Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Big Government Scares More Americans

Gallup just released a poll asking Americans who they fear most: big government, big business or big labor. Government terrifies more Americans than the other two combined, by a two-to-one margin.

Sorry, Occupy Wall Street but fear of big business has been declining, not increasing. Sorry, conservatives, its not the unions that scare people but government.

Now, I should note that the main threat that unions and big business pose to Americans is that they have access to big government. Each of the other two "threats" gain their powers primarily because of their access to political power. And big labor, these days, is heavily about government. The unions don't represent most workers anymore, except when it comes to government workers. Unions are now cartels for bureaucrats. The New York Times wrote: "For the first time in American history, a majority of union members are government workers rather than private-sector employees." In fact, there were 500,000 more unionized government employees that unionized private employees.

Considering that the unions used to represent the taxpaying workers of the country, it is interesting to see they now primarily represent the tax consuming bureaucrats of the country. Without big government union memberships would be half what they are. Today, union officials are heavily reliant on the people who want to tax working people even more to sustain the programs that most people don't want.

And this just isn't libertarians concerned about big government. More Democrats now say they fear big government than fear big business. Gallup says that the numbers of Democrats concerned about big government was high during the Bush years and dropped after Obama took office but has been increasing. In other words, Democrats who lost their fear of government after Bush was out of office, have regained that fear with Obama in power. After Obama took office only 32% of Democrats said they were more worried about big government. After three years of Obama that number has risen to 48%. This means that the numbers of Democrats concerned about overreaching government has increased by 50% while a Democrat has been in office. And it doesn't have far to go, just 8 points, until it reaches the levels of concern under George Bush.

Among key independent voters more of them are concerning about Obama's big government than were actually afraid of it under Bush. In 2006, 60% of independents said they worried about big government more. It declines slightly by 2009, to 59%, but has since risen to 64%

The reality is, that most Americans are not in tune with Obama's attempts to centralize power in Washington. Yet, he does well in head to head polls against Republican contenders. The reason for that is simple—people don't like the Republicans either.

The Republicans who have staked their future on moralistic platitudes, religion and gay hating (Bachmann, Santorum and Perry) are doing poorly in the polls. The candidates who are doing better have emphasized other issues, even if they share the small-minded prejudices that now run the Republican Party.

What neither the Republicans, nor the Democrats, get is that voters don't like either one of them. The landslide for Obama wasn't the public embracing his elitist views about centralized power, preferably in himself. It was a vote against two terms of Bush. And, when November comes around, and asshole Republicans are swept into office, it won't be voters suddenly embracing the Republican's theocratic tendencies. It will be disgust at the first term of Obama rule.

The number of voters who identify as Republican or Democrat are diminishing. More and more are saying they are independent. And this voting group shows mushy libertarian sentiments that neither party represents. The one candidate who comes closest to that sentiment is Gov. Gary Johnson, but the Republicans and the media have worked together to make sure Johnson is excluded from the debates. Even when he's qualified the rules were changed in order to disqualify him again. Big government Republicans (which is most of them in Washington), and big government Democrats (ditto) are allies not enemies and they will close ranks on the likes of Johnson precisely because his values do resonate with a large percentage of voters, especially the growing body of independents.

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