Culture Beat / January 25, 2018

Americans Want More Government?

New polling indicates that a growing majority of Americans see a more active government as a good thing.

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that a majority of Americans favor greater government involvement and activity rather than less. According to the numbers, 58% support more government to 38% desiring less. This is the highest percentage of Americans favoring more government involvement since the poll was first conducted in 1995. Back in 1995, the split was 32% favoring more and 62% wanting less government. So what do these numbers say about how Americans attitude toward government has changed? For one thing, big government populism is clearly popular within both parties currently.

Has the conservative bedrock principle of limited government cracked under the weight of Donald Trump? Not likely. Rather these numbers may reflect a growing yet guarded optimism among Republicans and conservatives as they see Trump undoing much of the mess Barack Obama created. The truth is Trump is more pragmatist than ideological — his objective is to bring America back from the brink, make the government work for the people again, and re-establish the nation’s dominance both economically and globally, rather than engaging in any serious and significant reduction of government, particularly where spending is concerned.

Democrats have been moving hard left for some time now. They not only see greater government control as preferable, but as a necessary reality. With this leftist turn the Democrat Party has become increasingly secular, abandoning the promotion of individual rights and freedoms in favor of a socialist and globalist ethic. Greater governmental power on a global scale is seen as the only hope for mankind and the planet.

To the contrary, it would do good for a majority of Americans to embrace James Madison’s perspective: “In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” Our Founders did not set up a vast, sprawling government meant to run a program every time a “progressive” had an idea. And the growing departure of Americans’ expectations from that founding ideal is troubling.

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