Confidence In Government Is Getting Worse
By Staff News & Analysis - March 12, 2015

Major survey finds record low confidence in government … Americans' confidence in all three branches of government is at or near record lows, according to a major survey that has measured attitudes on the subject for 40 years. The 2014 General Social Survey finds only 23 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, 11 percent in the executive branch and 5 percent in Congress. By contrast, half have a great deal of confidence in the military. – AP

Dominant Social Theme: Government is good. Just lie back and let it happen.

Free-Market Analysis: Those who believe in social salvation by government cannot be pleased with these polls. Maybe that's why they are polling the same issue over and over.

It seems something like a compulsion. Ask enough times and maybe you'll get the right answer. Only, no … sorry, you won't.

After six years of grinding "greater recession" throughout the West, citizens are fed up. And that is certainly true in the US.


The survey is conducted by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. Because of its long-running and comprehensive set of questions about the public, it is a highly regarded source of data about social trends. Data from the 2014 survey was released last week, and an analysis of its findings on confidence in institutions was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the General Social Survey.

We're glad the poll is highly regarded, but it really doesn't matter, as other polls have been generating the same sort of results for years. We wrote about this lack of government trust regarding the so-called Millennial Generation. You can see the article here:

Can't Say the 'L' Word!

Our point was that this generation like its elders was increasingly trending libertarian. That seems obvious to us. There are many libertarian republicans who support free-market reforms and aren't overly enthused with the military-industrial complex.

Likewise, there are many democrats who want social justice but are increasingly disillusioned with the "nanny state" and are looking for another way.

We've often pointed out that if you took the quasi-libertarian Right and Left and combined them, the electorate's largest block of voters wouldn't be conservatives or liberals but a variegated group of libertarians.

One of the reasons for the disgust with government is that the US political system doesn't really allow for the expression of libertarian tendencies – which may be shared by a majority of voters. One either votes Republican (for the military-industrial-intel complex) or Democrat (for authoritarian and even quasi-fascist government "activism.")

The article culls five separate conclusions from the polling as follows:






As far as the first point is concerned, the disgust with the Obama administration may be driven by Republicans but the poll shows clearly that more and more Democrats share that sentiment as well.

The rest is really quite shocking. The financial institutions "rebound" provides us with the insight that a whopping 15 percent of US citizens feel a bit better about their banking, insurance and financial services. That's up from 11 percent.

Some 10 percent of those polled apparently have "confidence" in the executive branch. Only two in 10 – 20 percent – have confidence in the Supreme Court.

When it comes to Congress, those expressing confidence hover in the single digits – and that's old news.

The poll does us the favor of including the mainstream media: It tells us only 7 percent or so have "confidence" in the media. In the 1970s, 25 percent expressed confidence.

The lack of faith evinced by US citizens is absolutely startling. If one works in the US government or believes in US government policies, one must be aware that only about one in ten US citizens has any faith in government outcomes. That's 10 percent.

US institutions are failing. There are no real bright spots. People have stopped believing in the larger narrative. American exceptionalism in the eyes of those who are supposed to believe in it is dead.

People apparently have more faith in the US military than in the rest of the sociopolitical scene. Unfortunately, this is often what happens when countries verge on becoming "banana republics." People begin to respect the military model more than the civil one. Any society with such shaky underpinnings is surely ripe for major economic and socio-political change.

After Thoughts

Such change may be incremental or it may be violent and sudden. But it will surely come.

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