Why Everything About Politics Sucks, in 1 Chart
New polling released this week by the Pew Research Center reports that large numbers of Americans both distrust their government and theoretically want to empower their government to do more, believing that the proper role of government is to protect people from themselves.
“Just 20% say they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time,” reports Pew, noting that this finding has held steady over time, “chang[ing] very little since former President George W. Bush’s second term in office.” Only 8 percent of survey respondents describe the federal government as “responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans.”
“Just 6% say the phrase ‘careful with taxpayer money’ describes the federal government extremely or very well; another 21% say this describes the government somewhat well,” notes Pew, which conducted these polls at the end of April.
People broadly say the government responds well to natural disasters (70 percent of respondents support this statement) and keeps the country safe from terrorists (supported by 68 percent of respondents); the government gets bad marks, however, on both setting immigration policy and alleviating poverty, with three-quarters of respondents responding unfavorably to the federal government’s current efforts in those categories.
You might think such fiscal profligacy and broad-based incompetence would scare people off from wanting the government to do more.
You would be mistaken: Americans’ views on a variety of political issues are frequently paradoxical, which would be funny if it weren’t so disturbing.
A staggering 59 percent of survey respondents from both parties say it is the government’s job “to protect pe
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