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A new survey of Washington staffers and bureaucrats has found that they not only have an incredible contempt for the public they are supposed to serve, but their general knowledge of that public is mostly wrong.
Presented with simple multiple-choice quizzes, the bureaucrats failed badly. For instance, 65 percent of the DC insiders guessed that median household income is lower than it is in reality (about $52,000 a year). Almost four out of five respondents underestimated the percent of the population that is white (which is 78 percent of Americans). Sixty-four percent of those surveyed underestimated the cohort of Americans (age 25 and up) who have a high school diploma: It’s 85 percent. And 80 percent of respondents guessed that the rate of homeownership is lower than it is: 67 percent.
…Officialdom overestimates, by an average of 8 percentage points, the proportion of Americans who support increasing government spending in the areas of education, crime prevention, welfare and child care. This is blob bias: the mistaken belief that Americans want to direct more and more of our income to the blob so it can (fail to) solve more of our problems.
…Asked to estimate how much knowledge Americans have about various issues, the bureaucrats gave answers that were frankly contemptuous. According to government officials, 72 percent of Americans know “very little” or nothing about government aid to the poor. Eleven percent of officials think Americans know nothing — absolutely nothing — about science and technology policy, and another 60 percent think we know very little. Sixty-three percent of officials think we know little or nothing about environmental policy. According to the bureaucracy, 6 percent or less of Americans know “a great deal” about any of the nine issues sampled.
Read it all. The survey reveals a governmental class that is ignorant of the nation it rules, and contemptuous of that nation based solely upon that ignorance. It also confirms my impressions when I visited Washington in June for a policy conference.
I fear that the culture of Washington is becoming increasingly hostile to and insulated against the choices of the American electorate. I fear that they will one day soon decide to team up with the politicians they like to use the concentrated power we have given them in Washington to reject those choices, even to the extent of tossing out the Constitution and the democratic legal system that made the United States once the freest and wealthest nation in the history of the human race.
I hope I am wrong. I pray that I am wrong. I think we might very well find out in the coming year.