A Pew Research Center poll found 78% of Americans distrust their government. That’s the highest discontent in nearly a half century. Coincidentally, the survey found only 19% were satisfied with the Federal government, down from a decade ago. As if that’s not bad enough, satisfaction with Congress has have declined by half—from 50% to 25%—over the last year. This represents the lowest approval rating of Congress in a quarter century.
Congress fairs the worst in approval ratings. That shouldn’t be a surprise after the shady deals and machinations of health care reform. It is also consistent with a mid-March Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll that found a 77% disapproval rating of Congress among US voters.
The people have become angry with government because they feel it is ignoring their wishes. They believe government no longer represents them. They fear government is taking over the private sector. Said Cindy Wanto, a registered Democrat:
The government’s been lying to people for years. Politicians make promises to get elected, and when they get elected, they don’t follow through.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said, “Distrust of government is an all-American activity.” That may be, and voters always like to complain, but it’s much more vociferous than ever before. According to independent David Williams of Sarasota FL:
I want an honest government. This isn’t an honest government. It hasn’t been for some time.
The problem, in large part, is too much partisan bickering. At least that’s an improvement over the racially charged rhetoric of some months ago. Matthew Dowd, a Bush re-election strategist, says “What the country wants is a community solution to the problems but not necessarily a federal government solution.” According to the Pew report, the public largely blames Congress, rather than the political system, as the problem.
Anger with government is more than just a feeling, however. There are reasons why people are angry with government. And they’re tangible reasons. They include continuing high unemployment, with Michigan having the highest rate at 14.1%. RealtyTrac expects 4 million or more foreclosures by the end of 2010. People are fed up with Wall Street compensation and bonuses, which are, yet again, in the news. And then there’s the political dealmaking, like with health care reform.
There is record discontent with Congress, and elected officials in general. Who can dispute such discontent when there is rampant corruption in the so-called earmark process? Three-quarters of voters agree politicians are out of touch.
And then there’s Michigan’s legislature. Those clowns don’t deserve reelection. And people wonder why I will vote out anyone who is an incumbent. Everyone needs to take this stand in order to send a message to the people who are supposed to represent us.