12-19-13 – Americans believe Big Government is America’s greatest threat

by Shayne Spence

A recent poll by Gallup revealed that a startling high percentage of respondents, 72%, listed Big Government as the greatest threat to America’s future, over Big Business and Big Labor.  This is up from 64% in 2011, and shatters the previous record of 65% from 1999.  Naturally, among those who identify as Republicans, a whopping 92% said Big Government is the biggest threat, given their sharp opposition to the rapid expansion of the size and scope of government under President Obama.  But interestingly, 71% of independents and even 56% of those who identify as Democrats agreed.  This shows that Americans of all persuasions are revolting against the policies of the current administration, in large numbers.  It also shows that the climate is perfect for the implementation of some commonsense measures aimed at scaling back the role of the State and returning power to the people.

Republican and conservative opposition to Big Government is currently being driven by the failed rollout of the health care exchanges mandated by Obamacare.  People who identify as Republicans have had the highest distrust of government since 1981, so their high percentage is not surprising.  But a majority of Democrats going against the President’s policies during a Democratic administration has never happened before in the nearly 50-year history of this poll.  This coupled with a 71% consensus among independents could have significant impact during the 2014 elections.  Doubts about the poorly implemented Affordable Care Act and revelations about NSA spying activities have driven independents away from the President in droves, especially among young people.

This poll reveals a deeper truth; America is at its most libertarian in at least the last 50 years.  All of the recent encroachments on our economic and civil liberties have people on the right and left reeling.  Young people don’t appreciate the violations of our First and Fourth Amendment rights, of which it seems there is a new horror story every day.  Our parents and grandparents are worried that the redistributive policies being pushed will destroy an already fragile economy, and leave the next generations picking up the pieces.  And people everywhere are worried; worried that theirs may be the next house raided, that taxes will increase and deny them that one extra week of groceries, or that theirs and their family’s healthcare futures may not be up to them anymore.

Unless we want to see 1984 in our lifetime, we need to stand up now and call for a fundamental shift in the direction of our nation.  No longer do we trust the command-and-control model that has been in vogue for a century, since the dawn of the Progressive Era.  It is time to give people the power to make decisions in their life, and return government to the size it belongs.

Shayne Spence is the Outreach and Development Coordinator for the Ethan Allen Institute.

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
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