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American fears and trust issues

By Jim Killebrew

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[December 23, 2013]  The Gallup poll that was conducted during the week of Dec. 16 asked the question, "Which of the following is the biggest threat to the country in the future?" The choices the poll gave for people to respond were: Big Government, Big Business or Big Labor. The poll was sent to 1,031 adults across the nation and resulted in the following information with a margin of error set at plus or minus 4 percent:

  • Big Government: 72 percent

  • Big Business: 21 percent

  • Big Labor: 5 percent

It is interesting that people are looking into the future and wondering what they should fear the most. With our economy continuing to be sluggish after a full recession in 2009, one would think Big Business would have the lion's share of blame for the ensuing fear. But the poll reported Big Government is the demon we should fear the most; a whopping 72 percent of the people saying they fear the Big Government to interfere with their lives and exert the control over their affairs.

This flies in the face of the liberal, Democrat mantra that says repeatedly our country should continue to build government to a size and strength to "provide" the necessary needs that people have.

Providing necessary needs might be a positive thing, but what about those laws and regulations and expenditures we don't need? With this information and finding, it would appear that the fear of Big Government is not just a partisan issue.

If the poll conducted by the Gallup organization was sufficiently, statistically randomized and stratified, it means the results were bipartisan, with representation from all parties responding. If that was the case, these results can be generalized from the sample group to the larger population from which the sample was drawn.

What does it say to the average American that the thing we must fear the most in our country in the future is the largeness of our government? Perhaps we are experiencing what happens when government grows so large as to gain so much influence in the personal lives of each of its citizens. When government decides we must have the insurance policies the government thinks we need, the resulting efforts are millions of insured people losing their policies since what they had didn't meet the government's standards. Of course, it also means government forcing those people to pay more for the new policies, with both premiums and deductibles. But not to worry; the government is always here to help.

With that single example, we have also witnessed the rise of a power vacuum of sorts. Isn't it interesting how often the components of the new Obamacare insurance system can change with each new disaster that comes to light? Although it is a law, has been for three years, the president unilaterally changes the requirements of the law at his personal whim, without the benefit of legislative action. He decides who can be exempted; he decides what requirements can be postponed; he decides what components will change to give breaks to those groups and individuals who are his favorites and have supported him; he decides who has to pay the fine for not enrolling and who will not; he decides the basis on what merits need to be enforced from the Constitution. All of these decisions made unilaterally by the president represent an end run around the Congress, which makes the laws.

Perhaps the fear is coming because the people are seeing the Constitution being eroded before their very eyes.

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Coupled with the fear of Big Government and the president's decisions to cherry-pick the laws he wants to enforce or change is the loss of trustworthiness of the president. A Fox poll taken Dec. 14-16 revealed the slippage of the president's trustworthiness.

The question asked 1,027 registered voters across the nation was, "Is Barack Obama honest and trustworthy?" With a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, those responding gave the following opinions:

In this poll, 45 percent said "yes" the president is trustworthy. Compared with a poll in June with the same question, 48 percent had responded "yes." The highest approval response was recorded in April 2009, when the respondents answered "yes" at 73 percent.

The trend for the answer "no" to that question took the opposite direction. The trend over the same period was ascending, with 49 percent responding they didn't think the president was trustworthy currently; 48 percent didn't think the president was trustworthy when they were asked in June; and only 22 percent thought he was not trustworthy when asked in April 2009. This represents a significant downfall of trustworthiness for the president.

Over the past few weeks, with the issues of Obamacare, the dishonesty of the administration, with several top-level leaders, including the president, claiming Americans could keep their policies and doctors, as well as pay less for their insurance, when they all knew it was not the truth, has taken its toll on the people's perception of trustworthiness.

I wonder if two major influences have been the most damaging to the president's standing. Of course, those two are Obamacare and the National Security Agency spying on the American citizens. This is especially true since the NSA review released last week revealed that spying on American citizens was not really necessary to prevent terrorist groups from carrying out their plans to kill Americans. It was not clear after that information was shared as to the future intentions of the administration's plans for the NSA to stop or not, even in light of a federal judge ruling the practice unconstitutional.

It seems fear of Big Government and the lack of trust of the president have reached levels of disapproval that have not been seen since the Nixon administration. Is it any wonder the Democrats who are up for re-election in 2014 are scrambling to distance themselves from the administration and its crowning achievements?


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