Knowing as we all do the caliber of most of those individuals currently under the employ of our federal government, as well as our state and local governments, do we really need a poll pointing out our government’s less than stellar problem solving abilities?  Personally, I would argue that we most certainly do not.  But, be that as it may, there was apparently someone, in their infinite wisdom, who thought that just such a poll was indeed needed.  And as most of us likely expected, as the first voting nears in this the 2016 presidential contest, it seems that most Americans have little or no confidence in the federal government’s ability to confront what they see as being the country’s most important priorities.

So it was then than this past December ‘The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research’ conducted such a poll in an effort to essentially confirm that which the vast majority of Americans were already convinced of.  And what the poll found out was that more than 6 in 10 respondents expressed only slight confidence — or none at all — that the federal government can make any amount of progress when it comes to any of the more problems facing the nation in 2016. Terrorism edged health care as the issue most often mentioned — each by about one-third of those questioned — when people were asked to volunteer the issues they believe Washington should address this election year.

The polling would at least seem to suggest an electorate that is more focused on the economy and domestic affairs than on foreign policy. Two-thirds of respondents included an economic issue on their priority list, and about 4 in 5 named a domestic policy other than the economy.  In addition to those who mentioned terrorism, nearly half added another foreign policy matter, and immigration was the next most frequent topic raised.  And perhaps most vexing for the dozen or so candidates vying to succeed Barry “Almighty”, the poll indicates widespread skepticism about the government’s ability to solve problems, with no significant difference in the outlook between Republicans and Democrats.

There were those who took part in this poll that were of the opinion that members of Congress are essentially unable to pass anything of importance, or that isn’t grossly self-serving, and were therefore not at all confident about seeing any solutions coming about in 2016.  And there were some who while they admitted to possessing some level of confidence in our government’s problem solving ability, bemoaned a system of lobbyists paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to get Congress to do what they want instead of what the people want.  And some described the executive branch as a bureaucratic behemoth and the legislative branch as an endlessly partisan wrangle saying that’s why government can’t get anything done.

Along with terrorism and health care, respondents were most likely to cite immigration, education and unemployment as priorities.  Democrats and Republicans were about equally likely to mention unemployment, though there was a racial disparity, with more blacks mentioning the issue than whites.  Also, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to cite terrorism as a priority, and Immigration was mentioned by twice as many Republicans as Democrats.  One-fifth of Republicans mentioned the federal budget deficit, compared with less than a one-tenth of Democrats.  Democrats were more likely to consider guns as public policy priority, along with education, crime, racial problems, the environment and climate change.

Many of those breakdowns reflect the separate debates now playing out in the presidential race.  The GOP field, led by rather vocal candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, characterizes Barry “Almighty” as being an irresponsible, profligate manager of taxpayer resources, and unable to ensure national security and protect U.S. interests amid international threats and strife. The leading Democrat candidates, Hitlery Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, are focused more directly on economic matters, both framing themselves as supposed defenders of the middle class.  Sanders rails against the disproportionate economic and political power of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.

While the candidates may work to reflect the priorities of their respective bases, many if the respondents taking part this poll said they really haven’t heard much of anything that improves their outlook when it comes to those things of most concern to them actually being addressed.  And there was some level of agreement in that Trump or Sanders would offer what was described as being “the most radical change” from the status quo, but there were many who didn’t particularly like what either of these men has been saying.  And many admitted, exhibiting some level of frustration, that it was extremely likely that 95 percent of Congress will get re-elected anyway.  An assessment that is very likely to prove pretty accurate.


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Along with our entering this presidential election year there comes a recent Gallup poll that makes it very obvious how it is the most Americans feel toward their government.  You see, it’s this poll that reveals how a majority of Americans, 69 percent of us in fact, think that big government is now “the biggest threat to the country in the future.”  Those taking part in the poll were asked to choose among big government, big labor and big business, that Americans overwhelmingly named big government as being the biggest threat to the country in the future.

And I am quite sure that it comes as no surprise to find out how it was that things broke down by party affiliation.  According to Gallup almost nine in 10 Republicans (88%) said big government is the biggest threat to the future of the country.  Meanwhile, it was 53% of Democrats and 67% of independents who said the same.  While I’m not surprised that 88 percent of Republicans feel this way, I have to say that I’m a little shocked that 53 percent of Democrats actually feel that way and mildly surprised that 67 percent of Independents also feel that way.

And I think it safe to say that this poll makes it pretty clear why it is that those Republican candidates often considered as being part of the ‘GOP Establishment”, aka the RINOs, are doing so poorly in our current presidential contest.  After all, when a substantial percentage of voters view certain candidates as having, for a good part of their political career, extolled the virtues conservatism while at the same time working very hard to undermine or circumvent the tenets of said conservatism at every opportunity, they tend to be reluctant to support those candidates.

I think we can all pretty much agree that we’ve now gotten to the point in this country where ‘government’, at least as it is currently comprised, actually feels that it has the right, even the duty, to grow and to provide all manner of ‘benefits’ to those whom it deems as having been treated ‘unfairly’.  Our supposed ‘leaders’, on both sides of the aisle, have become so out of touch with the people that we have become barely more than an afterthought as we are forced to cover the ever-increasing cost of their rapidly ballooning largesse in their effort to buy votes.

Instead it’s the professional lobbyists who, day in and day out, have the ear of the incumbents and the newly elected that the incumbents lord over.  The only time we ever hear from any of our ‘elected leaders’ is around election time when they are out doing their best to blow smoke up our collective ass.  And sadly, you would think that by now such a tactic would no longer work so well, but between the politicians getting much more skillful at lying so convincingly and the public being even more gullible or, dare I say, more ignorant, the ploy continues works rather well.

And I don’t suppose that there is cause for much surprise in the results of this poll.  After all, let’s not forget that it was Ronald Reagan who said over 35 years ago that, “GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION”.  But corrupt, unaccountable government at the local, state, and especially the federal level, continues to demand more for itself in the form of salary and benefits while providing less and less in the form of actual services.  There was a recent article at American Thinker, about this very issue. The article is titled “When the Takers Make More than the Makers”.

What needs to take place, and it would be nice if we could begin the process by putting a Republican in the White House, is for there to a be a significant reduction in the size of our government, back at least to where things were when Ronald Reagan first came into office back in 1980.  But to have any hope of being able to succeed in such an endeavor would require the very active participation of individuals from all across the political spectrum, not just the 88 percent of Republicans who say that it’s government that threatens the future.  But I fear not enough people are interested.

As it is, we are now rapidly approaching what can safely be referred to as being that point of no return, which we may have already crossed moved well beyond.  That point where all hope of ever being able to rein in our government is simply lost forever.  The time has come for ‘We the People’ to reassert ourselves, not as Republican or Democrats, but as Americans. To make clear to those whom we have put into power that they are only there because we have consented to put them there.  To remind them that they work for us, it’s not the other way around.