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.
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