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What do you fear most: big government, big business or big labor?
December 13th, 2011
03:55 PM ET

What do you fear most: big government, big business or big labor?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Fear of big government is close to record highs here in the U.S.

According to a new Gallup poll, 64% of those surveyed say big government is the biggest threat to the country. That's one point off the all-time high.

Compare that to 26% who are most worried about big business... and only 8% who say the biggest threat comes from big labor.

Americans have always been more concerned about big government than about big business or big labor since this question was first asked in 1965.

But what's interesting here is that Democrats actually lead the increase in concern about big government... this during the term of a Democratic president, Barack Obama.

Almost half of Democrats now say big government is the biggest threat to the U.S. That's up significantly from two years ago And more significantly, it's higher than the number of Democrats who worry about big business.

These poll numbers may also suggest that the Occupy Wall Street movement isn't catching on.

Despite the movement's targeting of corporate America, most Americans don't view big business as the greatest threat to the country.

In fact, the public's concerns about big business are down since 2009. Worries about big business actually peaked in 2002 - after the scandals at Enron and Worldcom.

But what the American people are worried about is big government and the role it plays in their day-to-day lives.

A government that has only gotten bigger under a president who's running for re-election.

Here’s my question to you: What do you fear most: big government, big business or big labor?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Economy • Government • On Jack's radar
soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. Adrian

    All 3 in this order: Big business, Big Labor, Big Government...

    December 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  2. Rob Riv, SLC UT

    All of the above. Too much centralization of power is the plague of this century. But Big Government first and foremost is at the heart. A bloated government with too much on its plate does many things but none of them well. Without an efficient and effective government it just becomes a Pyrrhic tool utilized for transferring wealth and causing division, dissension and ultimately destruction.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  3. Hidlo from Seattle

    I believe the source of big government is the direct influence of big money. Therefore; I believe big business is the problem we should seek to eliminate from our government, in order to begin to solve the problems created by both.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  4. nick

    Big business/big religion their beliefs are discriminating against the poor and minorities. To make it worse they have the funds to buy access to power.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  5. Jeff m

    Big government because that means less rights and more tax for useless programs. I

    December 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  6. Greg in Arkansas

    Big Business.....
    The only protection the average "Joe" has from being taken advantage of or being financially destroyed by "Big Business" today is either "Regulation" or "Litigation".....Two things that "Big Business" would like to reduce or eliminate.
    If "Big Business" succeeds, the "Free Enterprise" economy our country enjoys today will be replaced with "Plantations", "Share-Crop'ers" "Company-Stores" and poor folks.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  7. Loren

    Asking which I fear most is like asking which would hurt more - being poked in the eye, being forced to swallow acid, or being kicked in the groin, they're all going to hurt, and big anything is always scary. The truth is they they are sybiotic, one does not occur without the other, and they all create problems for the average person.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  8. Tom from Canonsburg

    I fear all 3, but for the most it's big business. They have the finances to cause change in law. There are many lawmakers that are bought & paid for by business. You can only slow or stop this is to not allow donations by people other than registered voters from that voting district. Of course, the Supreme Court says that is against freedom of speech. I personally do not think that someone from Texas has the right to influence the elections in Pennsylvania. I mention that, because it happened in the last election here.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  9. Jayne in NH

    Big business . . . by a long shot. Our country is in this economic mess because corporations care only about profit and have outsourced our jobs. People are under the impression it's just manufacturing – which is bad enough – but it's also white collar work. Your tax return may very well be prepared in India in the suite next to a radiologist interpreting your x-ray. Those lucky enough to have jobs have seen stagnate wages for 3 decades. On the other end of the spectrum, those living off their investment earnings and paying only 15% in taxes are living the good life. We're definitely living in a Gordon Gekko "greed is good" era.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  10. David , Laguna Niguel CA

    Jack, If you look at Russia and the Eastern Bloc, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Venezuela, and most other fallen societies through out history, it was not big business that brought them down. Big Government with the help of big unions has always been the cause.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  11. Joe R - Houston, TX

    Big Government. Without a doubt, the fundamental fly in the ointment of social, global, environmental and economical peace and tranquility are the unintended consequences of the US government ignoring it's constitutional limits in favor of parasitical democratic, mob tyranny.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  12. Deb in MT

    Let's see: "Big" labor has been in a steady decline for decades (roughly paralled with the decline of the Middle Class, but that's a story you probably won't cover); and, "Big" government can be voted out of office, or battled through the courts or through the initiative process in many states, so at least we have some limited remedy provided by our Constitution.

    That leaves "Big Business", aka today's unfettered, "lassaiz faire" Capitalism where the bottom line reigns supreme at the cost of a decent Middle Class life as jobs are sent overseas by the millions for the health of that 'bottom line'.

    But, what can we do about "Big Business", Jack? Here we are, living in a society that is being systematically destroyed by greed–where Wall Street is drooling over getting its hands on a privatized Social Security system; where people work 2 or 3 poor paying jobs just to pay bills as CEO's obscenely pad their own accounts; where privately owned mega businesses' own failures are bailed out by public monies (see "TARP" and the bank bailouts), but the unemployed public face an end to the unemployment insurance they have paid into their entire working lives; where a lifetime of honest work is 'rewarded' by an early layoff and robbed pension fund– yeah, here we sit wondering if there will be any American Dream left for our kids. And, how do we fight "Big Business"? Where do we go for redress against the rapaciousness of coorporate greed? Any ideas, Jack?

    "Big Business" has us all by the throat, and I don't know what to do about that.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  13. Bill Notre Dame City

    It is not these organizations I fear but the people in them because it is the people in them that make or break them! Besides, how can one politician (I) lead all of US to the promise land? I don’t remember seeing and I in team, do you? My problem with all politicians is the fact they want to make cuts or add funding to programs that are as they state in disarray! Does cutting or adding additional funds to these programs fix the problems with them? NO! They need to fix the problems with these programs so that they have a clear picture of where to make cuts or increase funding if needed. Look at all the political, special interest as well as self interest bureaucracy that has been added to all our programs, bills and laws over the past 200 plus years!

    December 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  14. TomInRochNY

    Our government only looks big, a facade. The Rs have been defunding parts of it for so long most agencies can barely fulfill their mandate, much less do it well. Unions are only a small percentage of the work force. Again, not all that "big". Big business is just that, big. Many so called "American" corporations are really international and can no long be considered American in any meaningful way. Too often they are controlled by those who only loosely call themselves American, if at all.

    You can vote to change your government. You can vote to change your union. You can't do much to change big business when they are all paying low wages, outsourcing/insourcing and buying off government and unions in order to make a bigger buck. Big business is our biggest problem and is the only thing we need to fear, fear itself is a distant second.

    Tom, Rochester, NY

    December 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  15. Jk from Minnesota

    Big Business – It's way too dangerous to have businesses that are too big to fail and so big that they can buy our elected officials now that the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling allows them to contribute endless dollars to campaigns.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  16. Russ in PA

    I fear them all equally, as the current system of crony-capitalism, mixed with a dose of Progressives and a dash of Neocons have effectively disemboweled the our Constitution, the free market system, property rights, and the rule of law. None of those "big three" have any interest but themselves at heart, and only a return to our Constitution and the free market will end the nonsense that passes for the warfare/welfare state in America these days.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    December 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  17. Conor in Chicago

    It's good that you've asked this question since this is truly what defines someones politics these days. Personally, my fear is big business. I tihnk the last 30 years really proves what happens when you give business too much power in a soceity. Government you can vote in and out. Labor serves as a counter measure to the excess' of business. But big business can destroy economies and impoverish millions if allowed to weaken labor and purchase government. Reading the news any given day should prove that by itself.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    Big government.

    Obama's administration is behaving like dictators, and subversives.

    Big Business and Big Labor are also major concerns, because they both have too much influence in the government, and in the case of Big Business, they have become so powerful they actually have the ability to take over small countries, which is a major concern.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  19. Bob H. from Orlando, FL

    Merry Christmas – Jack!!!

    I fear Big Business because as they seek to have their regulations cut enmasse; they will dominant the economic spectrum by sending even more jobs overseas at the expense of the middle class and poor. Then they will complain that Americans are not buying their goods and thus, blame the American worker for it. What I can not fathom is if big business is doing so poorly; why is it the CEOs continue to make megabucks??!! What would be the proper thing to do is to put country first by hiring American workers and stop the migration of jobs overseas. That's a tall order for Santa Claus to fill, but it would be something to see Big Business be more concerned about Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  20. Pat in Michigan

    I worked in a union for 30 years and they protected me on the rare ocasion when I had a boss with and axe to grind for no real reason. I paid my dues and did my job.
    Big business provides a product for a price and they usually deliver.You will always have some who see evil in big business.
    Big Govt. on the other hand has stuck it's nose in my bedroom, living room and wallet since the day I was born.
    I will decide if I smoke pot or cigars,drink champaign or drain cleaner and want to marry the girl next door or her brother.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  21. Jon Salsbury

    Well, as our nation's founders warned against, big government is the thing we need to fear the most. But an even bigger fear is when that over-sized government, armed with the power to control your life through tax policy and regulation, is nothing but a lap dog for either big business or big labor; or as in our current situation, lap dogs for both. Free market capitalism is not to be feared if the government does it's primary function, which is to protect the citizenry from enemies foreign and domestic. It's when the domestic enemies (business or labor) bribe politicians with campaign contributions – that's when the people begin to think of a second revolution because they are no longer being represented.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  22. Chris

    All three of these are bad and a check & balance system we once had seems to have gone by the boards as big moey speaks more loudly than principle (big surprise there) That said, Big Government is the most dysfunctional way to run the country. Bureaucrats issue rules wholie businessmen create jobs and hence capital to fuel the economy. Big labor has out-lived its usefulness as illustrated by the NLRB trying to destroy Boeing's prerogatives. There again, an example of Big Governemnt gone amok.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  23. Jon Salsbury

    Well, as our nation's founders warned against, big government is the thing we need to fear the most. But an even bigger fear is when that over-sized government, armed with the power to control your life through tax policy and regulation, is nothing but a lap dog for either big business or big labor; or as in our current situation, lap dogs for both. Free market capitalism is not to be feared if the government does it's primary function, which is to protect the citizenry from enemies foreign and domestic. It's when the domestic enemies (business or labor) bribe politicians with campaign contributions – that's when the people begin to think of a second revolution because they are no longer being represented.

