Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

May 13, 2013

That many?

Poll: Just one in four trusts federal government

Only about one in every four people trust the federal government, according to a recent Pew Research survey.

We’re surprised that number isn’t close to zero.

The two most recent political antics playing out in Washington involve the Internal Revenue Service and the State Department.

The nature of both leads us to wonder: Where were the grownups when all this was going on? Where are they now?

The IRS has acknowledged that two “low-level” employees targeted conservative groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. Among groups on the radar screen were those with “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” or 9/12 Project” in their names.

The other issue involves the events surrounding the deaths of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans during what appears to be a well-planned and coordinated attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi last Sept. 11.

Politically-charged hearings are being held in Washington to determine whether there were problems at the State Department under the leadership of former Secretary Hillary Clinton. Information released to the public about the attack was redacted in what some believe was an attempt to play down the entire incident.

Not surprisingly, allegations of “finger-pointing” are being made.

Both issues surfaced just weeks after the pew Research survey that showed 28 percent of the public views the federal government favorably, down five points from a year ago. The 28 percent is also the lowest percentage ever in a Pew survey on the topic of government trust.

The Washington Post, reporting on the Pew results, said that even among Democrats, who tend to show more support for government, the numbers have dipped.

Fewer than half of Democrats — 41 percent —said they hold a favorable opinion of the federal government, representing a 10-point drop from the previous year.

Party affiliation aside, Americans are disgusted with the shenanigans in Washington.

The public’s trust will continue to slide until fundamental changes take place in the political culture inside Washington’s beltway.

Don’t hold your breath, waiting for that to happen.

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