Keller @ Large: Poll: Big Government Is Our Biggest Threat

BOSTON (CBS) – To hear voices from the Occupy movement to the current resident of the White House tell it, big business – the one-percenters who profit most from it, and the Republican pols who enable and defend it – are far and away the biggest menace we face as Americans.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Big business, so the narrative goes, exploits our labor, erodes our standard of living, promotes income inequality, all with uncontrolled greed and indifference to fairness.

It was the one clearly discernible message coming out of the Occupy encampments, and after all the coverage they’ve gotten this fall, you would think that message would be thriving.

But you would be wrong.

A new Gallup poll finds 64-percent of us say big government is the biggest threat we face, close to the highest that number has ever been.

Only 26-percent cite big business as a bigger threat, down significantly in just the past couple of years.

And big labor, a favorite whipping boy of the right?

Barely ten percent worry most about them.

Concern over big government is endemic among Republicans and independents.

But Democrats are worried about it too, with almost half citing it as threat number one, a sharp increase since President Obama took office.

And over that same period, fear of big business has dropped sharply among Democrats as well.

What does this mean?

It’s far from a pass for corporations that have aggressively valued profit margins over job-creation and fair treatment of workers.

But it shows that people of all political persuasions fear the power of excessive or unwise government intrusion into their lives, from foolish frisking policies at airports to overly-bureaucratic health-care reform to onerous tax hikes.

This ought to be a warning to everyone in government that they need to clean up their act.

And it’s a helpful reminder that most Americans would rather take their chances with capitalism – ugly warts and all – then turn over too much power to institutions that just haven’t been earning their trust for decades now.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

More from Jon Keller
  • foamy

    The fact that this might come as some kind of shock to people is mind boggling. The Founders were adamant – there must be limits on government or tyranny ensues. It seems that after 235 years the American people STILL GET IT!

  • tsal

    foamy you are right – however the founders were also adamant about their fear of large corporations and a central banking system.

    I’m not sure how you can separate big government from the banking disaster and corporate greed and so on. It’s the government that allowed and in many cases encouraged it to all take place. I isn’t different, Jon, from what Occupy has been saying – the individual problems are there and this survey simply names the source.

    • gramps

      Well tsal, looks like ‘Jon’ has the same opinion of your position as ‘I’ do!



      • tsal

        what are you – two years old. You have to be kidding.

  • emom

    The problem With the message OWS was trying so hard to convey is that the government just felt all they need to do is BRUSH IT UNDER THE CARPET. I have been saying to people for years that there is far to much greed, It stares at us all the time. We see greed in the government with what they do with the tax money, and with corporations greed is on the rise.
    Big government will and always a huge threat. They do not listen to any of the people in what they would want or like, Oh sure they listen,, here is what they hear.
    Mr governor, What do you intend to do about the current problem with the BLAH BLHA BLAH (schools) decline in YADDA YADDA YADDA (funds). How are you going to BIG DEAL ( help) them.
    Just a sample of how I believe they are listening, Like a teenager rolling their eyes and thinking cant wait to get to the mall with my friends.
    We need to stop it from spiralling out of control, We need to HOLD them accountable for the miss use of funds in this country. Greedy CEos are a huge problem how many over just this year have taken huge bonus and then left the company.. BC/BS ring any bells. There are far to many out there, and the decline of the workers trusting them to give a great working environment well sorry that is no longer the case. Most are considered expendable, and if they can not perform to their needs, then they get someone that will, However they push the employees into doing jobs that use to take multiple people, Down sizing was a huge profit margin for companies as it has been with government, Shrink the work force and triple and quadruple the work on the single worker. Look around you will see employees doing the work of 3 or 4 people, its taxing on them and they are worn out, YET they are not getting paid more for doing the work of multiple people. WHY IS THAT I WONDER. Because they measure your worth thru the higher expectations of what you can do , making very difficult if not impossible to reach those goals so as to no GIVE you those pay raises.
    And both the government and corporations are wondering why employees and people are burnt out and fed up.
    Greed on both levels needs to be addressed, OWS brought it to the news and the country. Many listened, but the ones that truly needed to hear the message still are not caring enough to fix it or both.. I say the message has to continue and both government and corporations need to feel the pinch of how people are suffering to finally realize this problem needs to be corrected in this country.

    • tsal

      once again emom – you are absolutely correct

  • The Owl

    I am sure that few in the Democratic Republic of Massachusetts will support a call for “anyone but and incumbent” in the 2012 elections.

  • tom mahon

    I rarey agree with your comments, Jon, as I am not a right wing conservative. But in your comments today a phrase leaped out at me and triggered a question. When, exactly, in your memory, has the populace recently been subjected to an ONEROUS tax hike. A “burdensome, horrific, excruciating” tax increase. Laughable right wing hyperbole..

