Whatever Congress and President Barack Obama had in mind at the start of the President’s second term, it likely wasn’t this: A December Gallup poll reveals more Americans identify the government — not the economy, immigration, healthcare or the wealth gap, but the government itself — as the single biggest source of the Nation’s problems.
Gallup asked people a simple, open-ended question: “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?” Twenty-one percent of people indicated they were more dissatisfied with the government than with any other problem on a National scale.
That was the largest single group response, followed by the general economy (19 percent), healthcare (17 percent), unemployment (12 percent), the Federal deficit (9 percent), moral decline (7 percent), poverty (5 percent) and a slew of other 3 percent and 2 percent categories (immigration, war, a loss of civility, the court system).
The year began at a particularly polarizing time for this kind of poll, as a polarizing President fresh off a polarizing re-election victory was inaugurated into a second term in office. Yet an earlier iteration of the same Gallup poll reflected Americans’ disgust with government hadn’t yet overtaken other concerns when January started.
The general economy was the chief fretting point for people back in January, followed by the Federal deficit. Dissatisfaction with government started the year in third place and hummed along there for most of the year (with a momentary blip into second place as sequestration spending “cuts” began in March) — until the government pseudo-shutdown and the launch of Obamacare combined to launch public disgust into the stratosphere. The Oct. 1 Gallup poll showed 33 percent of respondents thought the government was the Nation’s biggest problem — far more than the 19 percent who still eyed the economy as the biggest fear.
Such a rapid and dramatic collapse in public trust isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for Obama’s campaign to shelter everyone under the umbrella of government, nor is it a pat on the back to Congress, which generated an incredible amount of news for a 11-month span in which it accomplished almost nothing (other than revolutionizing Senate procedure on Obama’s behalf).
“[T]he trend,” commented Breitbart’s Frances Martel Monday, “seems to be that Americans become increasingly worried about problems when the government announces it will try to fix them — and are they truly so wrong to think, to paraphrase a great Republican, that government might not be the solution, but the problem itself?”