    Jon
    Lima, Ohio

    December 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  24. Larry in Houston

    It certainly isn't Big Government ! We've got that already.

    Big Labor means : You may have to pay union dues to the big union bosses, so they can continue to line their pockets, telling you that they are "protecting you" & "working for you" – – all the while they are going on vacation to the bahamas, (for "union meetings") on your dime.

    Been there, done that, Jack – but I wasn't any of the "union bosses" – – I was one of the good 'ol workers, and thought I had a lifetime Job, worked at the Factory that closed / sold out / shut it's doors, and had to move out of the State I was born & raised in, & raised a family in. The only good thing that came out of it, was that I've found out that I ended up better off than I was before.

    As far as "Big Business" goes :

    35 years ago Reagan altered the WTO and 40,000 factories ran to COMMUNIST CHINA our enemy, Then Clinton signed NAFTA and 6000 factories ran to Mexico.

    Would this mean that the "Bigger" the Business IS, they would "continue" going to another country ? So they can manufacture with child labor ? or pay 3rd world wages ??

    Larry in Houston

    December 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  25. Kenneth in California

    Fear not, for better or worse, it is the great enterprise system in action.
    Without big business there would be no big government. They are one in the same. Twenty eight thousand lobbyists or so on K street in the nations capital tells us so. Entitlements, and the military/industrial complex ran up a fifteen trillion debt that created the consumption that has made big business bigger. There has to be a great amount of naivety, or plain stupidly to ignore our economic system we brag as the greatest in the world.
    As for Unions, not to fear, they are mostly middle class workers, and they are disappearing.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  26. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack,BIG government is choking our nation to its end..............the BIG nanny state sinks when it runs out of other people's money....................We are driving business out of our nation and crushing business with BIG government.
    the people should fear BIG goverment because take away the very thing that our founding fathers gave us and the
    men and women who died saving it for us.BIG goverment is the biggest danger this country has and its even choking on itself in the form of complete dysfunction.
    David

    December 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  27. john doe

    Common Jack. Its like asking which one do you prefer six or half a dozen. They are all the same ever heard of trinity? John doe. Houston texas

    December 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  28. Dan5404

    Without a doubt, big business. Greed fills many of their ambitions. They have virtually bought out the American political system, thanks to a right-wing Supreme Court ruling, gerrymandering, voter restrictions, and record numbers of filibusters against any legslation or appointments that would restrict their dominance.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  29. s in fl

    "Big Government" and "Big Labor" are only ideological boogeymen, created by the party that kisses the ring of the real-life clear and present danger that "Big Business" has become. I'm not afraid of boogeymen, Jack, but I'm sacred to death of the greedy sociopaths that are holding this country hostage.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  30. Dr.Giorgio

    Big business has always been the most dangerous and treacherous to the honest individual, public, and enterprise. There has always been intrique, lies, dishonesty,harm, and greed associated with big business. It's the most fear provoking of them all!

    December 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  31. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    That's a no brainer. Big business, of course. Big government and big labor are for redistributing wealth from the top down. That benefts the middle class and the poor. Big business is for redistributing the wealth from the bottom up. That hurts the middle class and the poor. We can't take much more of that. The Wall Street squeeze has hurt the middle class a lot more than have big government or big labor.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  32. GJ

    I fear Big Rich MEDIA Companies and their rich puppets who spread Hate and Fear.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  33. Rex in Portland, OR

    Let's see:

    Big labor created a middle class; gave birth to the "American Dream"; allowed the common man to plan his future; redistributed the assets of this nation from the top through the bottom (with some success).

    Big government guaranteed the right of the middle class to exist; provided a means of retirement for millions; eased the financial burden of retirement especially with regard to medical expenses; kept the scavengers from devastating the surface of the planet (with some success).

    Big business has spent its entire existence trying to undo and/or countering the gains made by big government and big labor; claimed a cause and effect relationship that does not exist between rich and poor; denied any contribution of its successes from working people; equated dollars with votes and corporate power with personal power and responsibility; gerrymandered and perverted laws concerning taxes beyond all recognition and effectiveness; usurped the resources of this planet for the sole benefit of its owners; demeaned charity; and now is screaming at the top of its lungs for the repeal of all control.

    For once an easy question, Jack.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  34. Gary H. Boyd

    Big government first and foremost since it hasn't a clue what it's doing. Big Labor's next in line since its demands are simply excessive and, finally, Big Business because, it's still the engine driving the whole machine.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    December 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  35. Oliver El Paso, TX

    What we need is afunctional government, instead of do nothing congress that wants to make the president look bad, he will leave office with all his Benefits boy they sure are hurting him, they only people they have hurt is American citizen!

    December 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  36. Brad, Portland, OR

    Big Business, by far.

    Big Labor isn't so big anymore. Only something like 7% of Americans belong to unions anymore.

    And Big Government is restricted by rules and laws that limit what it can do, not to mention the standard tension between Republicans and Democrats that prevents the government from doing anything big without buy-in from both sides.

    But Big Business is almost entirely free to do whatever they want. Whatever few regulations they have are poorly-enforced, easily avoided, and you have the Republicans trying to eliminate them altogether.

    Big Business can violate your privacy, steal your money, get you thrown in jail for listening to music, and pollute your air and water.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  37. Tina Tx

    Neither. What scares me the most is to get another Republican filled Washington and they will finish off the poor and middle class. Newt will set us back generations where the people worked for peanuts and had no safety rules which today the Republicans are still pushing to get rid of labor unions that protect workers right. I do not want my America to become like the past. They will decrease miminum wage. Vote wisely my fellow Americans. Our future rests on your backs.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  38. Ken in Seattle

    It is like asking ones preferred way of drowning. There isn't one. All three are detrimental to the country's general well being when they become too large and put the self interest of the few before the rights and interests of the many. But big business, with it's frequent and extraordinary disregard for anything but enhancing the profits of corporations and the wealth of those who run them at any and all costs to the average American, is a beast that needs to be tamed regardless of the effort it takes to do so. Big business, in all of its manifestations, has stolen the American dream and they are not going to give it back without a fight. Let the revolution begin.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  39. Eugene Myers Flat, CA

    Big government by far. It's already out of control.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  40. Dennis north carolina

    I fear big business because of the power and money they control. you only fear big government if they take away your freedom or rights. big labor unions control a small percentage of the work force in certain areas of the country which limits its power. so big business is the one to fear because of the money they control all around the world can buy them power which means they can control you life,your freedom and your rights by controlling officials in government. remember money talks and all the rest is trash. our economy is a disaster because of big business but they are making money while you have to look for your next meal.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  41. Paul - North Carolina

    Careful, Jack, you could be charged with inciting the tea party to riot. I don't fear any of them. Why should I? Each has it's place in our society and plays an important role in our lives. They each also have a dark side. That is why we have laws, regulations and public opinion to keep them in check. People who think we should have none of the above should be required to spend a year in a third world country. They would find out soon enough it isn't Shangri-La.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  42. Capt Crunch

    Not on the list, but our biggest fear should be the big military industrial complex.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  43. tom bulger

    The lobbyists of Big Business tell Congress and the Court where to throw the monkey wrenches. Consequently, the Executive Branch of "Big Government" can only manage to limp along. Big labor is a shadow of the movement that created the middle class. Where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

    December 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  44. B. J., Quincy, Il

    I fear big government because it seems they forget where they came from and who they represent, big business because they don't even consider us as a number anymore, big labor because they get greedy and forget who they represent and what is reasonable.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  45. Kevin in CA

    Incorrect list of possible answers.
    Correct answer: Righteous right-wing politicians.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  46. Richard35 Canfield, Ohio

    Historically Big Business has been a thorn in the backs of the working class. Examples are the Gold Rush, Cattle Men, Oil, Big Banks especially.So I would say Big Business is to be feared the Most!

    December 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  47. Bob D Iowa

    Big Business. After working with Senior Management for years, at a manufacturing co, I found that they will do anything to turn a profit at the publics and workers expense. I know of short cuts that were taken to control serious environment issues. The last was to give away several buildings to the city that were to be demolished but were filled with asbestos contamination, and that information didn’t get disclosed to anyone outside the small group doing the evaluation. The estimated clean-up and removal, by the company, was $6 million whereas the donation and the city doing the demolition to reclaim the land got the company tax breaks. A 5 story office building was attached to this property where hundreds of employees sat and worked unknowingly and unprotected of the lifelong dangers for months while the city had the property torn down. Now every time I hear the Republican candidates talk about removing the EPA I think of those people that where and will be effected.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  48. Eugene Myers Flat, CA

    Big government is the greatest threat by far Jack. A big government would become full of entrenched, arrogant, elitist, greedy politicians that would ignore the will of the people. Hey, we already have that.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  49. Eric

    Big Government is what I fear the most because the other two are consequences of it.

    Eric
    Buffalo, NY

    December 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  50. Gerry

    All three equally. But government at the top of the list.

    Gerry
    Ash Fork, Az

    December 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  51. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I fear big business the most. Big labor is on the ropes and does not have near the power it once had. Big business and there powerful lobbyist are filling the pockets of Congressman and controlling legislation. Every year more people are working for less and asked to do more. They lose their benefits while working longer hours. I fear that if big business is allowed to getting its way we will keep going backwards. By backwards I mean working in an unsafe atmosphere while big business is allowed to pollute the air we breathe. Newt Gingrich even mentions bringing back child labor. We are one step away from sweatshops and kids going back into mines.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  52. Greg M.

