Survey Shows Americans Don’t See Federal Government Governing With Consent of the People

by Daniel Downs

In a July 2012 Rasmussen survey, a majority of Americans said “they still strongly agree with the central tenets of the document that declared the nation’s independence from Great Britain 236 years ago.”

The Declaration of Independence, ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, asserts that “governments derive their only just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Rasmussen Reports national survey found that 70% of American Adults agree with that statement, up from 66% last year and up from 56% in 2008.

In two other recent Rasmussen surveys, most Americans indicated the Federal government did not have that consent. Only 22% of the nation’s likely voters believe the government today has such consent. Based on political party, 8 percent consisted of Republicans and 21 percent were Democrats. That was the results of a June 2012 survey. An October 2012 survey confirmed this view with 60 percent of Americans stating the federal government was governing without their consent. With 15 percent saying they were not sure, only 5 percent were positive the federal goverment had the general consent of the American people.

So, what does this mean?

Looking at other recent Rasmussen surveys, a majority of Americans (66%) also said government has too much power and too little freedom. As the federal government gets bigger, individual freedom diminishes. That is why a majority of Americans (51%) see the federal government more as a threat to individual liberty than as its protector.

Obamacare is a perfect example of this threat to individual liberties and the lack of the consent of the governed. As of November 17, Rasmussen reports that most Americans (69%) believe the federal government lacks the authority (no consent) to make them purchase health care.

The financial issues underlying the “fiscal cliff” hype may also be perceived as an example of a lack of consent threatening individual liberty.

Obama’s politically motivated insistence on raising the taxes of the rich offers another demonstration of the same thing.

Looking at another way, government transparency and accountability are issues of Constitutional consent of the people governed. Are you among those who believe our government lacks this consent?

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