only difference is our company experienced the best year in 5 in 2012 and 2013 so far better than 2012.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:11 PM, AMERICA2020 wrote:

    EVERYONE KNOWS ITS NOT OBAMA'S FAULT. The Republicans tried in vain for 5 years to pin this garbage economy on the first black President, but no one listened then or now. The real crime is how we let Huge Global Corporations control not only our government, but the U.S Military all in the name of protecting us from Terrorist. Believe me or not, former President Eisenhower even made a string note about the use of the Military for the gain of greed,

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:13 PM, AMERICA2020 wrote:

    I think Congresses approval rating should be about 0% this Sunday July 28th 2013. Yet the same people who keep that job will be re-elected with little to no competition in 2014. Why do we complain when we do nothing to change our own plight?

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:17 PM, AMERICA2020 wrote:

    If we are the sum of our own stupidity, what is the purpose of crying about it? Why complain about people we hired to watch our tax dollars knowing full well they've never in the history of America done a good job at it? Not one political figure deserves a second term if the economy tanks in the first round of his or her employment. If we work as poorly as the people in charge produced, no one would have a job today.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:18 PM, tubbypidge wrote:

    Considering everyone's comments, you solved the world's problems; now we just have to implement them.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:19 PM, kamky wrote:

    I agree with you 100%. I got myself a very good education and it resulted in a long and interesting career with a large Corporation. The problem many people have with an education is that it takes hard work and time. My parents started educating me at age 4 and it was regarded as my "job". So I was prepared at every step for the next step...kindergarden, elementary schoold, middle school, high school, college...and paid employment. We have to change the mindset to make education something important and a responsibility, from an early age.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:25 PM, searay9451 wrote:

    Another article proposing that if u go to college for 4 years now to be a nurse. All of the jobs they listed require college. So how is getting into a 4 year nursing degree help you get a job now. And most nursing programs in my area will only accept 16-20 students at a time with a waiting list of 300. Stupid article.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:27 PM, surfinbom wrote:

    1)Morals/standards, dishonesty,ethics. 2)Leadership for all colors without waver and sides , "A man for all" isnt what America has as our current leader. We as a country have lost all what made us great, Like it or not the "truth" is what most Americans cant stand or stand up to. This my friends is the core of all our Problems listed in this column

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:34 PM, mike28584 wrote:

    The Gallup poll has always shaded their polls to get the answers that they want.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:35 PM, BayAreaBill1 wrote:

    I would have answered "All of the above".

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:36 PM, USCourts wrote:

    The reason education is at the bottom of the list is because there are so many highly educated people who cannot get a job in this economy. Having a good education could be counted on to obtain a better paying job in days past. Today higher education has become a huge waste of money and a huge source of false hopes. People have figured out that it does not matter if you have a good education or if you work hard and apply yourself. In our society today the only thing that matters is if you are part of the upper 5 to 6 percent of the population that controls most of the wealth in this country. Why bother with the high debt of student loans and all the work of college when you get nothing from it but older and in debt from the experience.

    Until things change in way that will allow most people a chance at economic equality the priority of education will continue to diminish. Sad but true. If there is no reward for a behavior people eventually figure it out and stop participating in the game.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:36 PM, AMERICA2020 wrote:

    Don't blame one man, blame them all. To the whiners aka.. Republicans, who cry about Obama, Sure...sure if Romney won in 2012, I guess Gas would be $1 a gallon, we'd be out of Afghanistan, Unemployment would be around 2% and and there would be be gold laden in the streets of America? What a crock of crap. The problem does not lead to just one head, but to many minds who can't function collectively,

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:51 PM, eholtz wrote:

    I’m skeptical of putting too much faith in polls. This one claims that there is NO concern that garners more than 23% of the polled individuals. I cannot accept that at face value.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 6:57 PM, tarbinterboo wrote:

    The problem with education being the solution is that that solution is 10 years out

    @jrdaw – your view of the German education system is right on. My ex-wife grew up there until she was 15, and she said it is like night and day comparing our education system with theirs. However, your critique of @rightislight had no substance whatsoever. Here’s a Housing Crisis History that was the reason for our near financial collapse 5 years ago. . .

    The Community Reinvestment Act was passed by Democrats of the 95th Congress and signed into law by Jimmy Carter in 1977. It coerced lending institutions to make loans "to the entire community," undermining means testing to qualify applicants for mortgages.

    In 1989, President G. H. W. Bush signed the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act increasing public oversight of the process of issuing CRA ratings to banks, in the wake of the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s. That helped restore some integrity to the CRA.

