Most Americans don’t trust the federal government

White House

This is growing distrust of the federal government.  Take a look at the 2016 presidential campaigns and you can definitely feel the lack of faith in the entire system.  The incredible rise and success of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders has shown how much people want a president that is not part of one of the traditional two political parties.

President Barack Obama presided over the most tepid economic recovery since The Great Depression.  His policies have slowed our economic growth, strengthened our enemies and weakened our allies.  He’s transformed America from a leader to a country that leads from behind.

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Obama policies are only part of the problem.  His rhetoric has caused the entire country to distrust everyone.  In Obama’s world, there are victims and there are cheaters.  Everyone has a grievance and has been wronged by someone else.  Minorities and the poor have been exploited by the white people and the rich.  Banks and other companies are only wealthy because of government policies and tax evasion.  No one earns anything and people didn’t build their own businesses.  These are all beliefs that have been promoted and perpetuated under Obama.

Given this backdrop, it comes as no surprise that recent polls show that the majority of US citizens are not happy with their government.

Lack of trust

Per Gallup poll results released in 2015, a whopping 75 percent of Americans in 2014 believed that the federal government was corrupt.  This was up from 66 percent who felt likewise just five years prior during 2009.  It should be noted that mere bureaucratic incompetence was not listed as the biggest fear of most respondents during either year.  Instead, the vast majority of the people polled cited deliberate corruption at their greatest concern.

It’s clear from the poll results that most people do not have much faith in the government.  The real question is why do people feel that way?  One possible factor is the anemic rate of the economic recovery.

According to official U.S. Census Bureau statistics, aggregate business startup and shutdown volumes crossed paths for the first time in 2008.  In other words, more businesses closed up shop than started for the first time.  Annual economic growth since the 2008 recession averaged just 2 percent under Obama, compared to the 4.5 percent average annual GDP growth under Reagan after the recession in the 1980s.

These statistics are not surprising given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that full-time adult employment rates have stagnated across the United States at record lows from 2010-2016.  This also helps explain why there is a rapidly shrinking middle class that are squeezed between steadily declining real income and rising taxes and inflation.

Anger and fear

A 2015 CNN poll found that most Americans harbor bitter feelings over the way elected representatives have been running the country.  Approximately 75 percent of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the way the government was being run and 69 percent were somewhat angry.  This finding leads one to deduce that huge turnout is not in doubt for the presidential election because anger is one of the most effective ways to motivate people to vote.

Consistent with tradition, Chapman University released the results of their American Fears Survey right before Halloween in October of 2015.  Based on survey questionnaire responses, the list purports to depict the relative priority of U.S. citizens’ biggest fears.

Though quite hard to fathom, the sight of blood and gore failed to score nearly as much fear as federal government corruption.  In fact, that issue reportedly caused the most fright for a majority of respondents.  Close runners up were cyber-terrorism, covert corporate tracking of personal data, terrorist attacks and governmental tracking of private information.

Reap what you sow

Obama accomplished many things during his tenure as president.  You can definitely add growing the distrust that citizens have in the government to that list.  Without a doubt, Obama has proven to be a divisive and polarizing president that has increased the anger and fear that citizens have of their government.