    Jack, All of those options pale in comparison to what truly scares me. Some big-headed Republican who has all of the answers,and yet has failed to produce anything meaningful to help Americans in the last 3 years. That person would finish driving the America as we know it into the ground which was started by many failed policies of Obama's predecessor. That's the fact,Jack. Greg M. FL

    December 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  53. Dave - Phx

    I fear big business, because unlike government and big labor, we hold no power over them, and they hold power over both.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  54. Steven

    Big business, by far. Big government is not a problem in a democracy. The push for Small government is inherently anti-democratic. A small government is one that is unable to regulate and control "Big Business" in the interest of the public good. Our government was designed to be large and strong to carry out the will of the people and to do things that are in the best interest of everyone, not just the chosen few that are able to bribe their way into greater prosperity only for themselves

    December 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  55. Ed from Harrisburg

    Jack, I don't fear any of those things and think you are playing into partisan politics. What I do fear is big-mouthed politicians and big divides in our legislatures and growing gaps between the middle class and poor with the rich. I think perhaps bigger government, stronger labor unions and higher taxes with less political windbags, less divisiveness and less extremism is what I welcome.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  56. Dave, Orlando, FL

    You forgot one Jack, “Big Brother.” And the answer is, all four. All of those entities are stomping on the middle class for all they are worth.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  57. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    so called "Big Business" by a mile, Jack.

    these so called "Captains of Industry" are ALL a bunch of crooks who rob their emplyees, stockholders and the general public. they USED to be balanced by Government regulation and strong labor unions. that is no longer true and look at what has happened to America the past 30 years.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  58. andy

    looking at the economic crises now facing the people today I would have to say big business. They used massive amounts of money to buy congress to get the biggest tax breaks ever ( GE 12 billion in profit 52,000 page tax return = no taxes). They can hire millions of people at anytime they want but choose to do nothing because of the uncertainty of the economy that they caused.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  59. John from Alabama

    Jack I fear big business, because big business shot the housing market in the butt. I fear the players who destoryed 401K's of John Q. Public. I fear Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman-Sachs, and AIG. These companies and many others help the stock market to drop to 6500 point from a high of 12,500 points. Big business set up Merrill-Lynch and Countrywide Mortgage companies to fell. I fear that there will be no oversite of the financial sector, because business has to many lobbyist in their pockets. Big business buys and sells Congressman and Senators eveyday.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  60. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, I don't fear big business & big labor because they don't have the power to imprison me at gunpoint.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  61. MARK, OKLAHOMA CITY

    Right now, Jack....you've got me just fearing the word "big" all by itself.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  62. jen seattle

    Big business. They abuse labor and Buy off govt officials. All while repressing communities with thier draining of capital out of local nieghborhoods.Only to be given to non working shareholders who care nothing for others

    December 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  63. Minesh Baxi

    Jack, always the big government! They make the laws and have the police and the military to enforce the laws.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  64. David Doherty

    That's kind of a trick question, isn't big business and big government one in the same? The fact that their so closely meshed with one another is what scares me. I think the real question should be what scares you more, is it that government and big business have become such close bedfellows or the fact that our government can't make a move without worrying about how the church feels about it.
    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  65. Dr. Gothican

    Big business left without restrains and safeguard; Oh my God! Definitely big business! Scares the hell out of me! This is what Thomas Jefferson said about big business, "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

    Remember Tom said this long before the giant Corporations of today. Oh soooooo SCARY!!!!!

    Dr. G...................

    December 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  66. Bert from L.A.

    Hi Jack, my fear is shareholders have no personal responsibility regulating the bad deeds of their global corporations which are more capable of destroying our lives and planet than all their forerunners plus organized crime combined. Our rights to clean air, water, oceans and energy; to peace, safe food and other goods can only be secured by a strong government. Likewise, fairness at work can only be secured by strong labor unions.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  67. Ed from California

    I fear Big(Tea-Koch-Republican) Government the most, that is plainly bought by the Koch brothers. I fear the Supreme (bought off) Court ie. Citizens United. Our republican government as allowed the outsourcing of our jobs, attacking the wrong country, allowing trade w/a communist country(why don't we trade w/Cuba?),allowing anyone w/a heartbeat to buy a home, allowing our banking industry, to steal our retirement savings (we bail them out, and not us?), allowing high gas prices, allowing corporate welfare(subsidies), Tax breaks for the "Jobs Creators"...the jobs they "created" are in communist China......and a lot more....

    I fear Big Business that is willing and happy to shut down factories here and send them to foreign lands. I fear that said corporations would be willing to do harm to this country, just for profits. These people "Citizens United" are a Clear and Present Danger to the United States of America. I though Congress swears to uphold and defend the Constitution against, All enemies foreign and DOMESTIC. Isn't that what these corporations exactly are?

    I don't fear Big Labor, except the big labor that's in Mexico and communist China, besides, there is no more Big Labor here.....all there jobs are gone anyway. I do fear that some of these people will get desperate and start robbing people or business's just to feed themselves and their families. What in the hell are future generations going to do w/increasing debt(borrowing, unfunded Wars), w/no jobs? Most of our jobs are gone!!

    Mr. Boehner!!! Where are the jobs???

    December 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  68. John B.

    Big business scares the daylights out of me Jack. Also: Banks "too big to fail". Companies "too big to fail". Billionaires "too big to tax". Politicians "too big to vote out of office". Fast food and resturant meals "too big to eat". Kids in school "too big to discipline". Sport salaries "too big to stomach". This whole world is "too big for me to understand".

    December 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  69. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,
    Big Business. Because right now they are the uncontrolled beast in the ecosystem. When all 3 (Government, Business & Labor) are in balance the ecosystem (society, economy) is healthy and thriving. The U.S. needs a healthy ecosystem in order to thrive.

    December 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  70. Cy Gardner

    I fear big business the most by a wide, wide margin. I can't vote out a greedy CEO. The governement is not allowed to make me prove my innocence before bringing charges, yet corporations can intimidate employees with drug tests and other forms of corporate control. I can speak out against a corrupt or incompetent politician. Try telling your boss what a greedy, no nothing moron he or she is. Both government and corporate bureaucrats believe in punishing people for telling the truth. But the corporate bureaucrat is more likely to get away with it. Finally, how many politicians (even Republicans) walk away from office with golden parachutes worth 100 million dollars or more? cy from arlington, va

    December 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  71. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Big business owns Big Government which has been insturmental in crushing Big Labor. It shouldn't be difficult to follow the crumbs...

    December 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  72. Randy

    Neither, it is a bought off government by corrupt big business for the benefit of the rich. The media being in the pockets of big business and trying to push forward this false equivalent meme that unions are on the same level as corporations is the scariest of all.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  73. Doug Ericson

    You can't seperate big business from big goverment anymore. Labor is a distant third. Doug, pepperell MA.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  74. Al from Sandy Hook

    Big business would be my biggest fear. Simply because big labor and to a certain degree, big government does have certain concerns for average people. But from what we've seen in this generation alone, big business (and banks) ensure their needs come first.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  75. Lynn R - Minneapolis, MN

    They are all synonymous as far as I can tell! Our government today is run by Big Banks, Big Business, and Wall Street. Sure: throw in Big Labor too.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  76. Maja Rater, Casey, Iowa

    What we have now: an ineffectual government which willfully refuses to serve its citizens!!

    December 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  77. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    All three are destructive, but at this point in America's history, I'd have to say that big business is the most harmful, because somehow it has managed to convince politicians that "maximizing shareholder value" is a legitimate driving philosophy for managing corporations. Forget that this perverted goal permits companies to misuse their employees and send their jobs offshore, effectively thumbing their nose at the communities which had partnered with those same companies. Big business appears to be degrading America by focusing solely on earning ever larger profits for their shareholders no matter what the cost to American society as a whole.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  78. wayne, va beach, va

    Big gov. The other 2 canbe controlled eaiser.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  79. Bill of New Mexico

    All 3 are dangerous and undemocratic.

    Big government was the first of these 3 to rear its un-democratic head.

    The "whiskey rebellion."

    By the way, President Washington brewed whiskey–but, Washington did not pay taxes on his whiskey that he sold.

    Big business grew steadily in the 19th century.

    The power and corruption of big business peaked with the "robber barons." The hatred of the railroads is one reason why many people cheered Jesse James.

    Big government was not able to stand up to big business until FDR gave big government teeth.

    Big labor made a showing after WWII.

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Big government is the most dangerous. The middleclass rose and fell in the 20th century because of very high pay. Big business paid big labor high wages and other workers high wages to prevent the expansion of labor unions. Now, that big labor has been defeated–these high wages are being removed. And, the middleclass is vanishing.

    Big government and big business (maybe big labor) are needed. Like fire is needed, but fire must be controlled.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  80. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    I fear a government that is bought and paid for by big business. That is what has led us to exactly where we are, with big business sitting on trillions in profits while 14 million Americans are unemployed. Taxes are low and profits are high – I wish the so-called "job creators" would, you, know, create some jobs.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  81. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    Jack, that's an easy one to answer. Big Busin ess is of course the correct answer. They have somehow gone awry in their corporate goals and missions. Their priorities used to be Company; Employees; Customers or Consumers, then Shareholders. As long as they took care of the first items, shareholders got a nice little profit with no personal sweat or involvement in day to day or strategic decisions. Now, all you hear from CEOs is that Shareholders demand record profits. These same shareholders are the first to complain when our infrastructure fails to meet their demands, but that's because short sighted CEOs have outsourced or off-shored the jobs that create tax revenues to take care of our nation's problems, all because of the outrageous demands of shareholders. We need to get back to common sense approaches. Make a good product while engendering ownership by employees to create great marketable products, so consumers will buy them for their total value, then shareholders will share in the benefits as the company grows.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  82. Valerie in Raleigh

    I do not fear the re-educated Labor Movement. They are the ones who gave us safe working conditions, reasonable pay and, through their efforts, a strong middle class was formed. Today big business is another word for greed – ship jobs overseas where people work for pennies a day, no benefits and polution rules. Cut the word force to the bone but give the CEO's huge salaries, great benefits, stock options, big bonuses and, of course, golden parachutes. And the Republican party does everything to protect them. Is it any wonder the people of this country feel so beaten down.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  83. Frances

    With their track record I would say big business is by far the choice to be feared. With their stock market manipulation, their hidden fees, their ultra huge compensation, their taking huge bonuses after a failing business, their out sourcing of jobs, their lowering wages for employees, their taking away pensions and benefits, their million dollar donations to politicians who will vote for no tax increase for millionaires and billionaires.