    However, Bill Clinton's signature on legislation making it easier for minority constituents with bad credit to obtain mortgages really reseeded the crisis.

    On 20 November 1994, Clinton signed the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Article V(e)(iii) of that treaty asserts that all people have a "right" to housing.

    A year later, in order to comply with the treaty and win the hearts and minds of millions of low income constituents, he had his Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, rewrite the lending rules for the CRA, opening the Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) subprime flood gates.

    In other words, mortgage lenders were able to make millions of loans to borrowers who, subject to free market lending practices, would not have been able to qualify for loans.

    Clinton's legislation, in effect, applied affirmative action to the lending industry, which is to say that the current crisis is NOT a "free market failure" but the result of socially engineered financial policy by the central government. The mortgage markets welcomed their new customers with open arms, fueling a real estate boom across the board.

    In 1999, financial analysis by The New York Times noted, "Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people.... In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the [thrift industry] savings and loan industry in the 1980's."

    Indeed, the article quoted economist Peter Wallison from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who warned, "If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry."

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:06 PM, airus20005 wrote:

    illegal immigration is a major part ... it helps to create the employment system

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:07 PM, pope7446 wrote:

    This headline is very misleading.The respondents did not rank education as least important, they were least likely to rank it as MOST important.

    That's an important distinction. Had they been given the chance to rank the choices, they might have put education 3rd or 4th ect, but they were not given the option.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:08 PM, JWS1978 wrote:

    I skimmed the article, so forgive me if I missed some critical information here, but my guess is that respondents to Gallup Polls (any professional poll really) are probably fairly educated people and thus "education" is not a fundamental concern overall. And, our country, despite its flawed education system is fairly well-educated. "Education" in this general term is not all that easy to classify. What is the problem? Cost? Quality? Attainment? And, are we talking K-8? High School? College? Graduate School? And although there is correlation between education and employment, have an education does not guarantee a job - and I think the current 2008 crisis was displacing people with college education as well as people without. If anything, the government response to the economic crisis probably disproportionally benefitted people who typically don't have college degrees - union labor (construction, low-level government jobs, etc...). So, I think your shock to the results shouldn't be all that surprising.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:11 PM, johncspies wrote:

    Education solves half of every other problem?? What is this guy smoking? The percentage of Americans, 25 or older, with bachelor degrees or more grew from 15% in 1979 to almost 30% by 2009. In 1960 less than 8% of Americans 25+ had a bachelors degree or more. We all know from being fools that oversupply drives prices down. The number of people with a degree has far outstripped demand for those with a degree, as evidenced by historically high unemployment, and underemployment, rates for those people with degrees; not only here in America but most western countries. The writer must have an agenda to push, if he is proposing we continue to pump out qualified, but hardly wanted, degreed individuals into a contracting and utterly confused global economy.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:15 PM, elfqueen1970 wrote:

    Education could be the most important thing as long as its for Americans. I grow weary to see college educated people asking if Id like my meal from McDonalds supersized. As a calorie counting persn of European stock a kids meal has more calories than I really need. So when enrolling your child for an advanced education consider how many non-Americans graduate (for free) from learning institutions.... .

    Pres. Obama needs his wings clipped and arrested for treason... just my opinion

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:26 PM, brandonteale wrote:

    The problem with education is far reaching. First of all, our parents are failing in their responsibility (not all, but too many are) Secondly, "No Child Left Behind." A well intentioned failure. No child learns the same way. What makes the federal government believe all schools should teach the same way? Thirdly, having said no child learns the same way, why are we not educating kids in a more tiered way. Trade schools, college bound, and of course you always want to rescue those sinking, but not to be rude or offensive, but a rock is a rock. It will not swim how many time you try to revive it. Lastly, we have college. One questions the cost of higher education. Some of the college educations aimed at business, might be better served if business itself did the educating in the form of apprenticeships. Business has a responsibility to ensure its own future workforce.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:27 PM, JackSaratoga wrote:

    It's the Policy Stupid (which applies to virtually all of these 9 choices - many that are fundamentally redundant ... a survey designed to dilute and distract).

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:28 PM, FromMyVolcano wrote:

    My 2 cents: only 7% agree with me - that "Ethics/Moral-religious-family decline/Dishonesty" is the root of all evil. We as parents keep on failing our children in this respect: what do you expect them to become with what you give them? Exactly! They become the REASON for the remaining 93%.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:30 PM, mhansen94 wrote:

    Your interpretation of the data is illogical. Saying that the lowest number of people picked education as the most important problem is not the same as saying people consider education the least important problem. Those two are not synonymous. The majority of people could believe that education is the second-most important issue, but you cannot tell from this data.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:34 PM, JePonce wrote:

    Replace the Government as they are the cause of all of the problems on the list.

