Fascinating article in the National Journal: Americans are losing faith in the institutions that made this country great.

Other than the US Military, most of the major institutions are on the downslide, according to Public Opinion: Congress, Banks, Supreme Court, Newspapers, the Presidency, even TV — all looked at negatively.

Gee, I wonder why that could be . . .




In Nothing We Trust
Ron Fournier and Sophie Quinton
National Journal, April 19, 2012 | 4:00 p.m

Category: Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

25 Responses to “Discontents: In Nothing We Trust”

  1. mitchn says:

    Hmm, who merits our trust and faith? Congress? Nope. Supreme Court? Nope. Banks? Definitely not. The Executive Branch? Uh-huh. Newspapers? Moreso than any of the others.

  2. Quite right and also confirmed in an Edelman report a few months ago. My take on it then is here. http://financeaddict.com/2012/01/trust-in-business-and-politics-reaches-critical-point/

  3. socaljoe says:

    Medical System and HMO’s up… Congress and President down… what’s that say about Obamacare?

  4. JimRino says:

    My confidence in Wall Street CEO’s down to Zero.
    Then there’s Exxon’s Tillerson, actually spending Shareholder money on an Anti-Science, Anti-Progress Global Warming Hoax Propaganda.
    Monsanto, thinks it’s going to re-engineer the bee, and strong arm tactics against farmers and states.
    Romney’s mismanagement of steel mills while economically destroying worker pay and pensions, how is this guy supposed to be some Savior of American Business? If you think Failure is Success, the Romney is your man.

    Where are the Leaders?
    Not on Wall Street.

  5. It’s an unfortunate feedback loop we’ve got going throughout the Western World…

    Because though they don’t much talk about it… and pay constant lip service to the ‘great wisdom of the people”

    These institutions (more accurately the narrow social band that populate them) have lost their faith in us as well.

    I’d suggest its a loop that develops where the citizens lose the ability to act as citizens… which is why MORE frequent and simple participation in governance is essential… not less.

    And, of course… that’s why the political micro-contribution is a must for citizen lobbying… and the network enabling it becomes a needed counter-balancing force to the inertia of ‘untouchable’ institutions whether corporate or governmental.

    While I can understand concerns that such a neutral, public network could be dangerous (I agree) or even make the problem of money in politics worse (I disagree)… the potential impact is obvious.

    And the connection of the ability to participate in a society’s decision process… to trust in institutions ought to be obvious.

    The silence on this utility’s potential from those existing institutions is deafening.

    Capability ENABLES Responsibility

  6. denim says:

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln

    It looks like Americans have entered phase 3: “…you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

    And may be ready to enter phase 4: “Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    But I, for one, will not cooperate with sleaze and mendacity regardless of party labels.

  7. dvdpenn says:

    The middle class has been having a pretty lousy time for the past few decades. I think this is largely a reflection of that. If average folks were better off and more secure, then they still might not care for various institutions, but they probably wouldn’t complain about them so consistently.

  8. ilsm says:

    The people are snookered by the war machine!


    Anyone aganist the war waste is unpatriotoc.

    The tip of the iceberg: “FederalTimes.com
    April 19, 2012
    Air Force’s $1 Billion IT System Has ‘Negligible’ Capability, Comptroller
    By Sean Reilly
    A seven-year, billion dollar investment by the Air Force in a new logistics
    management system has turned out to be a bust, officials say.
    “I am personally appalled at the limited capability the program has produced
    relative to that amount of investment,” Air Force Comptroller Jamie Morin
    told the Senate Armed Services readiness and management support subcommittee
    on Wednesday.”

    For even more vice and waste in weapons acquiring see GAO 12-400SP.

    And the F-35 trillion dollar waste which will save unit costs by buying them even though they will need years of rework to get going!

  9. Tim says:

    Tom Friedman’s article in the NY Times two days ago speaks along the same vein:



  10. Iamthe50percent says:

    Confidence in Churches, Police, Courts, and HMO’s is up. Sounds like good news for Republicans.

  11. emaij says:

    The “declined more than 15%” category includes only the president, congress, and the banks – as in the Elite US Criminal Syndicate. What’s odd is that the Criminal Justice System is at +1 on their chart. Maybe Americans exclude white collar crime when considering the the “Criminal Justice System”. White Collar is the domain of the SEC and the Fed, both of which I’m guessing would be in the more than 15% decline category.

