Most Americans Like Government; They just don’t Like Who Runs It

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Americans’ frustrations with government are largely a result of who’s in charge, and not with the system itself.


According to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 55% of Americans believe Congress works fine—it’s the lawmakers that are the problem. The same study found that only 32% say members of Congress have good intentions, and that the legislative body is at fault.


Michael Dimock, who authored the study, said many government operations “are viewed no more negatively today than in the past, and state and local governments, which have been the ones to hand out the bulk of the pain in recent years of budget tightening, remain in good standing with the public.”


Americans aren’t as interested, as some politicians would like to believe, in downsizing the federal government across the board. When asked in 2011 about whether they would increase, decrease, or maintain spending levels, respondents strongly favored upping the budgets for education and veterans, and, to a lesser extent, for social security, Medicare, health care and combating crime.


Where Americans most want to cut funding is foreign aid. Financing of military defense and unemployment aid should remain the same, according to respondents.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Americans Are Fed Up With Politics, Not Government, Says Study (by Michael Dimock, Government Executive)

How Much Government Do People Want? (by Michael Dimock, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press) (pdf)


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