Surprisingly, in the year of
Obamacare, NSA snooping, and skyrocketing federal debt, Americans
express little confidence in government and consider it largely
incapable of addressing the problems and issues facing the country.
OK, that’s not surprising at all—actually, it’s a predictable
result of polling in a year when goverment officials seem to have
set out to demonstrate just how untrustworthy and incompetent they
can be when given half a chance. Other recent polls have found that
Americans consider government to be both burdensome and dangerous,
so these latest AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research numbers
continue a trend in disillusioned, yet realistic, assessments of
the coercive institutions of the state.
The People’s Agenda: America’s Priorities and Outlook for
2014, 70 percent of respondents have little or no
confidence “in the ability of the FEDERAL government to make
progress on the important problems and issues facing the country.”
Fifty-three percent express similarly low esteem in the abilities
of state governments, though local government inspires moderate
What those important issues are ranges far and wide, though
Obamacare, unemployment, the economy, and government spending all
raise concern. So do immigration and education, though at lesser
levels. But, when asked, issue by issue, about government’s
competence to get things right, Americans give an almost unbroken
string of thumbs-down.
Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of those polled say
the democratic system in this country needs changes.
What kind of changes? With all of that skepticism toward
government ability to “fix” things, it’s no surprise that people
express a taste—although slight—for less government in their lives.
Interestingly, poll respondents also have a preference for “strong
government” over the free market. Quite possibly, given the
skepticism toward government expressed throughout the poll, this
split decision represents the difference between what many
Americans wish they could have (if government wasn’t an
incompetent mess run by creeps and dipshits) and the reality of
what they’re getting.
Last month, a record 72 percent of respondents (and rising) to a
Gallup poll said
big government would be the biggest threat to the country in
the future. A majority (54 percent) of Americans polled by
government is generally burdensome and impedes them more than it
Whatever Americans might want of the state in an ideal
world, they’re not impressed by what it can actually deliver.
Actually, they’re horrified.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/02/americans-again-say-government-is-shocki