  12. squire says:

    Anyone aganist the war waste is unpatriotoc.

    Yes. They are.

  13. theexpertisin says:

    If the public understood the colossal financial black hole and diluted curriculum of Big Education, it would have ranked amongst the worst of the group.

    The fact that churches received a modest bump to the positive came as no surprise to me. When things are falling apart all around you, religion is a safe haven. Following the Ten Commandments, or whatever enligtened Golden Rules your religion proffers is not a bad idea in any event.

  14. SOP says:

    Discontents ?? Don’t we all wish it were simply “discontent”???

    The long-slide through social and cultural collapse is underway.

    At least Attorney General Eric Holder is ready (as is the DHS and the US army of course – see below):

    “The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born,” he said.


    The Army’s More Deadly Bullet: Stateside Only

    The Army has just ordered its first batch of 9mm Jacketed Hollow Point bullets. But it’s limiting the rounds to its law-enforcement personnel based only in the U.S. and its territories.

    So how’s that for a paradox: the Army is buying deadlier bullets for use on American soil, most likely for use against Americans, than it issues to U.S. soldiers waging war in Afghanistan, who use theirs against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

    The Army plans on buying between 500,000 and 1 million of the rounds annually…



    Recall that Homeland Security is buying 450 Million 40cal hollow points Annually – renewable for 5 years…

    I think our Dear Leaders know what the decade ahead holds and they are preparing for it (Bush and Cheney said there’d be days like this, for 20-30 years there’d be days like this they said…)

  15. Bruman says:

    Interesting, they usually ask about confidence in scientists, but they’re not listed here.

    It seems like we all feel betrayed.

  16. Bruman says:

    Ok, so the changes seem to be clustered in groups.

    Worst loss in confidence (-13 to -24): Banks (worst), and all three branches of Govt (Pres, Congress, and Courts)

    Second worst cluster (-4 to -8): News sources, Schools, and Organized Labor (Probably scientist would fit in here)

    Tiny losses (-1): Military, Police, Big Business (Halliburton, perhaps?)

    Tiny Gains (+1): Criminal Justice system, Medical system

    Some gains (+3 to +6) and : Churches and Religious organizations, and HMOs (wtf??)

    The world is indeed a strange place…

  17. danny says:

    The system needs to be reorganised so people participate more directly in the process and therefore gain trust. For example in central banking we can reorgnize the system so that monetary policy is conducted directly with the public not the banking system. Check out this proposal if interested:


  18. DrungoHazewood says:

    When I see Bernanke yucking it up with Dimon…I just don’t know up from down anymore. Like Sheriff Ed Tom Bell says in No Country For Old Men “You just can’t take the measure of it”.

  19. DrungoHazewood says:


    Friedman has it totally backwards. The problem is we have a concentration of power, and its every move buries us deeper. It is completely immune to entreaty. As William Black points out, the reps and dems getting together would not be to dismantle the monolithic kleptocracy, but to augment it. At least that’s the track record so far.

  20. mathman says:

    Here’s why we don’t trust banks or wall street any longer (in GREAT graphic form):


  21. ConscienceofaConservative says:

    You can blame a greater American understanding of how Washington works. To rephrase Bismarck, we are seeing how the sausages are made.

  22. mgbee says:

    well when the national motto is
    In an imaginary being we trust why should Americans believe in anything

  23. romerjt says:

    Couple points: 1. the decline in the presidency might be the dates, June 2002 was just months after 911 when Bush was seen as competent . . the direction might even be up for the presidency if the first date was Jan 08. 2. After the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic church how can religion be up?

  24. droubal says:

    Thomas Friedman’s article totally misses what is happening to inhibit good government. As long as big donors, through lobbyists, bribe congress into submission. we will never have a reasonable and responsible government.
    Lobbying with money is killing this country. Until big money stops writing legislation and controlling congress, there will be no progress.

  25. johnnywalker says:

    socaljoe et.al:

    Before anyone gets too excited about the increase in confidence in HMOs, and its implication about universal health care, they need to consider the absolute values. Confidence increased from about 12% to about 18%. That means more than 80% do not have confidence in HMOs. I attribute the higher confidence in the overall medical system to peoples’ satisfaction with their individual physicians. Interesting that there is no data on confidence in Medicare. Note that the Supreme Court declined from about 50% to 37%; wonder how that would look if they invalidate universal health care.