    I would say I would trust Government more after the tea party Republicans are voted out. And we can get rid of one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever, the one that says corporations are people.

    Frances

    December 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  84. Annie, Atlanta

    Big business. They run the show. They write the laws, buy the politicians, make record breaking profits, pay CEOs obscene amounts of money. Hard working Americans are expected to work more for less. We're losing our homes, jobs, and lives. Even a majority of our justices are owned, invited to their brain-storming sessions on how to take even more. And it takes a publication like Der Spiegel in Germany to point out what's going on, because our for-profit media won't tell us, and in some cases flat out lies to us. We're in trouble thanks to corporate greed, and most of us don't even know it, being told it's all the fault of teachers and firefighters. Good God we've lost our way, our humanity, and all common decency in the name of the almighty dollar. Is this what a civilization in decline looks like?

    December 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  85. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    If by big, do you mean that government is trying to micro manage everything we do? If so, then, yes, government has gotten too big. The other thing that concerns me is this incessant need for elected officials to stall legislation in hopes that it will keep someone from getting re-elected. It has to stop. Look what this childish behavior has done to this country.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  86. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    Big business is the tail that wags the dog of big government. Americans need to remember the words of President Eisenhowser, spoken over 50 years ago, but perhaps never more salient than today. " In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

    December 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  87. dave in nashville

    Big business and big labor recede depending on market conditions, big government never goes away, it just takes away more rights with a million more laws...and they expect you to know all of them! Unreal.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  88. Dave

    Woodstock, Connecticut

    i fear BIG LABOR the most.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  89. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, I fear big business most of all. They work for the bottom line, above the wellfare of their emplyees, above the good of the country, above all else. Of course, big labor is problematic. No one should be guaranteed a job for life just because they join a union. Performance is still vital. Big government for the sake of big government isn't ideal, either. Finally, any form of government led by this crop of Republicans is worse than all of the above.

    December 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  90. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    Big business, who has all the same incentives now that they did in 2009 to fire people because the CEO and owners only pay a 15% dividend rate for cutting jobs, thanks to the GOP and Obama's geeking on letting their tax policies expire. Also, the overuse of antibiotics in our food – as dictated by big business – will be the source of the next pandemic. What's not to fear and loathe, Jack?

    December 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  91. andyz Lynn, MA

    What do I fear the most? The super rich, buying the Republican party, having the party of Lincoln do their bidding and turning the middle class into vassals and serfs in their rush to riches. Unmitigated greed that will do what the communists could not: destroy America. The rich need to remember what happened to the wealthy in other times and countries, i.e. see France.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  92. Cy Gardner

    BIG business OWNS big govenment. Just like paper covers rock. Why haven't there been prosecutions for selling lousy securities that were bound to fail and that nearly brought down the world economy? Oh, because the politicians they bought made all those sleazy moves legal. Why is America the only country that pays RETAIL for bulk purchases of pharmaceuticals? Because the politicians they bribed made it illegal to negotiate a discount. Why do we give billions in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that net over 12 billion dollars profit in a QUARTER??? I could continue to go on and on. But it is clear that BIG business is the big dog and Congress is the tail. The tail is not wagging the dog. Fear the dog, the teeth are not in the tail. cy from arlington, va

    December 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  93. RickFromDetroit

    Turn the clock back 3 years when big business, wall street, big banks, & big real estate came close to bankrupting the entire U.S. & Foreign Economies. What stopped the collapse of the World Economies was "BIG GOVERNMENT" Many economists did not think that a full economic collapse could be avoided, and many still think that a "Double Dip Recession" is possible. BIG GOVERNMENT continues to pour money into the economy, but the BIG DUMMIES continue to blame BIG GOVERNMENT for the economic mess that BIG BUSINESS created.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  94. Simon/Orlando

    Big government means big labor. The only expansion of jobs has been in the government sections which naturally means more people in government unions. The fear is, of course, who's working for who. Is the government working for us as it was intended or are they taking over and are we starting to work for them?

    December 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  95. HJ - Saint Paul, MN

    I don't even know if I can believe this poll Jack. Big business cripples the entire country's financial market, and the big government saves them, and people are afraid of government? How does that make sense? Sure the government has flaws. So? The Republicans will try and convince you we need to eliminate the Postal Service to save money. A stamp costs 44 cents. FedEx costs around 20 dollars. Ok... Well I can add Jack. My Comcast bill is a hundred bucks a month and I used to get TV for free! The Community College I went to was $180 a credit. My dad went to a technical school for a $20 registration fee. These guys aren't saving us money! My phone bill is 1/4 of my CAR payment. 3,000 lbs of metal, plastic, and glass which is ALSO able to process radio waves, costs only 4 times as much as my PHONE. My car insurance costs over half my car payment! Can we stop letting Big Business swindle us please?

    December 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  96. Burt in Az

    Being one of the 99% I fear big business since they control the Big Government through their paid lobbyists and the recent Supreme court decision not limiting political donations by corpoations. In effect they are big government.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  97. Adam

    Big Business, especially now that the Supreme Court has lifted the limit on campaign donations. It is now politics for higher. Government and Labor needs to be able to expand and contract, people don't seem to realize this. Just as taxes need to be raised at times and then cut at others. This crazy ideology that it has to be all one or the other is proving to be the country's biggest obstacle. Ideology is the path to the impractical. That is why the Bush cuts had an expiration date in the first place! So others at a future date could decided if it was practical to continue them or not... Big Business is another term for big money and overly consolidated power which can not be counter balanced, which is why it poses the greates threat.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  98. Ed from Texas

    I fear big business controlling our government. The recent financial panic was not caused by too little regulation. Laws written to prevent another Depression were repealed at the behest of the bank lobby. And it continues: For the 2012 election, the financial industry has made campaign contributions six times as much as labor and three times as much as health care.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  99. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-Greensburg,IN

    I said along time ago big government is the biggest threat to the country. Much worse than the terrorists even with the 9-11 included. Who killed the most people "The Towers" or the " Iraq-Afghan War"? Who put "US" in debt to the point of being totally ridiculous? Who refuses to do anything for the people of this country and is only concerned about their welfare and keeping their job? Who talks the talk and that's all they do?
    "OUR" government! they all need arrest and shot for "TREASON!"

    December 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  100. ken robinson

    What I fear most is our congress, who is trying to join the ranks of North Korea, Russia, and Iran - Congress would give the president ultimate authority to detain American citizens indefinitely in military custody under the final version of a defense bill expected to pass this week. Where is our EDWARD R. MURROW?

    December 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  101. Rich in Gainesville FL

    Since what I most fear is the unholy alliance between big business and big government, and since people are now getting wise to the threat of big government, I would have to say my fear is the one we're still being seduced by: big business. You only need to look at the collusion between business and government that allowed – no, begged – for the 2008 bubble to burst and be followed by massive Wall Street bailouts. I don't believe a government of the people would have taken off all the safeguards that virtually guaranteed this mess. It was a government bought and paid for by big business. They need to be targeted. Not because they're rich or the 1% but because of what they've done to our form of government

    December 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  102. lilmagothy, annapolis

    Big government's job is to perpetuate itself at all costs. What the government gives you, it can take away, and usually does. I fear big government because it's owned by big business, and I fear big business because it owns all of life's neccessities – food, energy, transportation, water, finances. With government and big business in collusion, we're all screwed.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  103. Gigi Oregon

    I fear big business more. They are the ones who bought our government leaders with cash under the table., insider trading deals and bailouts. We do need changes in government practices. No lobbying, term limits and a new tax code, just to name a few things. With out a strong government and rouge states, we would be in a civil war, with all the corruption in business and government.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  104. MYSTEROIUS

    Republicans if they ever get back in office, along with Big Business.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  105. Conor in Chicago

    The only reason people fear big government over big business is because big business has systematically purchased big government and big media and, as a consequence, berate the US population all day with messages reaffirming the fear of big government so they can consolidate more power. I can guarentee all of you that if we, as citizens, were able to counter the power that corporate America has over our government we'd all LOVE big government because we'd make it work for us and not our corporate masters.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  106. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Big business, they have the big bucks which means they can buy off the politcians. Obama and congress are owned by big business.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  107. Renee Peoria,Ill

    This just proves that American intelligence numbers are on the way down. Big business is running the government behind the scenes by buying off politicians. Get a brain, people!

    December 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  108. Willow

    I fear big business running government. We have a corporocracy now, where corporations pay well for what they want, regardless of what is good for this country or its citizens.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  109. Charles - San Antonio

    I fear big goverment because it cost too much and we cannot, or will not, pay for it. We need an effective goverment, a goverment that protects the economy and consumers from big business. If that goverment is big, that's fine as long as it lives within its resources.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  110. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Definitely big business.

    Probably the single cause for a large government is the lack of responsibility and virtue among much of big business. Republicans keep trying to deregulate industries, and the government keeps having to bail the economy out. It has happened with the airlines, the electrical industry, most recently the banks, auto manufacturers, and wall street. All failures of deregulation causing government to enlarge.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  111. Dale N.M.

    I'm scared of big government is seems that big government is meddling in everything these days, to the food you eat to the total paper you use and everything else in between, get government out of people's business things will pick up real fast.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  112. LA Belle

    Congress, which is part of government, is the culprit of our demise. It's not fear, it's just plain disgust. They need to go on another vacation and practice sky-diving off the grand canyon.

