In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. John Adams, Second President of the United States
John Adams may have made that statement over two hundred years ago, things haven’t changed very much, and America agrees. In a Rasmussen survey released today, Americans were asked which branch of government they trust most only 13% of voters said they trusted congress. On the bright side, it is a bi-partisan result as Democrats, Republicans and independents all agreed that congress was the least trustworthy part of our government. This is on top of another recent poll that reports American’s feeling that “to err is human, but to really screw things up–you need congress.”
With Nancy Pelosi acting as if her new title was Lying Speaker of the House of Representatives those numbers are sure to fall further:
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While Republicans and Democrats disagree over most people and issues, they have one low opinion in common – the U.S. Congress.
Consider: When all voters are asked which branch of the federal government they trust the most, 34% say the Supreme Court, while 27% choose the president, or what the Founding Fathers called the Executive Branch.
Only 13% say Congress is the branch of government they trust most, and twice as many voters (27%) are undecided.
For a plurality of Democrats (47%), the president is trusted most. No surprise there with Barack Obama in the White House.
For pluralities of Republicans (41%) and voters not affiliated with either major party (40%), the Supreme Court tops the list.
But just 12% of Democrats and 10% of unaffiliateds say Congress is the branch of government they trust most. Republicans are slightly more charitable, which is surprising given Democratic control of both the Senate and the House: 15% of GOP voters trust Congress the most.
The Political Class is a little friendlier to the legislators. Only 11% of Mainstream Americans trust the Congress most, compared to 28% of the political elites. But the trust of the Political Class is pretty evenly divided among all three branches of government, while a plurality of Mainstream Americans (38%) put their confidence in the Supreme Court.
Maybe it’s a reflection on Congress’ tendency to raise taxes on upper-income earners, but the percentage of those who trust Congress most among those who earn more than $75,000 per year is down in single digits.
By a two-to-one margin, Americans believe that no matter how bad things are, Congress can make them worse.
So how do they keep getting reelected? Fifty percent (50%) of voters believe high congressional reelection rates are the result of election rules that are “rigged to benefit members of Congress.”
Across party lines, most Americans say members of Congress don’t play by the rules. Fifty-five percent (55%) don’t even believe most Congress members pay all the taxes they owe.
When it comes to the economy, which is unquestionably the number one political issue, two-thirds of voters have more confidence in their own judgment than they do in that of the average member of Congress.