    Particularly, the Left. Rasmussen reported on July 25, that 74% of Americans believe Obama, the Democrat-controlled Senate, and the RINOs in both houses are taking the country in the WRONG DIRECTION.

    Thank God the House is under the control of individuals that will obstruct the march to Marxism.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:36 PM, vestagrl wrote:

    I think the way the question was asked has more to do with the answer than the question itself. In the economy we are living in today necessities of housing, food and clothing will be at the top of most person's list. I don't think anyone thinks education is at the bottom of the list, but until the basics are covered and the reasons people are in doubt they can maintain the basic human needs, education is more of a luxury. Especially, when the media is pointing out every day how many college graduates are working at McD's and how poor the outlook is for today's college graduate.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:36 PM, JePonce wrote:

    Fix the President, the Senate, the House, and the Judiciary and everything else will take care of itself.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:52 PM, buckdeer10 wrote:

    hey lb27608: Please hurry and leave North Carolina. We were doing much better before the influx of out of state inhibitors that have tried mercifully to screw up this once great state. I will help you pack if it will get you out of here faster. Please pass on the word of how bad it is to live in North Carolina to everyone you know so they too will leave. I would love to have my state back the way it used to be, so PLEASE, PLEASE hurry and leave.

    As for the so called survey (consider the source and this website). Group it all together. We as a country have lost our ever loving minds. When you let a hand full of people dictate "unwanted changes" in this country then "WE" have lost complete control. You figure out who the hand full are. Everyone is afraid to really speak their mind in front of someone and especially if the media can get their hands on it. We have become the "United States of the offended". Whites and not racist, we are just tired of the label. Talk about profiling. The only racist in this country are the ones who keep calling everyone else a racist. Look, I treat everyone as an individual and take them for what they stand for. As the old saying goes "If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything". I stand on the Word which is the King James version of the HOLY BIBLE, and don't be a critic if you have no facts to back up your opinion. Striving to be a good person is not a bad thing.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 7:58 PM, bestcareerfinder wrote:

    knetchitilo and any other people who are seriously looking for employment, I have many open positions for well trained, educated people. The medical field is one of the toughest to fill with experience people, nurses and doctors.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:17 PM, Ricktloml wrote:

    Maybe if the main focus of our schools wasn't indoctrination into the liberal, progressive, statist ideology, graduates would know how to read, do basic math and think for themselves. But when you are trying to fundamentally transform a nation from one based on freedom, to one based on servitude, you need to have less thinking, and more doing what you are told, all for your own good of course. America used to be the country where anyone could achieve their goals,IF you worked hard and played by the rules. Thanks to 50 years of the slow creep of liberalism, and the last 4+ years of accelerated liberalism we now have an economic, and cultural disaster, that these liberal elitist blame on anyone and everyone but themselves

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:21 PM, farmerroark wrote:

    The bottom line just look what we have in the white house all are socialists, liberals and liars.

    The most corrupt government this country has

    ever had both parties involved.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:32 PM, Liz321 wrote:

    It would be nice if your comments section allowed people to agree or disagree with a comment instead of everyone having to repeat each other. I think you get a better idea of how the majority of people feel by the number of 'likes' some comment has.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:40 PM, dwduke wrote:

    With the liberalization of America, Americans have gotten addicted to entitlement. If you want more money, then work 2 jobs. Most Americans say no to that. There are plenty of part time, temp, and seasonal jobs out there. Get use to it. The Clinton years are over with for good. Obama has not and will not return America to the days of his lib idol. Yes, I do work 2 jobs, and am not ashamed of it.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:50 PM, Liz321 wrote:

    My ranking of these US problems in order of importance would be....

    Poor leadership/The President/Corruption/Abuse of Power as the #1 problem. It is at the root of how we have accumulated all the rest of the problems.

    Closely related to that is the Ethics, Moral, Religious-family decline and dishonesty of America as a society and of the government


    Which is basically a repeat of the first two. Apathy by the voters is rooted in the lack of trust in politics and having a voice, that many feel.

    The Federal Deficit

    This is the most frightening part of our American set of problems to me. We keep spending money that we don't have and shipping jobs oversees and I wouldn't rule out a future where some other country that we owe money to, will decide they own the USA. If we didn't have corruption at every level of government, abuse of power, corporate wealth buying legislation for profits and power, then we wouldn't have this federal deficit to the degree we have it. So that also reflects on lack of morals and ethics and dishonesty in corporate America.

    Every thing else stems from these issues of immorality and dishonesty and abuse of power.

