Steve Benen on a new Gallup poll showing that Americans think government is doing too much:
The results are more than a little discouraging. In a time of widespread fires, a whole lot of Americans have been convinced not to trust the fire department. After deregulation helped create a global economic collapse, a plurality of Americans think “there is too much regulation of business.” That’s kind of nutty, but it’s also the highest number on this question in a generation. The percentage of Americans who believe “government is trying to do too much” is the highest it’s been since the days of Speaker Gingrich.
This is yet another case of America’s short-term memory loss. People don’t seem to recall what created this economic mess (deregulation). If a lack of government regulation created the all of the crap we’re dealing with right now, then common logic dictates that new regulation is needed to avoid another meltdown. But Americans don’t want that. They want less government. Which, as history proves, will very likely cause another mess. And the beat goes on and on.
Not too long ago, around the time SiCKO came out, healthcare reform seemed like an urgent national priority. Something everyone supported. At the very least, we could all agree that HMOs and health insurance companies were evil. But somehow in just one short Summer, a loud gaggle of hooples have convinced half of America to side with the corrupt corporations and against government regulation of those corporations without any memory of the shitpile that unregulated corporate power has heretofore dropped on our heads.
When economic distress won’t change this dynamic, I don’t know what will.