    Big business is the golden opportunity for the 1% only. We pay them incentives to stay in business while they lay-off their employees. Their greed is repulsive and it's outragous how they are destroying our work force. If they cause total unemployment, who the hell can afford to buy their crap? Businesses just need to keep outsourcing to foreign countries and they will reap what they sow. The only fear is, it will take too long to come about.

    Big labor, as in unions–they put up a good fight against other greed and corruption. That's why many big businesses deny their employee's union rights; it interferes with CEO's big pay and bonuses. Let the unions rip-up big businesses that reap their fortunes off the backs of hard workers.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  113. Susan-NJ

    Big business and too big to fail banks and the credit default swaps that caused it along with CEO's like Jon Corizine.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  114. Curtis in Philadelphia

    Why don't we have the choice of "big lobbyists" Jack? After all they are truly the ones driving this train, right into the ground for most of us and straight to the country club for a select few, a very select few.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  115. Sandstone.

    "Big, belittles smal? Small assumes, big, is a threat? You cannot have anything bigger than anything else allows?
    I never fear Government, only those none thinkers! I could never fear, Big-Money. But people, who are pure ignorant and want something for nothing, I think everybody else should be more aware. "

    December 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  116. Karl in Flint

    Big business and George Bush are the reason we are where we are. No business should monopolize any industry and there are laws about that, but they are generally ignored more then followed. Labor unions have made the middle class by improving wages and benefits at one time, Now that is even going into the past. We need business but it should not dominate the other two as they do today.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  117. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    It is hard to believe that the American public cannot see that big business pimps government via the "personal lubricators" called Lobbyists. We used to say Government for sale or the best government that money can buy however now it is hard to say what people fear, but "big"...is quite enough to fear. Unions, what unions, government unions ?

    December 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  118. Jerry in Alaska

    Ya forgot NON of the above, Jack.
    When ya know Jesus, Yeshua, whats to worry, other than about those that refuse to know about his love & promises we see being fulfilled daily for these End of Days.

    That Big Govt. Big Business & Big UNION are all coming real soon as mentioned in Revelation 13; check it out its an any day thing now.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  119. Dale N.M.

    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. ~Thomas Jefferson

    December 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  120. calaurore9

    Big business needs big labor. That means lots of big jobs. That means smaller government. Big win for everyone.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    December 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  121. Lloyd, Penticton, Canada

    Big business
    They control the government as long as they have Republicans in congress. Republican state governments are trying to eliminate unions, because they are the only ones trying to help the low to middle income people. It seems that if Republicans/conservatives have their way there would be the rich (Republicans) and the poor.
    The Republican state governments are also trying to deprive African/Americans from their right to vote because they vote Democrat – for all people not just the rich.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  122. MNResident

    The old expression rings true: "A Government big enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take everyuthing you have". Only Big Government (not big labor or big business) can declare wars and force you (by instituting a draft) to fight it. Only Big Government can create internment camps like Manzanar in World War II to inter people based on their race. Only Big Government has the power (by eminent domain) to forcibly take your property against your will. Only Big Government can create a system that leads to your forced execution. Life, Liberty, Property–Only Big Government can take them all away from you. The others have to get the permission of Big Goverment to do so.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  123. Ken - Kingsport, TN

    Big business and Wall Street already own 80% of our Big Government. Big Labor owns another 19%. I fear all three.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  124. Jim

    Jack,

    I don't fear Big Government or Big Labor at all. In this country, they've never been a threat to the citizenry. Big Business, on the other hand, gives me nightmares. On the one hand, it's necessary in our capitalist economy. On the other hand, allowed to run wild, as the Republicans so clearly intend, it could destroy us. We need Big Business operating within common sense restraints. That's when America hums along like a well-oiled machine.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    December 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  125. Cindy

    I have come to fear BIG government most. Government can force me to give my land to a big business or to buy a product I do not want or need. BIG Government can force me to over pay for labor. BIG Government can take my earnings and give to big business and big labor (prevailing wage and union rules) as "economic development". BIG government can force me to buy a costly product or fund costly sports stadiums to benefit its donors. Big Government can force me to submit to medical procedures I do not want (lobotomies, vaccines, medical testing)

    Finally, BIG government has rigged the ballot access laws and the election processes to assure that the current corrupt parties stay in power.

    I truly fear BIG Government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  126. jeff

    Big business is monitored by government, but who monitors big government? Themselves? Big government has the military and the FBI and the CIA. They do what they want. They can take your stuff, by force. They can imprison you. They can execute you. Big business can't do any of those things. Be careful in what you wish for with big government. You can't escape them. You can escape Ford and IBM and Shell Oil. You CAN'T escape the long, long arm of big government. You may like what they take from others today, but you won't like what they take from YOU tomorrow.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  127. Ralph Nelson

    Big Business and their right-wing political arm ALEC (American Legislative Executive Committee) back by Koch Brothers and a list of right-wing American companies who wouldn't believe. They have trained John Banner, Eric Cantor, the right-wing governors trying to destroy labor unions. There the ones who have introduced or had passed state legislation to deny voting rights to the young, elderly, and minorities. They are behind the Tea Party. They plan to control Congress and the presidency to use it like a piggy bank to control legislation favorable to Big Business. The Robber Barons from the 19th century. What amazes me is nobody has filled in the dots. They even pay large speaking fees to three of the Supreme Court justices including the Chief Justice. Big Business-ALEC-GOP alliance deeply worries me and is the greatest threat.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  128. Karen, Idaho

    Big business is by far the most scary. They have bought all of our politicians ( so that the people's voice is no longer heard), outsourced companies to foreign countries (so that there are no jobs for American workers), and pocketed as much of America's wealth as they can get their greedy hands on.(while paying almost no taxes to support the country).

    December 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  129. Scott Stodden

    I Fear Big Business And Big Labor More Than I Feel Big Government Because I Don't Feel Government Is To Big Or To Small I Feel That Government Is Not Doing Big Enough Actuallly!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    December 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  130. Pete/Ark

    None of the above Jack. After watching the Republican debates I'm petrified by Big Egos.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  131. Clephas from Austin, TX

    Unrestrained big business is what I fear most... in particular the big banks I find more frightening in the long run. In the end, a government is fairly easy to take down... just show enough popular discontent for long enough and most governments will fold in on themselves eventually. However, big business... at a whim they can end the working lives of millions simply because they find it more profitable to move their assets somewhere else. At the same time, they also have the power – in the form of massive amounts of money – to manipulate government institutions either through bribery or lobbyists, so they are in many ways just as bad as the extreme liberal lobbies and the extreme conservative lobbies. Big labor is a necessary evil in a post Industrial Revolution society, because employers will always take advantage of employees if they get a chance. At the same time, the tendency to seek unsustainable contract terms has become such a part of daily existence for them that they are themselves almost as much of a destabilizing influence as the big banks...

    December 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  132. Mike M, Lee's Summit, MO

    My fear of (Big) government is concentrated on the members of both houses of congress. Those folks have defamed one of the most important jobs in our democracy. Instead of mentors to our young people they have become an embarassment. Big business is one of the scariest sectors in the country. They care nothing for the individuals in our population but only care about the almighty dollar. Kinda sounds like our congress. Other than the unfortunate and unnecessary wars we're involved in big business has put us in a position of a lowered credit rating for the country and continues to bilk billions from us and puts nothing back into the ecomony. They're also sitting on billions maybe trillions of dollars rather that re-investing. Labor, that's almost a joke since so much of our economy has gone overseas.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  133. Keith

    Corporate greed and lobbying!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  134. Steve

    All 3 and me using my credit cards

    December 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  135. Ron

    I fear big business. It doesn't have the people's concerns in mind.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  136. Matt

    Big business has purchased big government – so I fear both.

    Matt
    Saint Augustine, FL

    December 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  137. Brian

    Big Government supporting Big Labor.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  138. BigToots (Colorado)

    BIG populations require BIG government to run smoothly. BIG business "buys" the people who run BIG government & abused employees must form BIG unions.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  139. Banes

    The United Coroorations of America

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  140. Jeremy Smith

    I fear big business simply because they can bribe our elected officials through contributions to do what they want them to do.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  141. Patricia Alexander

    I am most afraid of nonstop Big Republican Debates. For the most part, these Republicans
    keep singing their mantra (one of MANY). Big government is BAD, said over and over again
    like propoganda. If you say it often enough (and certainly when media is all over it) eventually
    even relatively intelligent people start to believe it to some degree. Republicans already are led
    by their candidate of choice, but then, they are ALL saying the same thing.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  142. Linda W.

    Big business, obviously. It already owns the government and has outsourced enough jobs to make labor toothless.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  143. Rick Slater

    Jack,

    More and more, to fear Big Government is to fear Big Business, for more and more they are one in the same.

    Rick,

    Tuckahoe, NY

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  144. John DeMoss

    The question is rigged. Big government IS big business and vice versa. The military-industrial comples controls our government, owns it, IS it.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  145. Jon K, Fraser, MI

    The problem is that Big Business controls a Big Government.

    We can look at other countries and see that government is not the big evil. That is a message that has been shoved down our throat by big business and republicans. And no one cares nor notices because Big Business controls hte media.

    Not to mention they now have unlimited funds for campaigning now.

    They have bought our politicians for their own gain, and the middle and lower class suffers for it.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  146. Curt in Rural NEMO

    Big Gub-Ment no doub't is the ONLY thing to fear.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  147. Andrew

    I don't know if BIG government is the main problem. But the government is broken. I blame the two-party system that allows the fringe and extremes to dominate the political landscape, and leaves those of us who know that the solution is in the middle to choose the "lesser of two evils" between the far left and far right. Big Government does tend to take too much onto its plate, trying to pay for social security, welfare, medicaid, defense, and everything else.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  148. Chase M. (Charleston, SC)

    Special interest groups smudge the line between big business and big government. Hard to decide.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  149. Tim Thomas

    Big business controls government through lobbying and basically authoring public laws that cut the public out.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  150. David

    I am not an american, but follow us events and news as much as Canadian news and events.

