Gallup: Americans Down on Government, Again

By at 24 October, 2019, 11:15 am



by Raymond J. Keating-

To say that government plays too big of a part in daily life would be to grossly understate reality.

Gallup just reported that “a near-record-high 34% of Americans cite the government, poor leadership or politicians as the most important problem currently facing the U.S.”

Indeed, Gallup notes that in terms of responses to the open-ended question about “the most important problem facing this country today,” the top answer has been pretty consistent for the last near-three years: “‘Government,’ which includes negative comments about leadership and politicians, has been the top problem in 31 of Gallup’s 34 readings since January 2017.”

Both Democrats and Republicans agree:

“The current 34% of the public citing the government includes 41% of Democrats, 36% of Republicans and 27% of independents. The Democratic and Republican figures have each jumped 13 points since September, with the reading among independents rising eight points.”

However, Republicans and Democrats differ markedly as to what their upset with when it comes to government – with both sides falling back on partisan, political matters, such as impeachment.

Without dismissing certain claims relating to politics, the real problem with government that warrants being noted as the most important problem facing the U.S. is its sheer size and intrusiveness. Whether it be taxes, regulations, tariffs, government spending, subsidies, rent seeking and/or more, government has moved far beyond its foundational duties of safeguarding our rights and liberties, and protecting life, limb and property.

And make no mistake, government works best when it stays limited to these foundational duties, and in turn, citizens, businesses and our economy are free to thrive. After all, more government means reducing freedoms and crowding out the private sector.

But work is required, including education, when it comes to the size and effects of government. After all, there is a significant portion of the American electorate who looks to government to solve their problems, and/or to inflict harm on or place restrictions on others, such as via regulation or mandates.

Refreshing citizens about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Economics 101 would lead to an even higher percentage of Americans citing government and politics as the nation’s biggest problem, and those views would be undergirded by more than the mere political headlines and whims of the day.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


News and Media Releases