October 14th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Do you have more faith in gov't or big business?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans are mad as hell... and they're keeping both big business and government in the crosshairs. The Wall Street Journal reports that historically the public focuses its anger on either one institution or the other - but not this time.

On the one hand, people are frustrated with the Wall Street failures that led to this financial mess; and they're outraged at ongoing situations like bonus payouts at AIG. But Americans also see too much involvement by Congress and the federal government - accusing the administration of "socialism" and a "takeover" of the economy.

What's interesting here is some don't see government and business as opposing forces, rather they see "a unified elite pursuing one big swindle." For example - the government using hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money to bail out banks and automakers.

This anger at both government and business is making it difficult for either Democrats or Republicans to connect with voters. A founder of one "tea party" group says the greatest movement within the tea party is "None of the above," a belief that lawmakers in both political parties aren't cutting it and need to be removed. People really do get it. The question I keep coming back to is: Why do we continue to re-elect incumbents?

Democrats say once their agenda is in place - it will prove they can solve problems and people won't distrust government as much. Talk is cheap. So far the Democrats don't have a lot to show for their control of the executive and legislative branches of government.

Here’s my question to you: At this point, do you have more faith in government or big business?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Brett from Hamilton, Ohio writes:
I have faith in the free market. Big business exists as a direct result of big government.

L.E. from Westminster, Ohio writes:
They act like the same thing – scratching each other’s backs while the rest of us break ours. Neither has any trust left, AIG case in point.

Sierra from Dallas writes:
I trust government to do what is best for business and I trust that business will do what is best for their profit lines. I also trust that neither will do what is right or what is best for We The People of the United States.

Bob from Stillwater, Oklahoma writes:
Government. After all, we are the government. We elect the people who represent us. True, they don't always do what we might like, but we have the option of voting them out.

Jim writes:
They have both had huge failures but government fails more often. I will take my chances with business.

Terry from Florida writes:
Americans rose up and took out the British government and high taxes in 1776. Americans need to do the same thing today.

Jim from Chicago writes:
I have total faith that big business will do what's in their best interest, not mine. With government, depending who's in control, at least I figure I have some chance. Part of something is better than all of nothing.

Jack from Wisconsin writes:
Are they not the same?

Darrick from Cincinnati writes:
The little remaining faith I have is reserved for you and Wolf! Don't blow it please because I probably won't be able to cope!

Filed under: Economy • Government
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Diane R PC FL

    Big Government and Big Business have been one in the same until the last election. We got in our financial mess because "Big Government" allowed "Big Business" to write the rules since 1994, and; consequently, allowed Big Business to use people's 401K's as their own personal piggy banks for speculative investments. And, as recently as 2005 when the Big Government Republicans wanted to convert social security to individual 401K that could be invested in Wall Street, it was the Democrats who defeated that proposal. Can you imagine where Social Security would be today????

    October 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  2. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    Since January 20th, I've had complete faith &trust in the Government, to do what's best for America. Just about every American heaved a huge sigh of relief when Barack took over, knowing that we're in good hands now. He accomplished more in 8 short months than Bush did in 8 years. He would have reformed health care by now, if not for the many billions paid to Republicans to say, "Whatever it is, I'm against it." it's difficult to compete with greed & corruption, but the President will do it.The declared Republicans would be treacherous enough, but the ones who posed as Democrats, & infiltrated the Party, (hoping to bring it down), are much more dangerous.They're known as"blue dogs", (AKA dirty dogs), becausethey're from "blue" States, & dogs, because they roll over for Big Business. How could anyone possibly think that there's a Democratic majority?

    October 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  3. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    we have over the years forgotten the appropriate role of government. If you look at past history government played a role to not replace personal innovation but to allow it to be able to have what is needed to innovate, to kickstart the innovation translated into the private sector. Now big business has been for too long the one telling government where to go and where to spend and cut taxes for the few.

    This is a time for a new balance. Both government and big business has to change if they do not want to go again through similar economic future pains because next time around...the people will not be there to bailout big business!

    October 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  4. Jim


    When Bush was president, that question would have been moot since big business was running the government and neither was worth a bucket of warm whatever. Today, with Obama at the helm, the government is more willing to take on big business for the benefit of the people, as with health care reform. As for big business itself, it’s still run by greedy executives who exist only to pick our pockets and then take goofy risks with our money. I’ll take government.

    Reno, Nevada

    October 14, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  5. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    I have no faith in big business whatsoever. Especially the health care industry. Look at history, in the late nineteenth century big business ran roughshod over the American people until the labor unions were formed and Federal legislation was passed to break up the monopolies and the trusts. The passage of child labor laws helped to curb some of the worst offences by big business. Environmental laws passed beginning in the 1960's also helped to reverse the damage that unfettered big business had been causing since the Industrial Revolution. The Federal government may not be perfect but the laws and oversights that it has passed are still preferable to unfettered big business.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  6. Felicity Cantrella -NYC

    I respect big business and its decision making processes; I do not like the government-special interests decision making processes.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  7. The Broker.

    Always in Big Business. But not in Obama...

    October 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  8. Will from San Jose, CA

    Big business cares about short term investor happiness above all else, including their own profits. Politicians care about what big business is going to fund their next election above all else. The general public is nowhere in that equation.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  9. Thai, Los Angeles, California

    Count me as part of the group that does not see big government and big corporations as opposing forces. That's why I reject both the Republican argument that they are fighting big government through pro-business policies, and the Democrat argument that they are fighting big corporations through big government policies.

    Recently what we have seen is people unsatisfied with corporate misconduct to turn to the Democrats to grow government power to "regulate" corporations.

