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So much for a mandate. As President Obama heads into his celebrated, historic and transformational second term, the American people are distinctly distrustful of the government over which he presides.
For the first time ever, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms. The Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of Americans view the feds as a threat while only 43 percent disagree.
Just three years ago, 47 percent viewed their federal government suspiciously and 50 percent were fine with it. How this squares with the November election is beyond me, but the trend is unmistakable. Could limited government finally be returning to fashion?
The Pew study also found that only a quarter of Americans trust the government in Washington to do the right thing all or most of the time. Nearly 60 percent say they are frustrated with it, while about 20 percent are downright angry.
Perhaps voters liked Obama’s pleasant-sounding promises, but are less than thrilled with the unpleasant real-world results. These ideological late-bloomers can be frustrating for those of us who predicted such obvious results, but better late than never.
One ardent Obama fan, Slate writer Matt Yglesias, expressed shock when he ran face-first into big government. When he decided to rent his D.C. condo, he learned that he needed to obtain a business license. After bouncing between three offices and filing countless forms, he vented his frustration online.
This is what it sounds like when the author of “Regulation Breeds Innovation” is mugged by reality:
Entrepreneurship—even on the smallest and most banal scale—turns out to be a time-consuming pain in the you-know-what. My personal inconveniences aren’t a big deal, but in the aggregate, the difficulty of launching a business is a problem and it may be a more important one as time goes on…
Red tape, long lines, inconvenient office hours, and other logistical hassles probably won’t stop tomorrow’s super-genius from launching the next great billion-dollar company. But it’s a large and needless deterrent to the formation of the humble workaday firms that for many people are a path to autonomy and prosperity.
Precisely, my liberal friend. The people most hurt by the crushing burden of bureaucracy are not the Bill Gates and Warren Buffetts of the world, but rather the shoeshine man, the food truck operator and the immigrant nail salon owner.
Follow Jon on Twitter at @ExJon.