Not really according to this from the NY Post.
Instead of polling Americans about Washington again, a pair of academics at Johns Hopkins tried something new — polling Washington about Americans. What they found was a combination of ignorance, contempt and disdain.
Survey data from the polled group — staffers from the White House and Capitol Hill plus career civil servants and the policy community of lobbyists and others who work closely with government from outside it — indicate that the functionary class thinks of itself as our betters. Our bosses, not our representatives. They see their own judgment as being far superior to that of the rest of us — the people whose wishes they are supposed to be carrying out.
The revelations in the new book “What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People,” by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg, serve up the side benefit of providing a partial explanation for the rise of Donald Trump.
The DC insider class is much like the media class: Both misunderstand who the voters are and how they think. You could drive a Trump Train through that gap, and Trump just did.
The findings were revealing: By a huge margin, the bureaucrats said they knew better than the public what was right for the public. On Social Security, twice as many bureaucrats said they knew best. On crime, three times as many bureaucrats said their way was superior. On the environment, the ratio was almost four to one.
There’s also the problem that the “betters” don’t want feedback from the rest of us, yet are absolutely clueless about what’s really going on out here in the real world.
Washington is less and less interested in taking any kind of principles-based guidance from the people it purports to work for. An unresponsive blob, it grows larger each year, forever chewing up more of our tax dollars, creating new agencies, passing binding new administrative rules without any involvement from lawmakers.
Presented with simple multiple-choice quizzes, the bureaucrats failed badly. For instance, 65 percent of the DC insiders guessed that median household income is lower than it is in reality (about $52,000 a year). Almost four out of five respondents underestimated the percent of the population that is white (which is 78 percent of Americans). Sixty-four percent of those surveyed underestimated the cohort of Americans (age 25 and up) who have a high school diploma: It’s 85 percent. And 80 percent of respondents guessed that the rate of homeownership is lower than it is: 67 percent.
With all of this underestimating going on, it’s not surprising that Washington is constantly pushing urgent, potentially disastrous fixes (such as re-inflating the housing bubble by encouraging more and more Americans with sketchy credit ratings to buy homes) for imaginary ills. Renting your home is a perfectly acceptable way to live, and Fannie Mae shouldn’t be in the business of enticing renters of modest income to commit to large amounts of debt by obtaining mortgages.
Officialdom overestimates, by an average of 8 percentage points, the proportion of Americans who support increasing government spending in the areas of education, crime prevention, welfare and child care. This is blob bias: the mistaken belief that Americans want to direct more and more of our income to the blob so it can (fail to) solve more of our problems.
What I find appalling is that so many of these people get their statistics wrong. The government spend huge amounts of time and money collecting statistics about ever little bit of American’s lives yet the people who are supposed to be using the data would rather believe in their own prejudices. That’s the way to make sure that things don’t end well.
Not only are they clueless and living in a bubble, but these people also hold the people that struggle to pay the taxes that maintains their lifestyles in contempt. Apparently they have forgotten that the people who pay the checks, call the shots.
Asked to estimate how much knowledge Americans have about various issues, the bureaucrats gave answers that were frankly contemptuous. According to government officials, 72 percent of Americans know “very little” or nothing about government aid to the poor. Eleven percent of officials think Americans know nothing — absolutely nothing — about science and technology policy, and another 60 percent think we know very little. Sixty-three percent of officials think we know little or nothing about environmental policy. According to the bureaucracy, 6 percent or less of Americans know “a great deal” about any of the nine issues sampled.
The problem that our betters have is that the policies they enact have costs and it’s rapidly getting to the point that the country can no longer afford the direct and indirect costs much longer. After how much of this can anybody take before they say; “Enough!”
In the past few years, agencies have created over 300,000 regulatory offenses, creating a thicket of rules that only specialists such as lawyers and lobbyists can negotiate. The principle, mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” is being flouted: Not only do we not consent to every policy enacted in Washington, we often don’t even know about it until it’s law.
Take the citizens of Franklin Township, NJ, who discovered in 2011 that they couldn’t send a tractor over to remove a tree that fell into a creek and caused flooding. The feds had classified it as a “Class C-1 creek,” meaning federal permits were needed before any natural condition could be altered. So the flooding continued for 12 days, damaging many homes in the area, before the town was able to secure the federal permit.
In Virginia, an 11-year-old girl who rescued a wounded woodpecker and carried it into a Lowe’s hardware store in a cage was confronted in the store by an agent from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Later she received a notice saying she was being fined $535 and threatened with jail time for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The resulting bad publicity made the government back down.
If the last eight years have demonstrated anything, it’s that the Administrative state is fundamentally incompetent to deal with the country’s problems, yet is unable to get out of the way of the people who can with those problems. The contempt that they hold the rest of us is indicative that they know just how much they seemingly can do to us. What they fail to understand is that there are limits and nobody knows what they are. Most Americans work very hard to maintain the web of trust and rule of law because it’s in our own best interest. When the people making law, or worse regulation without law, which seems to be the modus operendai of the administrative state these days, that web of trust starts to break down.
In the end the rest of us are going to have to ask ourselves who we are.
More importantly, we the people, are going to have to start to tell the administrative state, no. It’s worked in the past. In fact a couple of Jewish NYC chicken dealers brought down the most Socialistic government takeover of the economy that America has faced. What is the blob compared to the NIRA? The blob apparently doesn’t think that we can do anything about it’s parasitical takeovers. We should not despair. Instead push back. The blob does not have unlimited resources and, in fact those resources are going to be constrained very quickly by the governments inability to keep its promises and pay the bills. The blob, in it’s contempt and ignorance does not realizing by acting the way it has, it has injured the host that feeds to the point that the host will no longer be able to afford the administrative state and that’s the end. Which is probably why they are so afraid of Trump and the rest of us.