Does the country face a “deficit of trust”?

In his State of the Union address, President Obama said the country faces a “deficit of trust” that makes it difficult to solve important public issues. Today’s Question: Does the country face a “deficit of trust”?

  • Clark

    YES – If you consider all politicians are lying liars whose main motivation is being re-elected as a career politician, what possible motivation would most politicians have for legislation that is actually good for the county. They push forward legislation that will insure their re-election therefore motivate their left wing or right wing base.

    Term limits is the only answer

  • Steven


    What I think most undermines trust in government is the influence of money. The truth is irrelevant in American politics, because the truth doesn’t make campaign contributions. As Mark Twain observed, we have the best Congress money can buy.

  • Garyf

    After seeing the health care fiasco last year, you bet we have a lack of trust.

    What a joke! Cornhusker kickbacks, backroom deals, not reading 2000 page bills before voting on it.

    A. Term limits! NOW

    B. Total disclosure campaign finance rules.

  • I would suggest that what we are actually experiencing is a deficit of trustworthiness – a subtle but important difference.

  • Bill


    Politicians are self serving and they really, really don’t want to make a decision that would cost them their seat in congress.

    Their job is to keep their job. Therefore, they will not make difficult decisions.

    However, maybe we citizens should look in the mirror. Individually we scream at them to cut waste but if they do cut a program we benefit from, oh we the citizens will whine and complain.

    The frog is slowing boiling and we’re stuck with politicians not leaders.

  • Dave

    I don’t buy these cynical blanket indictments of public officials. I have a healthy distrust of government, but I don’t expect public officials to be any more or any less depraved than the rest of us. I expect them to act in their own self interest. So did the founding fathers when they established checks and balances. I think we do injustice to assume that politicians will view corruption or unethical behavior as being in their self interest.

    I’d rather have a government of experienced, informed, career politicians that are skilled at their job and that respond to market signals in their electorate to stay in office than have a revolving door Congress of amateurs, enforced by arbitrary term limits. There is a steep learning curve for freshmen in Washington!

  • Steve the Cynic

    Our politicians represent us. If the’re incompetent, corrupt, or just plain stupid, what does that say about the folks who elected them?

  • William

    I think it’s more of a unwillingness to compromise on issues in the government that bleeds to distrust among the people. A war of egos where compromise is looked upon as weakness in a party, and we can’t move forward unless that is realized and worked on.

  • justacoolcat


    I won’t say politicians are self serving, but they definitely serve their party too much and spend too much time running for the next election.

    Additionally, I haven’t seen a single law being changed, passed, or revoked that didn’t have something to do with a lobby.

    The will of the people no longer exists.

  • Al

    Certainly there is a deficit of trust. About a decade ago a strategy took hold. The strategy is to lie often and with conviction until the public believes what you are saying is true. They then begin to promote the lie for you. One of the more striking examples is the ‘death panel’ argument.

    While elected officials have been part of this strategy, often it is non-elected partisan activists who do the brunt of the lying since they don’t plan to run for office. This strategy took hold at the same time that major media outlets came to see their organizations as money making instruments rather important players in ensuring a well-informed electorate. They replaced quality journalists with ‘personalities’. They eliminated the key people who had the knowledge and skill to keep the players on all sides of an argument honest.

    Now, policital activists with false messages simply choose their own media outlets to get the lies rolling and then wait for the other outlets to pick up the growing story. There will be a deficit of trust until this system ends.

  • James


    Some (not all) Lie, cheat, steal, and take bribes.

    They ALL vote themselves pay raises, travel exotically on taxpayer money, have their own Cadillac health care. Above all they DO NOT listen to their constituents.

    We need honest fair leadership…. not lawyers … we need successful business managers that will follow our Constitution. I voted for Henry Ross Perot….he is a leader!


  • Marcus

    Yes, but not neccesarily because it’s some new government trend, it’s just that the American people are more aware of it.

  • Jeannette

    Yes, yes, yes! If you call yourself a public servant, you should serve the population. It seems to me that most political leaders are busy defending their particular party and themselves. Whatever happened to lively discussion which includes listening? Our legislators might be surprised what they could learn if they would unfold their arms and listen to each other and to us, the people.

  • When our President reneges on his promise to increase tax on wealth the day after inauguration, he, if not our country, is approaching perilously close to a trust deficit chasm.

  • Cat

    The deficit is indeed one of “trustworthiness.” Instead of honest political discourse, we are subjected to scare tactics and extreme positions attributed to those of a different philosophy. We have seen retirement savings decimated by the actions of the greedy. Our e-mail is full of spam offering dubious products and services. Our personal information is sold to marketers. Our identities are stolen. It is difficult to sort the honest interaction from the exploitative assault. Enough said. Who should we trust?

  • Tim Goetsch

    Why do you ask?

  • MNPeeWee

    Is this a rhetorical question?

    Looking forward if it shakes out that Pres. Obama is just another politician who blinded us with promises un-kept, there will be a movement to make major changes to how our government has fashioned itself.

    What a shame that we live in a wonderful country and it seems that we have fallen for so many false promises. I believe capitalism has created a monster government tht runs on influence and we all know that we can’t trust that.

    God bless America and keep us safe from those who wish to self benefit without self restraint.

  • Jeff

    Trust must continually be earned; it is a privilege not a right.

    A politician winning an election in no way gives any indication that they are trusted or trustworthy. In an era of “least bad option” voting trust is, at best, a minor consideration. Remember the old “How do you know a politician is lying?” joke? The public would not believe a politician who actually tried to earn trust.

    The lack of trust runs far beyond politics. In the race to expand and grow accountability was lost in businesses. Bankers have shown themselves to be untrustworthy. Businesses pushing operations off shore after promising to keep factories open have not earned trust. Once a business becomes large enough, it becomes a nebulous entity and there is no one to trust or distrust.

    Many media sources fare no better. Pandering to the converted is the norm and meaningful open discourse is rare. The rapid news cycle compounds this by rendering coverage shallow as well as slanted.

    These point all converge to give rise to the self-selected networks which are formed on FaceBook and in other social media. The populace is reacting to lack of trust in the physical world by hoping to find a trusting place in the virtual.

  • Katie McDonald

    How couldn’t there be? This country is run by a few large corporations that have far too much power in Washington. How can we trust entities whose single goal is monetary profit.

  • GregS

    2,000 pages of health care “reform”?

    Nuf said.

  • jessica Sundheim

    Sincerely, I’ll have to look around the room tomorrow night and see who shows up! Get involved: The world is run by those who show up. In politics, it’s those who are involved in their parties who ultimately choose the candidates, rich or poor, trustworthy and great with ideas or not! It’s the neighborhood meeting months before November that counts, it’s the county convention and the state convention that makes the difference between a great person and a great candidate. Unfortunately, we have a deficit of community – not trust. Too bad we don’t read Rousseau in high school politics.

  • Dann Adair

    All of this ‘mis-trust of government’ stems from Ronald Reagan when he stated that government is the problem, not the solution. This is true with tyranny but is and never has been the American way. As I hear of friends and colleagues around the world literally living in fear and compare this to living anywhere in the U.S. and I quickly get disgusted by these non-participants taking cheap shots at ‘government’. This is at a time when we have a President who has dedicated his life to public service. Government workers I know work as hard as anyone in the private sector, the place where I dwell. Elected officials work even harder and put in many more than my 50+ hours a week. I challenge that most of these complainers couldn’t walk the walk.

  • Jennifer

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