Monday, April 19, 2010

Pew On You, Mr. Big Government

 The latest Pew Research Center survey says 78% of Americans polled the past two months don't trust the federal government. The timing is akin to asking a husband if he trusts his wife after finding her in bed with another man.

Pew said the results are a perfect storm -- "a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter, partisan-based backlash and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials." Well, duh.

When the National Election Study first asked the question in 1958, 73% of Americans said they trusted the government to do what was right most of the time. That was an era of prosperity during the Eisenhower administration.

The 22% favorable rating released Sunday still fares better than the 17% of happy campers that led to the Republicans victory in the1994 House midterm elections.

Pew said people who want government powers curtailed are growing in numbers and found "less of an appetite for government solutions to the nation's problems -- including more government control over the economy -- than there was when Barack Obama first took office."

The research study translated the returns as a potential gain for Republicans in the midterms but cautioned that voter anger is directed at incumbents of both parties.

It is of little satisfaction to me that the media was viewed favorably by 31% compared to 25% about the state of the nation, 25% about large corporations and 22% about banks. The only poll won by the media in the past was coming in ahead of lawyers.

I'm sticking my neck out here but I suspect Fox News is the major player stirring voter discontent and polarizing the nation into Congressional gridlock.

When things get tough, people see the glass half empty. Nor do they go shopping as President Bush encouraged the day after Sept. 11, 2001.

I have mixed emotions about big government. I believe the government took the only sensible course with the market collapses of 2007 and 2008 bailing out the banks, enacting an economic stimulus program but still dithering with financial reforms.

Once recovery is established, the government should suspend the programs and get the hell out of the way. This takes time and the masses don't have the patience so their only recourse is to throw the rascals out.

Perhaps the health overhaul legislation will provide voters a new set of glasses to correct their myopic vision.

Readers comments are welcome as long as they remain civil. We reserve the right to delete any comments that are vulgar, libelous and totally irrelevant to this posting. -- Jer

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