Richard Greene

February 8, 2014

Sounding the alarm over ever-growing government

More than 70 percent of Americans see big government as a threat, according to Gallup data.

Among the most frequent criticism I receive from some readers is that I disparage the growth of government.

I’ve even been scolded for referring to what our founders had in mind when they set up a minimalist role for the central government in what has become the most successful nation in human history.

Of those who support President Obama’s plans for the government to spend more and more and get bigger and bigger, I’m often reminded of the proper role of government.

They believe the president and his party are on the right track in constantly expanding the definition of proper.

So, I’ve done a little research to see how far off base I am.

Interestingly, the Gallup organization has discovered that more people than ever see big government as our country’s greatest threat. An amazing 72 percent of Americans feel that way. That number was 55 percent when Obama moved into the White House.

Those on the left often cite capitalism and big business as the danger. According to Gallup, they are mistaken if they believe such views represent the country. Only 21 percent say they agree with them.

The biggest expansion ever in government is underway via Obamacare. The president boldly proclaimed his resolve to protect his signature initiative from conservative interference even though only 38 percent of Americans approve of it.

Gallup: “Additionally, the plurality of Americans say Obamacare has had a more negative than positive effect on them personally, and that it will have a more negative effect on them and on the country in the future.”

I last wrote about how Obama’s EPA is pursuing a breathtaking agenda of new regulations to deal with global warming, including initiatives to all but shut down the coal industry, resulting in huge job losses and incalculable economic damage.

The independent Pew Research Center has been measuring the public’s concern over global warming since 2007. Among the 20 priorities that Americans want the government to focus on, global warming has never ranked higher than number 19. It usually comes in dead last in the annual Pew polling.

Concerns about the growth of government really aren’t new, and I’m not the only one sounding the alarm.

The country’s trust in government reached a peak of 75 percent in the early 1960s and began a steady decline with the onset of LBJ’s Great Society. That number, according to Pew Research, has plunged to only 20 percent in the Obama years.

Pew started asking the American people about their satisfaction with the state of the nation during Jimmy Carter’s administration and found fewer than 20 percent saying they were content.

The number rose to 65 percent during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Today it stands at 14 percent. Yet Obama, with a job approval rating that fell from 52 to 41 percent in 2013, says he’s going to do more and more.

Another denigration I face is to be called a whiner when I point out the now fully transparent media bias favoring liberal initiatives to grow government even more and their unwavering support for the president who is leading that growth.

During the Obama years, those telling Gallup pollsters that they don’t trust the media have reached a new peak: “In perhaps the most telling — and decisive — finding in the survey, 46 percent of Americans believe the media are too liberal as compared to the 13 percent who view the media as too conservative.”

So, if you don’t see a change in my concern about the threat of the unprecedented expansion of federal power, at least you will know that my position on the matter is shared by a historic majority of our fellow citizens.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

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