    I don't think Big business vs Big Govt. is the right question. I would propose that the greatest thing to fear in the United States, or any democratic country is the blurring of Big business with government, and how a "person" on paper has significantly more say a government for the people than individual people!

    The needs of the individuals will alway suffer if Business has as much or more say than the people.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  151. Micah Miller from Canton Ohio

    Big-anything Jack. These polls show how big business has been able to manipulate public opinion through the mass media markets, including the cable news networks. Remember 2008? The bailouts may have been big government stepping out of bounds, but it was in the name of big business. The incestuous relationship between Washngton and Wall Street will openly be exposed in time for the 2012 election.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  152. Jim Anza

    Jack,
    you forgot the Big Idiots that run govt.which makes them the most dangerous. unions are only 8% of the work force and with big business we can always vote with our dollars

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  153. Henry - New Jersey

    'Big Government' is what I fear most. 'Big Labor' is no longer Big, and 'Big Business' is part of the engine that creates jobs and elevate america to the level we have achieved and we'd like to maintain. Big Government continues to be addicted to spending and reaching out to legislate and manage our lives.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  154. Joe Faber

    Corporate America is the greatest threat to "We the People"; they are the cause of the Depression that we are in, they own Congress and they control the media.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  155. Anna

    Big business scares me most. With the WTO deciding that all labels will soon state Made In the World and nation of origin will be forbidden knowledge, I am losing even the right to inquire where a product is made.
    Soon it will also be forbidden for me to ask if the food I buy is safe.
    And there is no way to vote these people out of office for me.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  156. mary

    I fear big business. The head honchos who make millions per year don't give a hoot about anything but lining their wallets. The sad thing is that in their quest to enrich themselves they are robbing this country of a strong, skilled, motivated middle class. And these wealthy Americans are running our government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  157. Bernie of Lowell.

    I fear the continuation of our "hegemony by guns" – big government, specifically our military, supporting big business abroad.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  158. GA VET

    Big business! They will have us working 18 hour days from age 8 if they can. The republicans sole objective appears to be to benefit big business at the expense of the workers and consumers. I've never understood why so many people consistently vote against their self interests, workers and consumers.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  159. Ted from Oshawa

    Jack, the biggest fear is the inability to tell them apart. With all the unholy, unethical, improper (insert your adjective here) alliances between government lobbyists and big business it is akin to asking the devil for forgiveness or giving the fox to guard the henhouse.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  160. SUE COCKERILL

    They all three go hand in hand. Big business and unions are entwined in Politics. Its only getting worse with so many new regulations on middle class and small business. Back off Big Goverment and meet the peoples needs, not your own!!!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  161. JERSEY Diana

    Pompton Plains, NJ retiree and union member. Big business is the biggest problem facing us, followed by big government. Big labor was the mainstay of the middle class which, sadly, has suffered under big business engaged in union-busting tactics. We need to return to the policies of the 1950's when we had a vibrant economy and middle-class.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  162. David

    Big business because they buy government, media, labor, and anything else they need to screw us.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  163. Don

    I don't fear big government. After all, in a democracy, government is us (and yeah, I guess like most Americans' waistlines, our government is a little on the large size).

    However, I have no control over unfettered large business...and that scares me, especially with a large group of Americans (teaparty and libertarians) who appear to not share this fear but are scared to death of those whom they elect.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  164. BobC

    Our Government, big, small or in the middle; still is "for the People". Big business is for itself, a 'breeder reactor of greed" very happy to seperate us from our money under any and all circumstances, legal, illegal, ethical, unethical... makes no difference to them.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  165. Kathleen Klatt

    I don't understand why people always forget, "big government" is we, the voters. We vote for those in office, our senators, our congress and our president. If you don't like what goes on in government, vote for somebody else.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  166. Peter

    Does the Federal Reserve fall under big government or big business? Either way, I'm terrified of this pseudo-public-private central bank which prints our currency and isn't fully audited. However, since the government, not business, has the power to do something about it, I would have to say that the main problem is in the government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  167. FatSean

    Big Business, and the the Military Industrial Complex. Please stop volunteering to kill for our government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  168. Ron, Prescott AZ

    Both!! Big Government is funded by Big Business. Big Government is the result of having to keep Big Busines in check! were caught between a Rock and a Hard Spot!!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  169. Stephanie - Seattle

    It's a no brainer. Big government. Not only are our politicians corrupt but they wield power and the average citizen stands no chance against them. Things are upside down in our country. What I don't understand is if 64% of those polled and 50% of democrats fear big government, why is obama who stands for huge government over reach in double digits in the polls. Maybe if we're stupid enough to re-elect him, we deserve what we're getting.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  170. John C (USMC)

    People have been mislead to believe the Government is the culprit. Anyone who has taken a few moments to understand the subversion would realize it to be BIG BUSINESS. We have already been introduced to lobbyists (Jack Abramoff). Not too mention the underhanded methods of manipulation by Big Business. If money were not an issue, many politicians would succumb to manipulation via voter response, i.e., they would attempt to appease what "voters" were interested.

    Big Government provides jobs; Big Government provides appropriate oversight; Big Government is the only entity that can properly respond to adverse situations. Big Government is not capable of massive rapid response (example: 6 hour window, Marine Corps MEU capabilities), but they are able to move in and provide relief – financial and domicile.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  171. Mike from Minneapolis

    Big business. They've been laughing all the way to the bank with our country's wealth while they buy out government and silence labor.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  172. Ken

    Big Business is the biggest thread. Big business runs big government because the majority of our representatives really present big business interest and throw table scraps to their constituents around election time. The fact that only 26% of your poll think Big Business is the biggest threat shows the white-washing during commercial breaks is actually working.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  173. Cal in CA

    Big Business. Why? Big Business owns the media. Big business wants no gov't interference or regulation. So big business uses the media to spread fear about the government. And gullible Americans suck it up. How soon we forget that it is government, not big business, that defends our country. And if big business had it's way, we'd all be working for minimum wage. The real problem is that too much dirty big business money is used to influence government to the benefit of the rich and the detriment of the people.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  174. L. G. Anderson

    Money from Big Business for purpose of lobbying is the largest treat to our Democracy, Corporation do not and will not care for people Government has to create somewhat of a safety net

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  175. Steve Turner - East Texas

    I fear Big Brother (i.e. big government) infinitely more than big business because it is a more fundamental root cause of our ills. (Of course, an even more fundamental root cause is the Federal Reserve, which, of course, was created by our government.) Big government has created most of the problems that I personally have with big business via corporatist policies and practices that stack the deck in favor of their favored businesses (like the big financial firms, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and food conglomerates who basically are invited by the feds to write the rules).

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  176. steve decker

    I fear big government. Why, because it is corrupt, the good ol boy syndrome. They are if not all greedy. All they care about is how much they can make, how to keep it and how to stay in office so they can get more.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  177. Athena, Los Angeles, CA

    Big Business is my greatest fear. Over the past 30 years, government has been weakened and businesses set the national agenda.

    Those who rail about big government conveniently ignore the fact that the country's economy was at it's most robust in the 20th century during the 1950s and 1960s, when government was doing its job. Jimmy Carter warned about the dependence on foreign oil and lost to Reagan - who defamed government and set us on the path we are following now into debt. If we had instituted a "big government" solution consisting to encourage development of alternate sources 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the shape we are now and real wages wouldn't have stagnated.

    What we need is not less government, but some government with big vision.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  178. Tom Vander Ven

    The trend for decades has made the rich richer and we middle class poorer. The rich are corporate and industrial leaders and their lobbyists, who have the government 's ears, particulary the political right.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  179. Gary Holland

    Take a look back in history to the excesses at the turn of the 20th century, and you will see the parallel to our current situation. Corporate America is rapidly pushing the middle class down and out, and the results will be similar to the situation facing Teddy Roosevelt. If middle class consumers don't have the disposable income to buy the products corporations want to produce, the downturn in the economy won't be reversed. If jobs continue to be exported, the success of the corporations will be dependent on their ability to generate foreign markets for their goods.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  180. Diane H

    I fear big business, such as big banks. They are the ones that caused the great recession. And some big businesses want the government to allow them to pollute our environment. What is the definition of "big government"? Aid to the poor? I have no problem with aid to the poor. I wouldn't want to live in a country without safety nets. I wouldn't want to live in a country without regulations either. I don't want to have to fear getting sick from the water I drink, the air I breathe, or the food I eat.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  181. Adrian in NJ

    Big business. In 2008 we saw what happens when there are few or no regulations to keep corporations in check. Greed is a disease. And government, while imperfect, has a role in keeping big business from getting out of control.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  182. Gil Pennison

    Karl Marx wanted much more than just re-distribution of wealth. He wanted the State to own and control everything – including each person. Socialism is the door to just that type of country. The larger the State, the smaller number of freedoms. I fear large government more than anything.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  183. Deb

    Big government. If government didn't have so much power over so many things, big business would not be so interested in trying to influence government. The fact that government has so much power is what provides the incentive for big business to lobby the government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  184. John Randolph

    Jack,

    Big business runs our government through its hired political guns and lobbyists. Senator Bernie Sanders' Save Democracy Bill will outlaw corporate money in US elections. Otherwise, the Occupy Wall Street movement will do the same. That will also take care of any big labor influences.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  185. John S., Farmington, NM

    What people don't appear to discerned is that "Big Government" is "Big Business". It isn't that government is too big, it is that it is bought and paid for the benefit of big business.