    The economy in general can not be solved with out the underlying problems in government and society being fixed first.

    Unemployment / jobs


    Health Care

    So many people in this country are sick because corporations have made all their corporate decisions from their bottom line profit. Pollution, deceptive advertising, Oil spills, over use of XRay machines, toxins in the water and the food, you name it. All from profit driven decision making from people who refuse to consider they are making people sick.


    The last thing we need now is more college educated young people who can barely find a job making it worth the cost of their education and piling on the debt. People in this country need to start considering where problems need solving and working on fitting into that as a career, instead of 'looking for a job'. Too many young people looking for a lucrative career doing something they love, like playing sports, when playing sports doesn't solve any of our problems. It is not a productive occupation. Name about 10 others that are equally unproductive.

    Anyway, that is my personal view. I disagree with the article and other commenters, especially those who point to who is President. I don't believe it would make any difference which party had the Presidency. What we should have Mitt Romney for President? Talk about corruption and dishonesty. The Republican party couldn't even present a reasonable person to run for office to give the public a choice. Having grown up watching 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington' I find myself wondering, is there really anyone left who would with honesty and wisdom be able to fill the jobs of congressman and president and staff? Where would a person like that come from? Not from any of the usual places.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:52 PM, JenniferGoltman wrote:

    It's okay; most of those polled also signed that petition to repeal the Bill of Rights by the fake Obama-3rd-Term campaigner...

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:53 PM, anon189 wrote:

    Stands to reason very few people consider corruption and immorality/dishonesty and abuse of power a problem. Most of the people polled represent a culture where there is little honesty, decency and morality, so a rep sample of people will not recognize that immorality and dishonesty is the biggest problemn.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 8:54 PM, JenniferGoltman wrote:

    And Education (as well as corporate Research & Development staff) is always the first thing on the chopping block... At this rate, we will have NO ONE smart enough to solve our financial problems in the future... Go watch the movie Idiocracy..

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:00 PM, ReallyLily wrote:

    There is no way that Congress CAN'T be the worst problem in the United States.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:02 PM, jambri wrote:

    The biggest problem is the Democreep/Liberal Left-Wing Fanatical Party! Look at what they have done to the education system....we don't teach reading, writing and arithmetic anymore we teach homosexual sensitivity, political correctness and anti-religious bigotry. As far as the economy one need only look at what happened to Detroit. The place is a broken down, bankrupt pile of rubble. Why? Because it's been under Liberal/Democreep "leadership" for over 60 years! California, another Liberal cesspool state is bankrupt. Texas however has a thriving economy. It's no accident that liberalism is a failure unless you are homosexual or enjoy killing babies...

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:20 PM, RuebenScott74 wrote:

    As a retired educator, it pains me to have to say that the reason it is last in this poll is that their has been a dumbing down of America for decades, The loss of critical thinking skills, scientific reasoning, and the denigration of intellectual discourse altogether is shunned. The Republicans who have become home to most illiterate in the society and buttressed ilitieracy with racism is responsible for it.To hear a presidential candidate call college graduates ELITE because they believe a college degree means something is a sign we are in big trouble.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:22 PM, obshrad wrote:

    Speaking to the core of this article, that a more educated workforce will solve America's economic problems: this is plainly false. Education inflation is a serious problem and, as many have already commented, there are already many highly qualified workers in the workforce that have been forced to take jobs that require little to no education. Jobs need to be created before education can be used.

    What is wrong with the economy is not something that can be traced back to 2007-2009. The recession was simply a symptom of what is wrong. For good info on this see: <

    These statistics also appear to "be the problem" but really are not. The problem lies many years ago in the late '70s and early '80s when a process of deregulation began to occur. This deregulation came to a head with the recent sub-prime lending crisis. The key idea here is "sub-prime".

    There is absolutely no reason why the U.S. economy should have a shrinking middle-class and a growing working-class. Yet over the past 30+ years that is exactly what has happened. Inflation has averaged one to two percent more than wage increases. Compounded over such a long period, the average American is simply poorer than he should be.

    There are an estimated 400 people in the U.S. with over $1 billion dollars in assets. If we imagine that they each have only $1 billion, then doing some simple math, we can see that with the money they are holding they could give 6.6 million people a job that pays $60,000. This does not consider the multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires.

    Of course, paying out for one year of wages would not solve the economy and I would not advocate seizing there funds just to do so. But this does underscore a large inequality of wealth.

    The U.S. needs a robust and wealthy middle-class and a working-class that is fairly paid. Creating a solid economy requires a good foundation and it is the average person who creates this foundation, not a stock market that is reaching record highs or an abstract idea of the size of the whole economy.

