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A REMARKABLE poll released July 5 by Monmouth University reveals that 57% of Americans think that the federal government’s actions over the past six months have directly and severely harmed their families. Monmouth University lists the top 22 priorities of American citizens in that survey, and the truth is that the spectacle of the January 6 Congressional Committee hearings, climate change, and the new “green” economy is nowhere to be found on the list. Americans’ top four concerns are directly related to inflation and economic uncertainty.
The overwhelming majority of Americans want the administration to confront the reality of inflation caused by a flood of government spending and cheap credit, which the White House first denied, then dismissed, and now attributes to the “greed” of entrepreneurs.
The administration is unwilling to do so, and its party, with a majority in Congress, is more than willing to tie the Fed’s hands for ideological reasons that most Americans reject. The Democrat-majority House of Representatives recently passed an absurd “Federal Reserve Racial and Economic Equity Act” that forces the Fed to privilege the goals of woke socialism over price stability and economic growth.
Other polls tell us that 78% of American voters believe the United States is “on the wrong track.” And the number of those who think so has risen 27 points since Joe Biden has been in the White House. Americans’ distrust of the Biden administration is morphing into doubt of the country’s institutionally as 40% already think the U.S. government is “not strong at all.”
A recent Gallup poll reveals a precipitous drop in Americans’ confidence in 16 of the republic’s most important institutions. Americans’ trust in the press, the criminal justice system, major American corporations, the police, and all three branches of the federal government has dropped to historic lows. Gallup’s results today give us the lowest levels of institutional trust seen over the decades the pollster has been measuring.
No institution has risen in Americans’ trust since last year’s survey, and this year just 7% say they have “A Lot or a Fair Amount” of confidence in Congress, and just 11% trust TV news.
On every major issue, we see a growing rift between the concerns, aspirations and preferences of citizens and those of their rulers. And it is not limited to the United States, it is something that is happening in the major developed nations of the West, to a greater or lesser degree, almost without exception. A month ago the European Parliament approved, with an overwhelming majority, to renew for another year the EU’s mandatory digital health passport called COVID-19 Digital Certificate. European politicians thus responded to their citizens’ almost unanimous rejection of mandatory health passports, reflected strongly in months of consultation on the issue.
The overwhelming majority of American and European citizens increasingly reject illegal immigration. But on both sides of the Atlantic, governments not only refuse to address the problem but also make it worse by weakening the borders and attracting more illegal immigrants. Democracies, whether we like it or not, will become less and less legitimate as long as citizens’ trust in their “representatives” continues to plummet. This is different from the political, economic, and ideological crises of the 1960s and 1970s. We have not seen anything like this in the West since the years of the rise of the great totalitarianism of the 20th century during the period from the end of World War I to the beginning of World War II.
Guillermo Rodríguez is a professor of Political Economy in the extension area of the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences at Universidad Monteávila, in Caracas. A researcher at the Juan de Mariana Center and author of several books // Guillermo es profesor de Economía Política en el área de extensión de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas de la Universidad Monteávila, en Caracas, investigador en el Centro Juan de Mariana y autor de varios libros