Anger against government has roots in the 1980s

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amy Walter of offered a timely reminder this week about the roiling anger at government. She noted that the rage sounds much like 2006 – except that this time Republicans, not Democrats, are taking the lead. “Our country has not gotten angrier,” she wrote. “The spirit has just switched sides.”

So, yes, the anger didn’t start with the Obama years, the bailouts, deficits and stimulus package. If anything, the thread goes back much further. …

The Pew Research Center has released a survey showing public confidence in government at its lowest point in a half-century. What is at work? No doubt, the troubled economy and polarization in the political ranks.

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It also stems from thinking driven most ardently by Ronald Reagan, who deemed government the problem in his first inaugural address. …

With Reagan, the country celebrated the private sector, and accelerated a journey into deregulation, including in the late 1990s (under Bill Clinton) the unleashing of Wall Street. The cycle has been plain to see: Bash government. Push back its presence.

Then, when trouble results, blame government again, and push back further, leading to new trouble – and more criticism. Any surprise that three decades later, many people are furious?

Akron Beacon Journal