WASHINGTON—At a time when widespread polling data suggests that a majority of the U.S. populace no longer trusts the federal government, a Pew Research Center report has found that the vast majority of the federal government doesn't trust the U.S. populace all that much either.
According to the poll—which surveyed members of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches—9 out of 10 government officials reported feeling "disillusioned" by the populace and claimed to have "completely lost confidence" in the citizenry's ability to act in the nation's best interests.
"All the vitriol and partisan bickering in Congress has caused most Americans to form negative opinions of the U.S. government," Pew researcher Amy Ratner said. "However, over the same time period, the government has likewise grown wary of U.S. citizens, largely due to their utter lack of foresight, laziness, and overall incompetence."
Added Ratner, "And the fact that American Idol is still the No. 1 show on television doesn't exactly make our government burst with confidence."
Out of 100 U.S. senators polled, 84 said they don't trust the U.S. populace to do what is right, and 79 said Americans are not qualified to do their jobs. Ninety-one percent of all government officials polled said they find citizens to be every bit as irresponsible, greedy, irrational, and selfishly motivated as government officials are.
Moreover, according to nearly 100 percent of respondents, Wal-Mart.
"It makes complete sense for Americans to lose faith in a government that has allowed lobbyists and special interests to take over Washington," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters. "That being said, you could see why Washington might likewise lose faith in a populace that apparently still suspects that its president is a secret Muslim who was not born in the United States."
Citing the billions of dollars wasted annually on flavored water and boneless buffalo wings, the number of drunk-driving deaths each year, and the lack of citizen accountability for the rise of Kim Kardashian, government officials registered extremely low opinions of the American people overall.
"This is the same American populace that failed to prevent us from deregulating the banks that almost caused a complete economic meltdown last year," Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) said. "Year after year, they elect terrible officials who make terrible decisions on their behalf. The fact that I, Jim Bunning, am a two-term U.S. senator really shows you just how far Americans have gone off the rails."
"I wouldn't trust anyone who voted me into office," he added.
Government skepticism is not confined to legislators, though. A cross-sampling of the U.S. Supreme Court found that only 1 in 9 justices believe the general populace to be ethical. Their confidence that the American people can resist consuming the newest Burger King sandwich just because it's there or at least keep it to one a week has also fallen to a 10-year low.
"They can't even fill out their census forms, for crying out loud," Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho said. "It's only 10 questions long. We're not talking about taking the SATs here. Jesus Christ, don't get me started on the SATs."
One typical respondent, President Barack Obama, said he found it hard to trust the judgment of U.S. citizens after recent events, including their decision to elect a president who promised health care reform and then come out against health care reform.
"How can I have hope for a nation that regularly protests tax cuts that directly benefit them?" Obama said. "Look, I'm not always perfect at my job, either, but I think I could make a halfway coherent comment on a YouTube video if I had to. Isn't that basically all they do?
Added Obama, "At this point, the only positive thing I can say about the American people is that I'm pretty sure they've never rigged an election in their favor."