Examiner Editorial: Americans losing faith in their government 

Data continues to pour in from a variety of sources indicating that faith in government is at a record low. Pew Research Center’s latest survey found that only 22 percent of those polled trust the federal government “almost always or most of the time.” In the Harris Poll’s long-running measure of public attitudes, only 8 percent have confidence in Congress. The problem is not limited to Washington, however, as the Gallup Poll’s annual measure of public confidence in state government has also taken a nose dive in recent years, dropping below 50 percent in every region except the South.

This deep lack of public trust in government is so serious that National Public Radio — a government-created and -supported news organization — is devoting much of its programming to the issue this month, including an in-depth series exploring the root causes.

Don’t expect NPR to reverse the tide, though, since its description of the series includes this perplexing assertion: “While much of the year long struggle wound up restraining the role of government in the new health insurance system, the perception of a governmental takeover of the entire system remains strong.” It’s difficult to understand why anybody would describe nationalization of one-sixth of the U.S. economy as “restraining the role of government.” Will NPR next tell us that the government’s takeover of General Motors and Chrysler was a step toward deregulation?

Actually, it’s not hard to understand why public faith in government is at rock bottom: People lose trust when the officials either ignore the public will, or, worse, do the opposite of what they promised voters they would do. President Barack Obama, for example, promised a “net spending cut” during the 2008 presidential campaign. He has instead delivered the biggest explosion in federal spending in American history, with a result that the annual federal deficit and the national debt are now at levels nobody envisioned even a few years ago.

Similarly, nothing could have been clearer throughout the Obamacare debate than the fact that growing majorities opposed the proposal and especially hated the corrupt bargains being struck to gain its passage in Congress. Nevertheless, Obama’s pollster assured the world that enthusiasm for Obamacare would magically appear once it became law. Yet the exact opposite has happened, with support for repeal of Obamacare growing steadily. Rasmussen Reports’ latest survey on the issue shows 58 percent now want repeal, up four points from a week ago. Lincoln once quipped that the politicians of his day could “fool most of the people some of the time.” Today’s politicians aren’t fooling anybody, except themselves.

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