How Much Do We Trust Government
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I recently developed a poll in Facebook whereby I was curious
how Americans generally felt about their government officials, specifically how
much they trusted them. To this end, the question was simply:
"For U.S. citizens only. In terms of your government
officials (including Federal, State, and Local), how much do you TRUST your
66 people participated in the poll, not exactly a landslide
in terms of people, but still a respectable number. Here are the results:
0 - TOTAL TRUST - government officials have my best interests
in mind. Keep everyone in office.
9% (6) - SOMEWHAT TRUST - I tend to believe in my government
officials and I will support those I think are doing a good job.
12% (8) - AVERAGE - I am ambivalent. I can go either way
depending on circumstances.
52% (34) - SOMEWHAT DISTRUST - I am suspicious of my
government and I am inclined to vote out of office those I think are
27% (18) - TOTAL DISTRUST - Government officials do not have
my best interests in mind, I will vote out all incumbents in the next election.
I guess the results of the poll were to be expected. Even if
more people participated in it, I believe the percentages would still be about
the same. People today simply do not trust politicians. If we are so
dissatisfied though, why do we re-elect the same people over and over again? It
seems we tolerate their behavior regardless of what they do. It's kind of like
thanking someone for mugging us, but with a little more finesse.
I sense a backlash is in the offing though as people become
more aware of our growing economic problems, not just the meltdown of 2008, but
our growing debt that looks more insurmountable with each passing day. In a way,
it reminds me of the 1978 taxpayer revolt in California where the people finally
got fed up with escalating property taxes and implemented the legendary
"Proposition 13" to limit it (anyone remember Howard Jarvis?). This revolt
helped propel Ronald Reagan into the limelight and launch his conservative
From the discontent I am hearing today, I believe a similar
groundswell is in the offing, and it will be so large, it will register shock
waves on the Richter scale. In the next election, do not be surprised if you see
a record number of incumbent officials voted out of office, not just at the
federal level, but state and municipal as well.
I remember a time when we openly trusted our
government officials, but I think the 1960's changed all of that. When the stock
market was clicking along on an upswing and we balanced the federal government's
budget, it seemed we were more inclined to overlook the indiscretions of our
officials. Today though, as the economy stagnates, it is difficult to be
trusting of any government official. I'm just thankful that I am not a
politician as I believe people today will be giving a lot of them their walking
papers in the next election.
Keep the Faith!
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Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce & Associates
(MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the
management consulting field. He can be reached at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-10-21 13:28:45 in Economic Articles