Congressional Approval

Government is the Country's Biggest Problem, Say Americans


Independence Day

Government (and the creatures who infest its rotten carcass) was the most important problem facing the United States in 2014, Americans tell Gallup pollsters. That's up from being the second most serious problem in 2013, and the third-ranker in 2012.

Who says the American political system is stuck? This is progress!

The news that Americans are un-fond of government, Congress, the president, and politicians in general comes from an average of monthly survey results throughout the year. Given officialdom's litany of stupid government tricks, the elevation of America's own flavor of Leviathan to public enemy numero uno may seem like nothing more than good common sense to many observers. Perhaps an expression of collective survival instinct. Or, at least, mass revulsion.

True, government just barely edged out general economic concerns and worries over jobs and unemployment for top ranking. But still, it's impressive when the institution whose adherents bill it as the cure for life's ills wins top billing as a major disease itself.


Gallup's findings hardly come out of the blue. Pew finds public trust in the government, at 24 percent, is near historic lows.

A plurality of those surveyed (42 percent) tell Reason-Rupe pollsters that President Obama has expanded the power of the government too much. Majorities among younger Americans say that government is wasteful and government agencies abuse their power.

Americans have felt less free year by year since 2006, and there's a evidence to back up their perceptions of eroding liberty. That includes slippage in rankings of economic freedom and a plummet in the ratings of press freedom.

Distrust of government has become so pervasive that the Census Bureau thinks the only way to get cooperation from the seething masses is with threats. Probably because that always evokes warm and fuzzy feelings.

The good news for politicians, not that they deserve any, is that there's enormous room here for growth, and little downside. Frankly, it would be hard for them to disappoint a public that holds them in such low regard.

NEXT: David Harsanyi: Thank Gridlock for Economic Turnaround

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  1. Frankly, it would be hard for them to disappoint a public that holds them in such low regard.

    I’m sure they’ll think of something.

    1. Stricter enforcement of Prohibition. We DO have a Republican Congress coming in after all.

      1. If you’ll remember, Prohibition was a Progressive Policy.

  2. “Frankly, it would be hard for them to disappoint a public that holds them in such low regard.”

    I just can’t shake the picture in my mind of Hairy Read and Mitch McConnell saying in unison. “Challenge accepted”.

  3. Especially when the checks are late.

  4. And what portion of those respondents believe the fault lies with a “Do Nothing Congress”?

  5. So the economy has dropped from 40% to 17% as the top concern for Americans and you Peanuts say we are still in the shitter?

    2007-09 was awful. Thank the Fed and Obama you peanuts.

    1. How does employment look?

    2. I DO thank the Lord Gubment for a fuckin’ good year actually. They’ve steampunked the shit out of the hedges and rates and this means good people in the exurbs like me can build additions to store all the crap I’m buyin’.

    3. You don’t get relative numbers, do you? The results could mean that, although the economy is bad (which it is), the government is much worse.

  6. Thank the Fed and Obama

    Glug, glug, glug.

  7. And healthcare keeps falling down the list. So much for the ACA “disaster”.

    1. I thing G’ment rolls all the others into one.

    2. And when the penaltax kicks in next year, and a bunch of subsidies end after the 2016 elections, and prices rise even more, everyone will like it even better!

    3. do you ever get sick of being a puppet, id get pretty pissed with someone elses hand planted squarely up my ass working my jaw telling me what i think and what i believe.
      or do you just like it better that way?

  8. Sadly, this article prompted me to recall an essay I wrote in my firebreathing days, where I compared the grievances in the Declaration of Independence to what we experience under the U.S. Constitution: No Secession, No Legitimacy!

    People can pound the table and say “Union now? union tomorrow ? union forever?” as much as they like ? it won’t alter the fact that the United States Government is not a permanent institution. It has become an organization that is destroying vast quantities of wealth with no comprehension that is should limit its activities. Inevitably it will fail to deliver that which it has promised and take too much from the people it is disappointing. At that point people will turn against it, and the cry of rebellion will be in the air. I pray then that the rebellion will be the peaceful partitioning as occurred when Czechoslovakia broke apart, rather than the destruction of the War Between the States. An amicable divorce is far preferable to one where the man burns the house down and crashes the car rather than allowing his wife to get it.

  9. Well, now that the public’s perception of government is approaching mine, I guess I could call myself an optimist.

    1. A member of the Avant Garde!

    2. No! The silent majority. 😉

  10. Not sure how the top 4 aren’t all the result of government?

  11. Let’s see: Government has fucked up the economy, government has increased unemployment, and government has fucked up the healthcare market. So government is the country’s 4 biggest problems.

  12. I loathe the visceral shit laden storm of American bureaucracies like any good libertarian. And I do propose that libertarian political philosophy is the best way to manage, plan, and cajole without tyranny and violent imposition.

    Way better than the Gilmore-loving Christians and Palin-butt-plugging Almost Marxists. However, Libertarians are so fucking fiercely independent that a very large country could fragment and be open to either regression to the original mean (which requires control backed with violence) or the awkward splintering into political disassociation (shunning and state rage quits).


    1. Panarchism
      allow people to choose to freely associate with whichever voluntary system works best for them, if i dont like your policies, ill move to the next state over and join their economy.
      the problem in america is there isnt enough diversity between states to offer a meaningful change in level of freedom unless you live in a statist hell hole like CA or NY for some fucking reason. (i live in NY, dunno why i ever moved back to it)

      1. (i live in NY, dunno why i ever moved back to it)

        Because economics makes cowards out of all of us.

        I continue to live in CA. I can relate!

  13. Problem is that most Americans don’t agree on in what ways exactly government is the problem.

    1. the fact that it relies on the most benevolent of us to be in charge and only attracts the most vile

  14. Lets hittem up JD I mean like wow.

    1. Don’t be gettin all playa up in here now, 32.

  15. Up to I saw the paycheck which had said $7546 , I did not believe that…my… best friend was like realie bringing home money parttime from their laptop. . there sisters neighbour haz done this less than 14 months and recently repayed the morgage on their condo and got Alfa Romeo .
    Learn More Here ~~~~~~

  16. Americans are so concerned about the growth of government only 90% of incumbents are reelected. LOL

    1. Is it actually that low?

  17. I’m not sure this is as good as it seems. It doesn’t say why people think government is the problem.

    As one comment already pointed out, the re-election rate for incumbents still remains very high. Add to that the most common complaint I hear about government is “…they can’t get anything done”, along with general complaints about gridlock, it could be a lot of people that feel government is the problem feel that way for exact opposite reasons than many of us do.

  18. If we wanted stuff “done” we’d elect a dictator…….oh, wait.

    1. Correction: Benevolent dictator.

      There has to be one out there somewhere.

  19. Just about every week this government does soemthing that makes me detest them even more. It could be some absurd regulation or legislation or a nonsensical court decision that put the judge in prison for life.

    1. You think that’s bad? You ought to try working in government as I do. In California no less!

      Even mentioning anything resembling increasing efficiency or controlling costs – I spent 20 years in the private sector before entering government – meets with such disdain that one wonders if they can retain their job.

      I spend more time staring out the window wondering if things can get any worse, than I do actually being productive at my desk.

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