A hair shy of half of Americans believe the federal government presents "an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens," a new Gallup Poll finds.
According to Gallup, the 49 percent agreeing with the statement is "similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years. When this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude."
The results were evenly split, with 49 percent saying the federal government is not an immediate threat.
Among those saying the federal government posed a threat, 19 percent cited "too many laws/government too big in general" as a reason, while 15 percent mentioned "violations of freedoms/civil liberties."
Twelve percent cited the Second Amendment and 10 percent said there was "too much involvement in people's private lives."
Six percent mentioned a "socialist government."
The poll comes in the wake of a report last month that the federal government has lost track of how many departments and agencies it has.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute reported
on Aug. 26 that federal estimates on the number of agencies and departments range from 60 on the low side to an overwhelming 430 at the other end of the spectrum.
Clyde Wayne Crews of CEI writes that "[t]he Administrative Conference of the United States lists 115 agencies in the appendix of its 'Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies,' but notes: '[T]here is no authoritative list of government agencies.'"
"If nobody knows how many agencies exist whose decrees we must abide, that means we don’t know how many people work for the government (let alone contractors making a living from taxpayers) nor know how many rules there are," Crews surmised.
"But even when we isolate a given, knowable agency, the rise of 'regulatory dark matter' may make it hard to tell exactly what is and is not a rule."
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