    Long-term, this is difficult to effect because of the political system the U.S. utilizes: a system of self interest that amounts doing for who helps you keep your job. There is nothing really wrong with this system, in fact it could be the best in the world. Unfortunately, Americans today are not very politically active or aware and so money steps in to fill the gap. Holding government and politicians accountable for doing their job, that being protecting the American people (whether from threats abroad or from corporations at home), is absolutely necessary to correct the problems that the U.S. economy faces today.

    Please become more politically active and vote!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:23 PM, foolhardynurse wrote:

    This article is wrong on so many levels. Just because education is at the bottom of this list, does not make it the lowest priority of the majority of people in this nation.

    Secondly, I am a nurse and I graduated 3 years ago. While I have been working, getting a job in a hospital (even with 2 bachelors degrees) is ridiculously difficult. I pity our health care system, it is so flawed and does not work near to the ability that our citizens deserve!The economy and our government need reform more than our health care system.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:33 PM, rubysparkify wrote:

    I for one am sick of all these "studies" and "polls" that seem now to be conducted on a daily basis! They polled some 2000 people>>>> There are over 300 million people in America , why do people believe they can come to a conclusion which is supposed to represent the majority of Americans? And as with ALL polls/studies conducted, the questions are formed,presented and interpreted for the conclusion in which fits their needs.

    Question; How much will the government pay me to conduct a study on "the adverse effects on the population from either being constantly polled and studied or having them shoved in their face constantly".

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:41 PM, Harley117 wrote:

    A bloated government bureaucracy that requires tremendous resources just to sustain itself is no answer for the economy or jobs. We no longer encourage productivity and innovations but Obama and Democrats are hell bent on growing an even larger dysfunctional government.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:50 PM, freedomwriter wrote:

    What's wrong with America?

    we could have a national dialogue about the direction we take as a nation. i.e..fear based militarization of police, corporate welfare for companies who pay 0 in taxes because of their military research divisions which provide shareholders enormous dividends for the purpose of ransacking 3rd world nations for their resources which we really don't need because the technology exists to kick the petrol habit. the super rich don't care about the people.

    they don't care about the teachers responsible for the masses' education. they would prefer that our kids were just smart enough to pull the levers and turn the knobs of the beast-machine. real food too expensive for the people, etc etc etc. while the working world keeps watching the puppet show called politics, they are laughing at us for believing there is any truth to government.

    fact is, the banks control it all. our birth certificates are commodities which they trade on the potential taxes we will pay. things are tough all over. they made it that way on purpose. democrin or repulicrat...they are one and the same. they are the employees of the lobbyists. most politicians who make policy secure their next jobs in the private sector by passing corporation friendly measures.

    the FDA is full of biotech people. the pentagon is full of defense industry people. the media is owned by 3 mega media corporations. the citizenry is controlled by emotion. solidarity is almost a dirty word. it seems to me that the system is working just fine...for 'them'. you won't find that in your students textbooks.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:51 PM, danabonner wrote:

    I didn't see this poll , but I wouldn't of voted the way this one is laid out. Our government is out to lunch in a bad way. It needs a good shake down. Shoulda been first on the list and health care should be .. #3. Educaton isn't a big problem yet. Immigration is a problem and should be #2. Sorry that's how I see it. We need our factorys back into our peoples hands too. Its been coming for 40 yrs, the factorys closing and going over seas where they have slave laybor since we don't. Get all these forieners out that's out of a visa and support our boarders. Its not hard to figure out. They do it for votes people and they The Gov. don't care of the repecusion.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:57 PM, argus1776000 wrote:

    The biggest problem with America is poor leadership/the president/poor judgement /government/corprate corruption and abuse of power.


  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:57 PM, eholtz wrote:

    RuebenScott74 wrote: “As a retired educator [ . . . ] the reason education is last in this poll is that their has been a dumbing down of America for decades,. The loss of critical thinking skills, scientific reasoning, and the denigration of intellectual discourse altogether is shunned. The Republicans who have become home to most illiterate in the society and buttressed ilitieracy with racism is responsible for it.”

    Another race-baiting Leftist is playing his prerecorded message. Democrats have been advocating -- and giving, via legislation – extra points for skin color to Blacks and Hispanics, for about 40 years now. Yet the Dems, the congenital hypocrites that they are, are also the greatest race-baiters accusing others of racism.

    The dumbing down of education that people like you (in “education”) have been engaging in has resulted in electing folks like Obama -- a man with zero achievements to his name (other than having been a Community Agitator.)