    A strong central government agenda retooled for citizens and for a 21st century global economy is the only way Americans can hope to maintain a high standard of living, "Herding" 50 states competing with each other through disparate laws that race to the bottom of employment and environmental law will spells doom for the US as economic top feeder.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  186. Evelyn

    Big business ,they own our government lock,stock and barrel .Big unions ,even if you hate them.They have given their members a higher standard of living than the non-union workers for the most part.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  187. Lloyd Hauskins

    Big corporations in control of big government are the greatest threat to our democracy. "Big labor" is an almost non-existent anachronism.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  188. JIM Borsos

    We have big government because of big biz. It's big business that I'm afraid of. It takes more and more regulations to keep these companies with their room full of lawyers at bay. Break these monopolies up and we won't need as much government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  189. Tim from Tx

    Your asking a catch 22 considering big business runs our big government and the fear stems from neither of them want to sacrifice a lil to help a lot

    December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  190. Kay, ecorse mi

    Because Jack, we know that big govt is what we got under bush and the republicans. No child left behind, homeland security, the patriot act, medicare part d, useless tax cuts for millionaires, an attack on women's rights, and another Great Depression!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  191. serge LA/CA

    Big government and big business are crucial to each-others existence. They sometimes disagree on ways of operation but one could not exist without another. If you get rid of one of them, the other one is going to break down too!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  192. Angela Robnett

    If I fear anything, it's the American culture of fear itself. We will make better choices during elections if we vote our conscience and vote for the humanity living on American soil, rather than being held hostage by fear.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  193. David Madone - Canon City Colorado

    Big Government, always! We need government but I would like to see it scaled down and more of our down to earth citizens become involved rather than so many career politicians and lawyers running the show. It is hard to step back in time!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  194. John in Mesa, AZ

    I think it's split between big business and big government. Take the housing crisis, where big government decided more people should have access to buying a home. Big government takes much of the mortgage risk, which gave big business the idea to lend money like crazy because a significant portion of the risk was transferred to government. Big business creates CDS securities and lends money to people who couldn't pay. Therefore, there is a large financial stability problem which nearly took down the economic system, and still may do so.

    At least big labor was created to help the worker, who is getting knocked around by big business. Otherwise, there would be no job security anywhere. They may have misguided ideals now, but they are not the problem.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  195. Kimberly R, South Carolina

    I don't see how we can separate them. Big business runs our big government. They are both out of hand and it seems that no matter what political side you belong on everyone these days wants both to get out of our lives. We are supposed to be a free nation and I would assume that most are rational fairly smart grown adults, yet we are told what to think, where to shop, what we can and can't do by our big government and the big business's that controls them.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  196. Jim

    Big Government "steals your money."
    Big Buisness " looses your money"

    Hi Ho... Hi Ho... Off to work I go?

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  197. Jody Kay

    I don't fear my government at all... I fear big business and big churches. (pretty much the same thing... crooks!)

    December 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  198. Hanif

    I fear big business. You don't hear from the oil companies and health care industry defending their bad policies. You have the Republican party doing it for them. Now with all the conservative "alter egos" they have log jammed our government. So when clear minded people try to unblock the will of the middle class it appears that government is trying to be too big. Follow the money, then check your assets. Big business made record profits to our record losses. We need big gov to protect us from big business. If not big gov then who? I'm a Marine and fought for this country. Now I want it to fight for me. Semper Fi

    December 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  199. Jerry Northey

    By far big business, because it has purchased big government. Big labor has no chance against both

    December 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  200. Richard In TX

    Definitely Big Government! Government is the only one of the three with a monopoly on the use of force. History shows us with bigger government comes more force and less liberty for the individual. With bigger government the other issues become minor as government controls all. America needs politicians who take their oath to the constitution serious to prevent government from overreaching its limits. We need a game changer in 2012 Jack.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  201. Chris G.

    My real fear is Congress where all three come together in a confluence of cash in the form campaign billions that has diverted Government from its true clients. I'm actually ashamed of all of them.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  202. DaveinSC

    Having grown up in the 60's, I have no love of government. But, when it comes to doing the right thing, I've got to put my money on big business being the bigger thief. Show me one business model that expresses anything other than it's own bottom line. Business by definition is sociopathic. Government can be controlled..... somewhat.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  203. Dave from Buffalo

    Big business. They are people now....

    December 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  204. De

    your question is a bit myopic. The real fear should be from the top 1% of these these 3 get into bed together. The 99% will be cleaning up the results of that little tryst.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  205. Aaron Shields

    Most definately Big Business is Numero Uno – because our big government is propped up, paid off by, and inflated for it's own benefit BY Big Business. Big Business has essentially replaced our government. Big Government is number 2 and is the useless cancer tissue required to continue to keep Number 1 firmly in front AS number 1.
    Last place is Big labor which should really be called Little Labor nowadays, because only 6% of American workers still belong unions. Big Labor is the boogey man, an easy scape-goat to blame things on even though it has been vilified so badly in the last 20 years it's almost extinct like the big bad wolf.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  206. Robert Amazon

    The problem is lack of regulation. Corporations (Wall St.) with too little regulation will lead to greed driven, borderline fraud every time. It is true that that too much regulation will stifle growth and opportunity but too much has not caused our current problems. These same corporations can contribute to the party of their choice to get less regulation. We can't blame corporations for being corporations. It's like the old one about the scorpion, it's just their nature. What is that the president promised to do.... defend against all enimies foreign and domestic?

    December 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  207. brandon

    Big business (corporate greed) Their profits are never enough. Workers wages have improved little while the big wigs wages have skyrocketed. American companies would rather go overseas to extend their already good profits than care about what happens to our country. They have become dollar bill patriots at best. Government has become a tool for big business through lobbying and loopholes. The Supreme Court rules for Big Business on a regular basis...ie Corporate personhood. The losers are Americans and the American economy.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  208. Kathy

    Yes, I always fear big government when I buy meat, eggs and produce. I fear it when I pay into a healthcare system that will be the biggest source of comfort to me in my old age. And most of all I fear its audacious ability to set standards and rules. I can't believe a country would want to protect itself from cadmium, BPA, and arsenic from Coal Ash in Lake Michigan! Get a grip, folks.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  209. Mario Perez

    I would say its almost an equal fear for me between Government oversight and Big corporation corruption rampage. The truth I see about corporation is that despite the fact they own about everything in this country, their profits do not reach the masses, but instead squeeze them. They do not create jobs,or invest in the poor. Tell me something Jack, how much money do you think someone needs in their bank account to live a comfortable life? how much is enough? where does this need to have it all come from? Greed is the strangest thing!
    Government oversight should be confined to keep the American safer from corporations and religious groups. Religion does not have a place in government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  210. Bob

    Businesses, big or small, creat jobs and we need jobs desparately. Governemnt is necessary but generally less productive than the private sector and workers in the government sector less well managed. Government absorbs resources whereas commercial activities produces resources. We need to streamline and decentralize government activities and most importantly make government accountable for mission accomplishment. Nothing motivates behavior like profit. This simple principle doesn't exist in Government where excess staff is never an issue; getting the job done is primary regardless of cost.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  211. Kevin in Cofax CA

    Get rid of the Big in all three and we can all live the way the Occupy movements would seem to like. I don't know if they actually realize this!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  212. John, Mississippi

    This is a question built around a deception. Big Business and Big Government are the same thing. Big Corporations receive much of their contracts and sell many of their products to Big Government bureaucracies. Big Brother pays for it with useless inflated money. The military-industrial complex drives this growth by expanding in to our lives and destroying our currency. In turn it is destroying our economy and robbing us of liberty. This is what Ron Paul has been saying for years.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  213. Troy Owen

    Troy from Austin Tx.
    Big business is taking over the Government so be afraid of BOTH but only by keeping the 1% from creating a Plutocracy can we ever shrink the Govt. without killing the middle class that the 1% has destroyed over the last 40 years!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  214. john mccarthy

    i fear big business. Why did big oil companies make the largest profits during the gas price increases?. Why haven't the companies and people responsible for the banking problems been prosecuted?. If people trust big business over government they are blinded by the corruption. We should have all went out to protest all the corruption and sheer inequality that the economic differences that exist in this country, but we are so afraid to lose any more retirement money etc.
    Stand up America against these greedy companies.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  215. Debra from Syracuse, NY

    I think both big government AND too-big-to-fail corporations are a threat to the US. I can't imagine ever entering another voting booth ever again because if I vote Republican we have the corruption of large corporations running our country, and if I vote democrat we have the corruption of big government. So the biggest threat to America really boils down to there not being enough of the American people interested in retaking Washington by getting a serious third party started. Too bad because we owe it to the future generations.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  216. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – Lets' check the facts, Jack. Government is actually smaller now than a decade ago, although the cost of it is up because of checks written, not bureaucrats employed. The Radio Right has been blaring about big government for so long that the people have come to actually believe the opposite of what is actually true. The economic mess we are in was caused by Big Big Business because Big Government was sleeping at the desk. Were it not for Big Government, there would have been thousands instead of hundreds of bank failures. Were it not for Big Government, Big Business could make toxic smoke for profit and make everyone sick. The economy has not greatly improved for three years because Big Government has been deadlocked since the election of Senator Brown. and most of what could have been done was not done. What the people believe matters even more in a democracy when what they believe is actually contrary to the facts. It is your job, as a journalist, to get the facts straight, not just cater to the delusional political noise. The truth is, Big Government can be and has been a problem. Big Business is always a problem because it has no emotions. Unions are so weak now they cannot make problems any more. However, right now, today, the general welfare is depressed because there is $2T in investment funds not being invested in production, and the tax code rewards the investors for playing with paper but not for building or making anything. Only Big Government can make Big Business do something about it.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  217. Jerry Driskell

    Good grief, Jack. That's like asking me which I fear the most; a rattle snake, a copper head or a water moccasin.
    Jerry
    Blairsville, GA

    December 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  218. Jeremy

    The biggest threat to America would have to Government. The fear that big government will only protect themselves and big Corporate than protecting the american people who have built this country into the power that it is. The power of the Government is destroying the middle class as they make Corporate greed richer and richer. We are in a down slide that we may not get out of, no matter what the Government can do.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  219. James Burton

    There is no doubt that for any American who believes in traditional American ideals; Obama’s big government vision is represents the beginning of the end of America as we know it. He likes the name but not the core values and energy that has made it so valuable to the world of nations.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  220. Xavier

    Big business by far. They are the puppet masters with the money, power and influence to affect policy in this country. If people dig a little deeper they would find that it's corporate America calling the shots not big government. Just look at the citizens united ruling.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  221. M Dodson

    Jack, It is big multinational business. Corporations are NOT people. First you would have to call all citizens to public service and get them to vote. Because we need campaign finance reform and congresses' insider-trading must stop and block that revolving door for all staff in all levels of government. And if you can reward good behavior, you can penalize bad behavior... making corporations wish they had never sent jobs overseas. Then breakup the monopolies and restore competition. Kick the corruption out of government!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  222. Vic, Ca

    Big government. I would like to see a strict accounting of expenditures in the black budget. I think government secrecy has gotten to be more dangerous than any potential enemy who might want the secrets.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  223. Geoff in Carlisle Pa

    Jack, the bigger the hen house, the harder to see the fox. Our Big Government is corrupt and incompetent as evidenced by the inability to produce anything except more dept and more distrust in out current leaders. When the Democrates took control of Congress in 2006, they had two years to prevent the 2008 disaster, but did nothing but fan the fires of social giveaways and bailouts for the special interest and voting blocks. Now the Republicans promise better days, but haven't delivered in the past and I doubt will now. Time to have term limits and throw the current crew out...

