In 2019, only 17% of Americans were confident in the federal government. But the level of credibility is at risk of continuing to decline because of Covid-19.
Patricia Millner, nurse in Hershey, Pennsylvania, was born in 1956, the time when the President Dwight D. Eisenhower was re-elected. The U.S. economy broke and people’s belief in the government was very high. Two years later, national polls showed that around 3/4 Americans said they believed in every federal government decision.
A lot of things have changed since then. The Vietnam War, and later, the Watergate in 1972, the political scandal that left President Richard Nixon resigned. During the 2008 financial crisis, Ms. Millner saw several government-rescued banks, while the people suffered from the loss of home.
As the Covid-19 attacked and caused nearly 39 million people to lose their jobs, Ms. Millner again saw the government interested in the wealthy, while many others had to seek to save themselves.
“Each view of a promotional piece on television says that we all have the same circumstances, my blood is boiling. We’re not. The upper class is fine, but 2/3 of the country is ruined, “she said.
Long before the Covid-19 appeared, the US is facing other crises as the belief of people on the federal government on a decline. This decline took place for several decades, through many democratic governments coming to the Republic. In 2019, the U.S. recorded the lowest percentage of people’s credibility since the polls were conducted, when only 17% of Americans believed the government was “always or multi-part done right”, according to the Pew Research Center survey.
Washington’s lack of credibility does not mean that people do not believe in any government agency. Surveys indicate that people tend to believe in more local governments, and some governors also receive their high rate of support because of how the epidemic was handled.
In over 20 interviews that NYTimes Made, the Americans said the federal government did not cope well with the Covid-19 crisis. Many people pointed out that corporations seem to get the majority of federal relief money, while small businesses get stuck. They found confusion when asked to stay at home and sacrificed personal interests because the collective, but not supported enough financially to do so. Some people even assume that the whole state blockade is pointless when it is not affected by the same.
The U.S. is launching one of the largest government relief packages in recent history. Many people say they have received money, but it’s not enough to solve their larger financial problems, like rent and mortgage payments.
“I don’t trust all of them,” Curtis Devlin, age 42, veteran of the Iraq War, refers to national leaders in both Democratic and Republican parties. “They only represent the interests of the donors, the power brokers and the parties,” he said.
The national crisis often tends to build solidarity and strengthen people’s trust in the government. In recent history, the time of the US government gained the highest trust after the terrorist 11/9/2001. But this rate began to decline after the U.S. began the Iraq war, under President Barack Obama and currently the government of Donald Trump. Since 2008, the proportion of trust has never exceeded 25%.
Frustration in the federal government is also being able to be perfected during the presidential campaign. President Trump has always recognized himself as a struggle for people who are left by Washington’s policy. Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, is also committed to this. But with the Americans no longer trusting in the government, this promise is really cliché, even it comes from the candidates themselves in their party.
“We are still not entitled to medical care and still have to buy medicines at a high price. We are still in the war lasting for 17 years. If I vote for Mr. Joe Biden, it’s nothing to change. That’s what made me feel disappointed, “Mrs. Millner said.
Jacob Hacker, political scientist at Yale University, argues that the reason why people increasingly lose confidence in two parties lies in two questions: Will everything be better? And does the Government represent my interests? When any Equality is increasing, the answer to both matters is not.
“Unequal increase is a major shock to our political and social systems. People feel they do not benefit and the government does not meet people’s aspirations, or can say the government does not represent the interests of the civilians, “hackers share.
He added that the result was “our democracy does not work as efficiently as expected.”
The level of credibility in the Government is a measure of the strength of a democracy. Democracies with a high percentage of credibility tend to be less stable.
Patricia Bolgiano has lived through several economic downturn in the United States. During each time, she said the measures the leaders gave to cope with the recession often caused her family to be “abandoned”, while a handful of people benefited became more wealthy.
Ms. Bolgiano worked at the Customer Care center of a bank in Maryland, when the U.S. stock market collapsed in 1987 and the lending crisis-savings in the 80-90 decade. She still remembers the client’s fearful voice then and the story of the Golden Parachute (the compensation package that lost its work tied to the contract of senior executives in case they were fired).
20 years later, this again echoed. An evening in 2008, she was driving and hearing news on the radio. The banks were collapsing. She knew what would have come then: Wall Street was rescued and not to explain what they did to make the economy compromised.
“They knew they could be an untrue peace,” she said.
Ms. Bolgiano thinks the old script will repeat with this epidemic. People are asked at home and adapt to living with Covid-19, although they have no savings. Although the government has disbursed a lot of money, she does not believe that it will come to those who really need it.
“Why do businesses millions of dollars get rescue packages while small business people? The leaders seemed to give the rules and rescue packages to their families and friends, not to the public, “she said.
The low level of credibility in large parts of people may be a good condition for conspiracy theories to appear. Amanda Robert, a political analyst at Michigan, grew up in a working class family and understood where the conspiracy theories originated from. The feeling of impulousness deepening the anxiety and yearning for an explanation, a way to control the life around them.
“It’s scary to witness people trying to clear things because they lose faith,” Robert pointed out that conspiracy theories are being spread on social media from people she didn’t suspect.
A friend of Robert shared a fake documentary program stating that the epidemic was deliberately created, while another person in the preschool insists that people don’t need isolation. When Robert offered a friend to contact a state senator for help with unemployment assistance, he had a reputation for criticism.
“The answer I get is ‘ I don’t believe they will help anything. They make us unemployed to be dependent on them, ‘ “Robert recounted.
Thanh Center (According to NYTimes)