    And I have to laugh at your claim that the Republicans allegedly are less literate than your fanaticized Leftist kind-of-Kristalnacht mob from the inner-cities. Yes, those folks are the epitome of rational reasoning skills.

    PS. If you're an educator, why do you confuse the possessive "their" with the adverb "there"? Typical Obama voter and an "educator" to boot.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 9:59 PM, danabonner wrote:

    This is all good stuff, all the things people wrote on here. It means were taking the time to actualy read and respond to something that we all need to know. Our government has got to change for the better and we as the people must make that change, were soppose to have the best of all democracy so whats the deal??? Let do it! Everyone needs to stay awake, get along, get a job and go to school, eat right and then we will conqur.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:09 PM, kjv1959 wrote:

    Isn't it funny that the top 3 items of the poll results have NOTHING to do with what our constitutionally limited republic is supposed to do on a "federal" level. If states want to tackle those they can. Let's get the federal government back to the very tiny scope to what they are only authorized to do in the first place. Money = power. State's are supposed to "compete" with each other. Our founding father's were brilliant in how they set things up. Why do we continually destroy what they gave us?

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:11 PM, oneofthemasses wrote:

    As mentioned in the article you had only one to choose. That being the case I sure unemployment and immigration are tied together. Who wouldn't worry if all of sudden you have to complete with 12 to 20 million more people looking for work. If given amnesty they are going to go for the jobs we want.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:20 PM, 1died4all wrote:

    Now lets get this cleared America, The stimulas package for health care remember that the president passed that no one got because the President just gave large sums expecting that it would be used/spent in the right places but got extorted to theives meaning the President got robbed for his trust giving large sums of currency, when he should of made sure of where every penny was spent and to where. So now he's talking about health care once more but the truth is is that it's the single adult ages 25-35 that need help! Why, because on less your a parent , disabled or or a sex offender you do not get no medical ,houseing ,utility,or fix income like cash aid only food stamps and lowest at most. Send mor troops Mr.President give these young adults a pice to. What are we to do go broke starve,tHEY want you want us to put down are rocks and are glocks but you don't want to help by easying up on opportunitys. Take the Military for example If you have a drug offence like Marijuana your excluded from the armed forces. How do you exclude a drug offender from the Army and sign the illigal use of the drug that excludes them Mr.President? It seems that he cares a whole lot for homosexuals because congress even voted to have open homosexuality in the army and remember gay marraige where gays rights matter more than the teachings of the lord Jesus Christ that President Obama signed in two states.Send more troops Mr.President give us a chance to that want a chance. The President swears an oath on the Bible but is quick to not follow and if not follow respect the book thats been working way longer than this country and even gives us examples of what happens when not followed. If the bible is wrong and old not telling us how to stay rightoues The President seems to know a better way and it's not just the president it's the voters .legislation even congress. Send more troops meaning give us a chance to who face homelessness to wanting an opportunity to serve are country.Why cut the defence cuts ? Are founding fathers made a plan with back up which we are now running off of?

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:21 PM, ESDZAPMAN wrote:

    There is no so called "skills gap" or anything like it. This is just something the media has latched onto because it is "catchy" and minimizes the real issue. Companies today feel that there are so many folks looking for work, and they are correct, that they can have unrealistic expectations of what they need. They are so damn picky that in order to be hired you have to be already working in that EXACT same field. Get yourself a copy of "Why Good People Can't Get Jobs", by Peter Cappelli. It is a quick read but it hits the nail on the head. For example, the book states that a company went through 25,000 resumes, yes twenty five thousand, and could not fine a single qualified person for the electrical engineering position. Another point is made concerning the trucking industry. They are claiming there is a shortage of drivers yet looking at job ads you have to have your CDL before even being considered for a job. It used to be companies would provide on-the-job training but not today. That costs them money so they push this on the unemployed trying to "re-invent" themselves. IT IS ALL ABOUT CORPORATE GREED, NOT A SKILLS ISSUE!!!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:23 PM, Red0101 wrote:

    The most concerning thing to have a president who was born in Kenya and not a US citizen. His grandmother said he was born there along with step brother and sister. Sister in Hawaii said he was born in two different hospitals. Gives 7 Alaskan oil-rich islands away to Russia no problem and gives billions of our money away in aid to other countries including F-16's to Egypt. Had is-lamic president of NA in White House days after he closed tours to US citizens. Not enough money for tours, but plenty for vacations.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:23 PM, 1died4all wrote:

    Listen to 'dear mr.president' by 2pac

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:36 PM, KLM85 wrote:

    Improving education in this country will only make more educated unemployed in this country since the capitalists are sending every job they can overseas.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 10:58 PM, bugmenot wrote:

    Clearly, this Poll shows that Obama should be removed from office. The Egyptian Way is one option to overcome the Chicago Way. Corruption in Washington must be stopped and it may take the US Military to shutdown the racist drug user in the White House.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 11:06 PM, 1017kathy wrote:

    idiots voting for idiots!!!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 11:31 PM, VRSEFgold wrote:

    How about the CIA has been controlling all major elections and appointments for years?