  • Prison » Americans Fear Big Government Over Everything « ~ BLOGGER.GUNNY.G.1984+. ~ (BLOG & EMAIL)

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  • Nab71

    Our view of government has changed. At the beginning of the 20th century if you said “the government” to most people they would think of the state government or local government since they had the most direct impact on people. Today “the government” automatically means Washington D.C. The most power is now held by the least effective and least controllable government. The growth of power was understandable due to the need to control corporations , the depression and WWi and WWii in the first half of the 20th century, but since 1960 we haven’t known where to stop.

  • Tsalllll

    Nab——are you sitting down? I’ll wait a minute until you are


    I agree :)

    • gramps

      tsal, you’re a piece of work…..


      This is how we got to wear we are today:

      After WW II, the US via the Marshall Plan, financed & rebuilt Europe….In doing so America placed a protective umbrella, through NATO, over those countries…

      Consequently those countries ‘didn’t’ have to invest in standing armies to protect themselves. They were able to direct those defense funds to things like ‘socialized medicine’, free college tuition, 4-6 weeks vacation in certain industries & a ‘Litany’ of other hand outs….

      Creating a ‘gimmiecrat, entitled’ mindset, like yours/

      Meanwhile back home, since the mid-sixties & the advent of Lyndon’s ‘Great Society’, which was unfunded, consequently, the US has had to raise it’s debt limit 70+ times to pay for it….

      It’s over, the $$’s ‘ALL GONE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD’, deal with it!….

      All financed, as an unintended consequence by the USA’s borrowing $$!

      ‘I find it interesting that China & India are now owning & kicking our butt’s….51 babies are born every minute in India, probably a lot more in China. Do you think they’ll build ‘welfare states’ or build their economy’s?…….Could their success be because we ‘didn’t’ help them?……..’YUP’……They helped themselves!

      & so it goes.


      Our ‘Great & now failing Society’ was & is being funded by ‘CHINA’ & staffed by INDIA……Chicken fingers & Curry, anyone?

      • gramps

        If you post something that gives me an ‘Itch’, I’ll ‘SCRATCH IT’!


      • Nab71

        Eisenhower saw the problems first, but liberals refused to really look at his Farewell Address. They made their own interpretation. Nixon saw it too. Remember the Nixon Doctrine after Vietnam where Nixon said we would do our part but others had to do theirs too.? He was telling Europe the 30 year free ride was over, but no one listened because it was Nixon.

      • tsal

        gramps – I do not read anything you post because your main purpose seems to be to insult. I got to the end of your first sentence and have not read any further. Anyone – repeating anyone – who uses insults to get a point across IMHO is not worth listening too and has nothing of importance to say.

        First, you clearly feel you are the only one with a valid opinion. Second, you have decided you know who I am and what I stand for and laughably what has or has not occurred in my private life. Third, I am attempting to be patient with your child’s play. I’m not a patient person so if, once again, you would stop following me around the blogs like a lost little puppy, I would greatly appreciate it. Now shoo

  • Nab71

    Nice to hear. Many of my colleagues where I taught for 36 years didn’t see it as a problem. The growth of federal power was always one of my major themes for the year.

    • tsal

      Nab the problem is that in many ways the American people and businesses have forced the growth of government. And in other ways the politicians themselves have forced the need for regulation.

      Although I agree that government is not what is was when I was younger, I am not convinced this happened as far back as you see it. But would be interested in hearing more. I see the start closer to Reagan. His trickle down theory didn’t work. To me it was the way the republicans saw a way to get back into “control”. Prior to that the democrats had created the jobs that were necessary to get Americans back to work and keep them there. Income was far more equitable. The lifestyle was on a far more even footing. Reagan came up with a new theory that captured the attention of many – particularly the wealthy.

      In the 80s when government started to control where the money went – to the top – you can see a sharp decline in the American lifestyle. I can trace it in my own family. That brought on a sense of entitlement for the wealthy and a sense of hopelessness for the average American who could no longer afford a home, a single income family, etc without both adults working.

      Clinton brought back some feeling of prosperity and started the dream of Americans once again owning homes. Bush continued. Credit qualifications were lowered. Greed came into play with subprime lenders and mortgage brokers. There was no regulation for the mortgage companies or subprime lenders. I believe regulation for the most part should come from local/state but in this case has to come from federal.

      And the iciing on the cake is that every single politician in Washington is bought and paid for. I do not believe that existed back with Ike and even into Nixon – both of whom I not only voted for but very actively campaigned for – well I was too young to really know what I was doing when Ike was elected but I still went with my parents to deliver pamphlets, etc.

      Sorry – have to get back to work so this was typed quickly.

  • tsal

    Nab – can’t post what I want to – I don’t see the problem going back to the 60s but do see it back to the 80s. Hopefully, we can continue this discussion since I am interested in what you see.

  • andyme

    One word that’s the root source of all our problems, “gimmecrat”, way to many of them on both sides

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