Who does America trust?

According to the Edelman Trust Report 2018, it’s not the Government. As a matter of fact, of the four institutions that we depend on the most, Government, Media, Business, and NGO’s, Americans believe it is our Government that is most broken.

Why is this? Does every country not trust their Government? No. According to this same Edelman Trust Report, China has a relatively high trust in their Government, believing that Business is the most broken institution. (I personally believe there are many factors for THAT statistic, but I won’t address it here).

Before the reader jumps to a conclusion that this trust issue has to do with a certain President, I must mention that the lack of trust that Americans feel for their Government did not begin in 2018, or even 2016. It began in the 1960’s during the Vietnam War.

In 1964, the Johnson administration, believing that they could win the war in Vietnam within months, never announced to the American public that they had already sent troops to war. In 1971, with the publication of The Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg states, (President Johnson), “began planning to wage overt war in 1964, a full year before the depth of U.S. involvement was publicly revealed”. He comments in his 2001 article entitled ‘Lying about Vietnam’, that “The familiar answer is that in 1965, Lyndon Johnson was protecting his Great Society programs by concealing the scale of the war he was launching.”

He was protecting his Great Society Programs. What does a Great Society Program need? Money. What did the Vietnam War take? Money. According to an article on January 30, 2018,  entitled ‘How Americans Lost Faith in Government’, by Josh Zeitz, who taught American History and politics at Cambridge University and Princeton University, President Johnson “buried Vietnam expenditures- which totaled roughly $5 billion (almost $39 billion in today’s dollars).” By the end of 1967, the cost of the Vietnam war had “approached $26.5 billion for the fiscal year.”

Wanting to pay for both domestic programs and mounting war costs, the Johnson administration went into massive deficit and brought on a rise of inflation.

Today, the U.S. Government’s budget is $4.407 trillion. That’s the federal budget for fiscal year 2019 (October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019). It’s 21 percent of gross domestic product.  The big expenditures are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These are Great Society Programs. What Congressman is going to say he plans to cut any of these? But the debt! As of today, September 15, 2018, the U.S. National Debt is coming in at $21,480,982,926,694. I don’t even know what that number is called. And it’s changing by the millisecond. It changed NUMEROUSLY during the time it took me to just copy it down from the U.S. Debt Clock into this article. It is frightening. It is embarrassing. It is not being addressed. Most Americans are aware that we have a national debt. It’s not a secret. So, what is our Government doing about it? Do we, as Americans, trust that our Government will act with integrity, for our best interests, to lead us to a better future? According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Report, we do not.

“It is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest, that holds human associations together.” —H. L. Mencken

For more information about this topic please visit the GBA Budget, Appropriations & Tracking Library

 

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