    The CIA gave Ovomit twice as many votes in Cleveland as there were registered voters. Duh!

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 11:46 PM, sdchanman wrote:

    Wasn't that what mittens said? People need to clean their ears. 6 years into that lazy idiots frat house. We are still are unemployed.

  • Report this Comment On July 28, 2013, at 11:53 PM, flatusm wrote:

    Well, it's sad that so few people do grasp how important education is in the long run. There are foolish labor disputes in the most fragile areas, and no plan is offered. Administrations are cheating, lying to the state and fed, both about test results and funding. Even in places where the state funds 75% of the US average per student, there are budget shortfalls. The shortfalls are the result of unions, decimated local job markets leading to flight, and mismanagement by idiots. Fools who thought Obama would remove any requirements and let the cash flow like a Vegas slot machine towards minority districts.

    It is their fault, but since by and large they are at least hard liberal and more often than not minorities, they play the race card and blame it on conservatives, Republicans, and the Tea Party. Really? I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the country. My local schools are completely funded by property taxes on a still high real estate market with an aging population. We spend about $8500 per pupil. Every sophomore, junior, and senior gets an ipad at the start of the year. We have new looking facilities, and teachers with advanced degrees. This is the 42% nationally. As rich as we are here, we spend below the average of all US school districts.

    This amount is how much some states give in addition to local taxes! New Jersey spends $18,000 per pupil. The minority school districts complaining have 25% more budget per pupil than our district.

    And who gets hurt when these criminal grifters shut down the school or start a teachers strike? The kids.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:08 AM, FeralJim wrote:

    It's really easy to answer your silly question about why education is the least of America's concerns: We've been effectively dumbed-down to utter stupidity. We don't give a **** about education, because it's "too hard." What we're looking for is a quick fix: Fix the "general economy," and create more "jobs," and everything will be fine ... right?

    Stupid! But what's even more stupid is that the environment that is our habitat is not even suggested as a subject of concern! If we were giving attention to enhancing biodiversity (which is what makes Life adaptable to changing conditions), we'd be finding plenty of work to do -- whether or not there are "jobs." If we were giving our attention to making the planet more abundant, rather than scraping away the last of what we call "resources" and finding places to dispose of what we disparage as "waste," we would instantly reverse our deficit economy and begin to make a positive contribution to ecology, like other species do.

    Please -- no more polls that point out our stupidity!

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:17 AM, rbreau1 wrote:

    I can understand obama being the worse president in the last 70 years but I do not see this one being the worse.

    What criteria is used to make that statement? Unemployment and inflation were higher in the 70s and unemployment was high when Reagan became president but the difference is that the government worked to improve the economy under Reagan whereas what is obama doing besides watching the Fed print money?

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:18 AM, Rleanor wrote:

    Education? Our children are just passed to the next grade, even with failing grades. Have you ever tried to give someone the right change with a larger bill and watch their face at first, then see them smile and enter amount given to them into their computer/cash register, and give you the correct bills back. I have even seen them try to count out the change, but with difficulty. Read? The texting has taken over that part and all the signs and symbols have ruined any reading they could do. Try talking to someone with a phone in their hand, and I am sure you have to shake them to know you are talking to them. Education in this day and age is absolute sadly lacking, and I mean in the lower grades, even in high school, let alone college.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:21 AM, rbreau1 wrote:

    We hired a president without any experience or skill set except public speaking so why doesn't industry do the same thing and train people through OJT?

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:40 AM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    The fact education is on the bottom is scary.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:55 AM, asatisfiedclient wrote:

    What you mean the IRS scandal didn't make the list? AP, Benghazi, nothing. What the heck you mean there are NO scandals?

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 4:45 AM, vicang wrote:

    Yes, I do believe that there more than enough people with BS, MA, JD and PhD out there. But the problem is that there is not enough positions to fill them in. This would simply boil down to poor economy or fear of expanding or opening up more business ventures that would create more jobs.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 5:54 AM, Draconian9172 wrote:

    People will always say that the economy is the #1 issue, even when the economy is doing well and unemployment is low. Just the way it is.

