Monday, May 05, 2014

Which U.S. States are "Most" and "Least" Trusted? And Why?

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Gallup published a survey a week ago which measures the "Trust" citizens have in their local state government.

A number of interesting and revealing facts emerged from the survey.

For instance, the average trust in Republican dominated states is 67% while the average trust in Democrat controlled states is only 57%.

However, there are other contributing factors to how much people trust their state government.

And we must ask ourselves how much if any trust should be placed in government?

How do you think your state ranks in regard to trust in state government?

The Gallup Survey found that Illinois is the least trusted state government in the country. North Dakota is the most trusted in the country.

Gallup also found that trust is generally higher in states in the upper Midwest and Plain states, and the Northern Mountain region.

Most trusted are (1) North Dakota (2) Wyoming (3) South Dakota, followed by Nebraska, Texas and Alaska.

The least trusted is (1) Illinois (2) Rhode Island (3) Maine, followed by Pennsylvania, Louisiana, California and Maryland.

The link above provides a map of each state and their level of trust in local government and a list of all states on "page two" of the link.

Here in the Northwest, Washington's trust level is 55%, Oregon 54% and Idaho 65%.

Gallup points out that Illinois, the least trusted state government, has had 2 past governors, Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, sentenced to jail for crimes committed while in office. Two prior Illinois governors from the 1960s and 1970s also went to jail.

Gallup concludes the obvious: "Trust in government is a key commodity for a democratic government to function well."

Voters must believe that those whom they have elected will act on behalf of their needs and interests, not the personal ambitions of the elected themselves.

The Heritage Foundation has made some insightful observations from this and other similar surveys.

Heritage says the Gallup survey, and others, suggest that the trust levels are related to state governments sticking to what governments are supposed to be and do---"like putting thieves and murderers in jail, and building basic infrastructure---and otherwise letting free citizens pursue their interests."

CBS wrote an article last year titled, "Why Don't Americans Trust Government?", in which they said, "Skepticism about government is, in many respects, part of our national DNA. But surveys in the 1950s and 1960s showed most Americans expressed at least a basic trust that government would do the right thing most or all the time."

They said, "Vietnam and Watergate in the 1970s eroded the sentiment, and the polling numbers on it have never really recovered."

Their comments were, of course, regarding national government, not specifically state government.

It does seem, however, that the two are linked at a certain level in regard to trust.

Heritage suggests that states that tax more and regulate more in order to favor particular types of economic activities (e.g. green energy) are not as good at spending other people's money as well as the people themselves, thus the trust level is related to the incompetence of the elected state leaders.

In the linked article above, they have compared and cross referenced other studies which indicate state management incompetence is a significant factor.

I personally believe there are other, even more consequential factors.

Some personal thoughts on Trust and Government.

Lets pull back and look at government in general.

The people must control the government, or the government will control the people. "We the people" will ultimately trust either government or God. If the government does not serve us wisely and effectively, we will serve it to our own ruin.

Current government is driven by "progressive" ideals far more than "conservative" ones. Progressives are obsessed with replacing God with government, whether they articulate it that way or not.

I personally believe there is a place for assistance to those in need through government, however, helping people has become an industry that enriches the advocates and enslaves the recipients to bondage.

Government then competes with God. People are taught to look to government to care for them. While they may give some recognition to God in their lives, they explicitly depend on government.

This is why Christians and our churches are not only called to help those in need, but to lead in this effort.

Government dependency breeds more government dependency, which leads to tyranny.

The prophet Jeremiah said, "Cursed is man that trusts in man."

In dealing with His people God often uses trials and difficulties as an opportunity for us to become more dependent upon Him. In a welfare environment, that opportunity is denied those with trials and difficulties. Government becomes god.

Peoples needs and weaknesses should move them toward God, not toward government.

The religious left constantly advocate for greater government welfare programs and they call it Christian compassion.

It is not compassion. In fact trusting government to care for the poor is one more way of stripping God out of the culture. That is not biblical compassion, it is the curse Jeremiah spoke of.

A faceless federal agency sending out checks with no personal connection is welfare, but it is not biblical compassion.

Thomas Jefferson said, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny."

Tyranny is happening---in education, in the military, in healthcare and elsewhere. Our religious freedoms are systematically being eroded by an ever expanding government, a complicit press and a confused electorate.

Psalms 118:8,9 reminds us, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes."

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Faithful. Be Blessed.