    December 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  224. Conor in Chicago

    Every facsist regime in history has followed the path of letting big business infilitrate government to destroy labor. From there, the government/industry hybrid supresses the popular will and economic discontent with either a police state, a war, or both. Sound familiar? Thank the guys (Neo-Con Republicans) who made it all happen....

    December 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  225. Luis

    The Corzine story that followed your question clearly answers it. Since the late nineties money just disappears into the pockets of Wall St Executives. For 24 years I saved into their system and at the end had to walk away with less than I contributed. The NYS pension system has done a much better job for me with billions of dollars in assets that are properly administered.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  226. Greg in Gainesville, Fl.

    You're joking of course, this is a false trichotomy: It's not one, or the other, or the other one over there. Big government, big business, and big labor are siamese triplets with government being the weakest one in the middle. This abomination should be separated as soon as possible and never allowed to gather together again.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  227. Cee.La

    Do I really have to fear anything? Okay...........without big labor, and big Government, big Business would have killed us off with poor wages, no health care, no environmental regulation,no workplace regulation, no child labor laws, etc.......so if I had to pick one i guess its big Business......

    December 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  228. Edmund from Los Angeles

    I fear Big Government, particularly in the "1984" sense, like anybody else should. But right now Big business is worse because they essentially own Big Government and are drowning out the voices of average Americans...If we could get Big Business and GOOD Government, then we'd be heading in the right direction as a country.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  229. James Burton

    There is no doubt that for any American who believes in traditional American ideals; Obama’s big government vision is represents the beginning of the end of America as we know it. He likes the name but not the core values and energy that has made it so valuable to the world of nations. Big government is number one! Big business and big labor are essentially the same – big labor IS a big business.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  230. Ed in Melbourne Florida

    Big Government clearly is the most troubling in a country with a history of individual freedom. Spending other peoples' money is addictive and corrupting and seems to just keep growing.

    Unions, per FDR, in government is a bad idea. Government in bed with public sector unions have brought all levels of government [and tax payers] to their knees.Buying elections is a reality.

    Big business, with real competition, produces jobs, wealth, taxes, and more prosperity. Government and unions need to limit business excesses, but the market place with competition works well. Why do you choose one resturant over another – competition on price, quality, and service..My first IBM PC cost $5,000, my last Acer cost $450 and it is thousands of times better – competition.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  231. Allen, Western Ma

    While all three are bad, Big Government is the worst of the bunch. A buisness or labor union can do alot of things, but at the end of the day more lives have been ruined by out of control governments then any other source (except religion). A Buisness cant deside that, based off purchases that you have made, and phone conversations you have had you MAY be a terrorist and snatch you off to an undisclosed location. A big Governent can do this, and has done this, Heck, our own congress just passed a law making it legal!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  232. Claire Walter

    If Big Business, Big Banks, Big Drug Companies, etc. would reign in their greed and turn out decent, fairly priced products without oversight, there would be no need for Big Government. Even when regulated as loosely as the US govt does, these comapnies take advantage of every angle and every loophole to screw the putlic.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  233. Gar Hartmann

    Big business is the biggest threat to America. There is no control over them except government regulation, if you shrink government the influence of business will grow. Remember the U.S government does not spend anywhere near what private business does on advertising, if they did we could probably convert the world to our point of view without a single U.S. soldier risking their lfe for soeone elses idiology.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  234. Glenn Clarke

    Big business has reduced the personal wealth all Americans by Trillions of dollars when all their bubbles bust, and then has the nerve to bad mouth government who bails them out time after time. Folks like Trump say we should have less government seem to want to get involved in government why? The greed of the rich as they want to control all the money with their lobbies and their campaign contributions. Our government has tried to protect the freedoms of the little guy big business wants to exploit us all. Less Government means the giant gorilla in the room would be big business and the middle class would have no bananas in their diet.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  235. David Colston, Satellite Beach, FL

    I wonder if the results would have been different, if one of the choices was Big Media?

    December 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  236. John Amato

    "Big Government" should be feared for all it advocates in the surrogate nanny-state must be paid for by the rich; in Margaret Thatcher's words, "eventually, you run out of other people's money."

    December 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  237. Carolyn Branch from Fulton, MO

    Big Business is controlling way too much of our government. At this point, I don't think you can separate the two. It costs so much to get elected and all our politicians have to depend on big business to finance their campaigns. Every member of congress, every senator has a powerful business in the background pulling the strings on certain issues. I firmly believe we would not be involved in the current wars if big business didn't find war to be hugely profitable.

    (I posted before and forgot to include my city & state.)

    December 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  238. Renee from Georgia

    Big business, Whenever business becomes more powerful than the government it means it is more powerful than the people. That is why the founders of the USA dumped the tea of the British East India Company into the ocean.
    They decided the only way to fight back against big business was to Occupy the Port.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  239. Greg, Ontario

    None of the above. The only thing that scares no these days is the thought that a Palin, Bachman or Newt Gingrich might actually be in the oval office one day. If that doesn't give you nightmares nothing will.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  240. Denise, NY.

    We are the Biggest and the Best country in the world, shouldn't we have the Biggest and Best Government in the world. As long as the government does what's right and puts the people first, it shouldn't matter how big they get. After all our taxes pay goverment salaries. One big government beats 50 little governments all doing different things. The problem is when big business pays for special interests that things become a problem. It needs to be cleaned up not made smaller.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  241. tim

    jack I always notice that you always frame your questions .With the interst of your corporate masters in mind. The 99% is protesting big gov in cahootz with big biz.and big also means war to most people.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  242. S. Rockey

    I fear Big Business most....Corporations and the lobbyists that work for them have corrupted the ability of the people to govern themselves. We need more laws when corporations can get away with murder, so as I see it Big Business leads to Big Government. The two feed off of each other.

    Healthcare is a prime example. Every day thousands of U.S citizens who work but cannot afford healthcare die because of corporate greed. Many people I know are hooked on prescription drugs that are designed to treat symptoms and not address root of disease.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  243. John (Roswell)

    What's the difference? I can't do anything about it, can I?

    December 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  244. JLK in Tucson

    Big government is unquestionably the biggest threat. This is true at the federal, state and municipal levels. The mid-level bureaucrats at each level are terribly inefficient and their prime consideration is feathering their nest via expanding their span of control or writing justification for their personal promotion. By creating new regulations or controls they are increasing their visibility and power. There is absolutely no reason that government employees at all levels could be reduced by 10 percent without any detrimental effect,
    ; except it would save

    December 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  245. John

    Big business by a big margin. By the way , if water boarding is not torture, water board Corsine to find the money.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  246. Murray Werner

    Big Government is Big Business and Big Business got the country in trouble. Take for example when the oil companies captured the executive branch and we fought a war for oil. In most European governments the citizens pay taxes and have their taxes returned by extremely affordable medical care and education through graduate school. The Clinton surplus should have been used the inprove our school and other survices for the people. So, Big Business which has bought our government offials is scary. There is no Big Labor either, Big Business has nearly disroyed labor. I am encouraged that most people above seem to be aware; It's your job to enlighten people. Stand up, Jack & DO IT!

    December 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  247. Tish

    You should add opinion journalists like yourself. "Most American" according to one poll does not reflect anything other than the pollster's methodology. Big government is a right wing boogie man. Big labor is a right wing boogie man. Keep spreading the fear.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  248. Ed from Georgia

    Got it twisted Jack, if Big Business is Lobbying to Control Big Govt. then the issue is Big Business, the Con Game on the street is called a SCAM the Con Game on the HILL is called legistlation. Need to run the Lobbyist off the hill and put term limits on Congress and Justise Department ie Supreme Court Justices as well..

    Nothing but Scam Artists.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  249. Ed in Melbourne Florida

    I actually fear the apathy and lack of involvement by such a large portion of the 99%. Everything in government is subject to change if people took the time to understand and think and vote – all sadly lacking today. The 'ME attitude has damaged the country and the 'political correctness' has left special interest small minorities rather than the majority in control. The price is very high for the lack of involvement. Jack Kennedy "Ask what you can do for your country, not what your country can do for you." 1/2 pay no taxes and nearly that meny get from the government.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  250. sway

    As an entrepreneur i blame all three of them exept big business to a certain extent. big goverment means spending more of china's money and giving the bill to the next generation. big labor secretly wants america to be more of a socialist democracy. we see how thats working in the european union. and big business just wants to see a libertarian country in which there is no sense of morality and communtity. in which personal responsbiilty would be the law of the land. but at least we would know the money is in america and not overseas

    December 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  251. Beckett from Ohio

    Big business IS the government. Our "elected" office holders have been bought and sold by big business for as long as I can I can remember and before that no doubt. The people in Washington have completely forgotten that they are suppose to protect the interest of the American people and not the interest of their friends in big business. Weather the government is big or small is unimportant. What matters is who they answer to. How do you fix that when they make the laws?

    December 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm |