Thank you, Republicans, for achieving your long sought goal of trashing government. The product of a revolution declared 239 years ago, when American patriots threw off the shackles of a monarchy for government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” the centerpiece of the greatest democracy in the world, is now held in such low regard by so many.
America was at its best when its government was at its best. Those days were last seen when the nation pulled together in the 1930s to climb out of the worst economic disaster in its history. Then again in the 1940s when everyone participated in a national war effort to defeat Nazi Germany and Japan. And again during the two decades that followed, when the middle-class was expanding, union membership and income tax rates were both high, as returning soldiers were helped to a college education and their children could be expected to have better, happier and more prosperous lives.
But as Republicans send crazy letters to foreign countries, oppose a sitting president at ever turn, rail against popular and effective social safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and prefer spending trillions on war instead of peace, it’s clear those days are long gone now, according to survey results from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago.
The 2014 General Social Survey finds only 23 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, 11 percent in the executive branch and 5 percent in Congress. By contrast, half have a great deal of confidence in the military, the report said.
Biggest Loser? You!
DROP IN SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENCY DRIVEN BY REPUBLICANS
The 11 percent who say they’re confident in the presidency approaches a record low measured by the same survey in 1996, when just 10 percent said they had a great deal of confidence in the executive branch. The 44 percent who now say they have hardly any confidence at all is at a record high. Just 1 in 10 independents expressed a lot of confidence in the presidency in 2014.
SUPREME COURT CONFIDENCE FALLING ACROSS PARTY LINES
The 2014 survey finds that confidence in the Supreme Court has fallen among Democrats, Republicans and independents since 2012, driving confidence in the court to a 40-year low overall. The 26 percent of Democrats with a lot of confidence in the court is a record low in the history of the survey, while Republican confidence in the high court, at 22 percent, is also near an all-time low. Independents are the least likely to have a great deal of confidence in the court, at 20 percent. Overall, 2 in 10 say they have hardly any confidence in the court, a record high, while more than half have only some confidence.
NOBODY LIKES CONGRESS
If there’s one issue than unites Americans, it’s that hardly anyone has much confidence in Congress, the survey shows. Over half of Americans express hardly any confidence at all, while only 7 percent of Democrats, 5 percent of independents and 3 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in Congress. Younger Americans — those under 35 — are a bit more likely than older ones to express confidence in Congress, but even among that group only 10 percent say they have a lot of confidence in the legislative branch.
POOR MARKS FOR MEDIA, TOO
Confidence has decreased since the 1970s, when about a quarter of Americans expressed a great deal of confidence in the press. Now, a record low of 7 percent have a lot of confidence, while 44 percent have hardly any confidence at all. Republicans are the least likely to express a lot of confidence in the press, at only 3 percent, but Democrats aren’t far behind at 10 percent. Only 1 in 10 has a lot of confidence in television, which is also near a record low.
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS REBOUND BUT STILL LOW
Americans’ confidence in banks and financial institutions reached an all-time low of 11 percent in 2010, but has rebounded slightly since then, with 15 percent now expressing a great deal of confidence. That’s still far from the survey’s all-time high of 42 percent in 1977. Just 18 percent have a great deal of confidence in major companies, up a bit from 13 percent who said so in 2010 but down from 31 percent who said so in 1984. Only 1 in 10 Americans has a lot of confidence in organized labor.
The General Social Survey is administered by NORC at the University of Chicago, with financing from the National Science Foundation, primarily using in-person interviewing. The GSS started in 1972 and completed its 30th round in 2014.
So thank you Republicans, and media that thinks all positions no matter how wrong they are are still equal distance from the truth, for doing your best over a period of forever to make our government, at all levels, appear to be the enemy. At the same time, though, you fight tooth and nail to be part of it, elected to it, not because you like it but because taxpayers pay your salaries, health costs and pensions, and because you’ve rigged the system in your favor.