    By the way, why is global warming missing from the list? The economy will continue to hum along just fine, but if we don't address global warming, then Florida will be literally underwater in a few decades.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 6:15 AM, Lugus wrote:

    "...the economy in general and unemployment/jobs -- can both be solved by improving education in this country."

    This is a huge assumption! While I fully share the author's concern about education being listed as the last concern, and agree improving it would likely have a positive impact on the economy and unemployment, to say it is a singular solution is difficult to justify. That suggests that the economic problems in the US arise from poor education alone, which ignores a plethora of other clearly valid causes.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 6:50 AM, onlywords421 wrote:

    Education is important and in many cases most important, but, not always as lack of. All around the country there are educated and qualified people out of work. And there are companies searching for people to fill open positions.

    The world has changed so much , In the past , even recent past, Out of work? go to the help adds, find companies needing help in your area. Today's search requires willingness of families to uproot and move to another part of the country. For most families this is a major move if possible at all. Most families have 2 breadwinners, so to move means they need 2 new jobs where they are going. They have children in schools to be uprooted, and other ties to communities, like family and friends. then there are other things to consider too like a rural family taking on a big city lifestyle. These are real life traumas. But I think you can see where all these things are incredibly significant. They are also things that can only be resolved within the family itself.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 7:58 AM, fedup1958 wrote:

    Mine is short and sweet.... Poor leadership/The president/Corruption/Abuse of power Should be # 1 and then jobs but if you get rid of the 1st one then there would be better leaders put in and jobs will follow, they are greedy bastardSSS

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 8:20 AM, crhymethinc wrote:

    This makes perfect sense because the average American is a relatively stupid person who doesn't want to face their stupidity. So the obvious answer is to make sure their children are even more stupid than they.

    Why do you think schools spend more money on their sports programs? Because the average American wants their kid to grow up to be a sports star or movie star or pop star rather than a researcher, scientist or other career where they actually have a hand shaping our future.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 8:43 AM, mills18 wrote:

    Where do I start with this?

    Education is the reason we are in the mess we are in the first place. "Over-Education" as I have coined it. OE is the term for an overcrowded college classroom, filled with students who can not afford, nor have the resources to be there.

    And what has this caused? The Boomer Gen. has pushed for college to their children from the start. And downplayed and ruined the "industrial" sector of this once great country. For all of their laboring, it led to hate. Hate for the job, the lack of benefits, the hours, the safety, etc. So they pushed for their children, College College College!

    And now what has this caused 30 years later? Every kid born after 1980 holding a college degree, and there not even being close to enough "white colar" jobs to put all of those degrees to work. We eleminated the "blue colar" b/c of hatred from previous generations. The jealousy of those individuals to get in to "management" and white colar work, has completely underminded society.

    Children need to see factory work as a promising career. A choice made to help our country and keep everything moving in the right direction. Learning traits and skills with your hands, rather than your mind is such a wonderful thing. It must be pushed for the future.

    We used to have very smart people, some could say, "over-qualified" people, working jobs that any "bozo" could do. However, with such a talented person in that role, it made the entire facility and operation work better. Having smart people in low places has very high value. Especially when these type of people are spread over every industry. Not just all stuck in white colar positions at top.

    Education needs to be re-evaluated in this country. We need to erase this trillion dollar education debt and put people back to work. Hands on work! Down with College, up with Trade Schools!

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 9:43 AM, lizfj1 wrote:

    WOW! What insight! (not)

    It's always the economy, stupid!

    If people have jobs, money, they have a better outlook and they forgive more of the little things, or more of even the bigger things! Without a job, money, way to get ahead, get things for the family, make a better life, people are left DEMORALIZED! Way to go Obama - you've done it! You've destroyed the greatest country int he world and the history of mankind!

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:29 PM, BATeacher wrote:

    Sean Williams: I am sorry you have fed into the notion that our schools are "failing." Maybe you should do some journalistic investigation regarding the misconception that our schools are horrendously incompetent. This idea has been propagated by politicians who plan to test our children multiple times per year and corporate America who wish to sell more and more tests. Teachers are fed up with education bashing. Luckily, those Americans polled do not believe education is what is ailing America.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 1:20 PM, lunatik96 wrote:

    The US needs education reform. First college should be merit based. Second, companies WANT educated people, they just don't want to pay for them. Increase the minimum wage to a living wage. Make companies pay health care by total hours worked in all locations. If you have 3 people working 20 hours a week, then you need to pay for 3/2 person of health care. Yes I know - a tax. Finally, businesses have reduced their share of taxes from $1T/ yr to <$200B/ yr under the Bush admin. That revenue can NOT be made up by the citizens. Re-instate the taxes.

    But NONE of this will happen until we get the money out of political elections.

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