    But what we are getting is corporate lobbyists in Congress that see the growing power of government, and by extension, the growing power of what corporate lobbyists can do for their companies via Congress and new powers given to Congress by people who distrust those same big corporations in the first place.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  10. Marion/Birmingham

    Give me big business any day with out government intervention. Any time you have a profit driven business,it will be more sucessful than a government run subsidy.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  11. Martha

    I have faith in the American businessman. I don't have much faith in Government anymore and none in big business either.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  12. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Neither! Congress and Washington DC is bought and paid for by big business....When you had/have people like Trent Lott in charge in the Senate and pushing his own health initiatives especially when he owns a hospital, what do you think? Goldman-Sachs ran the Treasury Dept and still does.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  13. honestjohn in Vermont

    Trust??? I don't trust either of them. The common man in better off if they are at each others throats than partners. Just look at the disgrace of K Street and government. As adversaries the common person gets fleeced a bit less.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  14. hormoz

    of course I have more faith in government than the big business because I have much more faith in President Obama then those theif in the wall street and big corp.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  15. Tia

    Jack you are so right. The Tea Party movement seems to be focused on the wrong issues. Perhaps by design, the Tea Party organizers have kept the masses distracted by feeding them the idea that all their problems could be solved by lowering taxes and shrinking the size of government. Who really wants to give up the things that government provides though, like clean water, safe roads and bridges, law enforcement, public education, Social Security, Medicare, etc, just to reduce our taxes by a few bucks?

    Instead, the Tea Party movement could be pursuing a national referendum for term limits on members of Congress. Term limits would probably solve a lot of problems in Washington. Elected officials would have less time to get cozy with special interest groups, less time to spend money on elections, and less time to waste taxpayer dollars. So why haven't they thought of that?

    All this national outrage is going to waste on meaningless efforts, just as the Tea Party organizers planned.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  16. jack wisconsin

    are they not the same

    October 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  17. Joe Camp

    I had more faith in big business while I WAS EMPLOYED.
    I have more faith in government while I AM UNEMPLOYED.

    Any more questions, Mr. Cafferty?

    October 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  18. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Big Business is has become a a code word for Big Crime (or should I say-Big International Crime). People have no vote in Big Business. We do have a vote in Government.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  19. Luis

    Well, big business currently controls government but I rather put my money in Government to do the right thing; begin by shutting out the lobbyists and then get this dang economy together by looking at alternative solutions to spur the economy that don't involve bailing out big mistakes within big business!

    October 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  20. Adalbert

    In general government is serving big business. At this time, Mr. Obama is trying to help the average American, but big business is blocking it. I trust no one.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  21. Atlanta Georgia Patriot

    Big business has brought us to the brink of financial collapse. I say let's try the government. At least they're not for profit for an exclusive few that doesn't "trickle down" to the masses.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  22. Dwayne - Houston, TX

    Big business, hands down. With all of it's faults, it gets it right more times than Big Government.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  23. Phill

    I have more faith in a Social Democratic government Jack. A government of the people, by the people and for the people. Our government has become a plutocracy run by big business. We need to take the power back from Wall Street and put it back in the ballot. There is no reason America should be without Universal Healthcare, or a strong comprehensive social safety net because it supposedly "harms private industry" and raises the taxes of the rich.

    Yet we can find $520 Billion dollars to kill people every year that does nothing but harm humanity. I think Tony Benn said it best that "If we can find money to kill people, We should be able to find money to help them too." The Democrats and Republicans are equally worthless and its quite frankly time to move away from a two party system.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  24. RJ, Michigan

    Government!!! Aren't we all proud of our country and proud of being a democracy? It's hypocritical to say you love the USA and you love democracy and then say you don't trust the gov't.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  25. Allen L Wenger

    We are seeing what happens when wall street and big business get more powerful than the government, they dictate the rules and are almost impossible to control. We can vote out the represenatives in the governement until we get some that listen, but what can you do with big business when they get to big to fail?

    Mountain Home ID

    October 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  26. Charles -NJ

    Big Business. At least they know that they have to meet a budget. They can't print money like the government. That printed money will be the death blow to this country. There is no way we can ever pay it back.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  27. Aileen, Huntington Beach, California

    About as much FAITH in either, as I can fly flapping my arms from California to Washington DC. Both groups are egocentric and don't give a damn about the 'regular' folks. ( There may be a few. I wouldn't want to offend the few.)

    The workers in this country can barely even survive, but the Egomaniacs in charge only pad their fortunes due to our sweat and tears.

    Have you ever heard of a POOR, MIDDLE CLASS CONGRESSMAN OR WOMAN? or big company CEO for that matter?

    I say let's boot them out as quickly as we can!!!!!

    October 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  28. Mike from Denver

    The U.S. Government, brought to you by big business. When the fox is guarding the hen house, trust no one.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  29. Rob from Mililani, HI

    I have very little faith in either one, but the source of the problems are with big business, particularly the culture of big business. Our nation's business schools need to pay particular attention to the need for a greater focus on business ethics. Becoming a CEO isn't a right or a priviledge, it's a responsibility. If corporate executives ran their businesses like a captain runs a ship, the term "layoffs" just might be seen in a more human perspective. This is something we could definitely learn a thing or two from our Japanese counterparts who understand the concept of taking care of its people as well as taking care of business.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  30. sean halley

    If Obama can get government out of bed with big business, that would be change I could believe in. Today's revelation that the health care insurance industry has an anti trust exemption is just scary. Where are the Republicans who so often trumpet the so called free market? I didn't see revocation of the industry's exemption as part of their plan to reduce costs through increased competition. Ditto for the Democrats. Both parties have rigged the free market in favour of big business. Adam Smith would be rolling in his grave. Its a joke.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  31. Adam (fr: Chicago)

    Neither. They are intertwined like serpents.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  32. shirleyamodio

    Funny how all your ? had to do with our government more or less, No I don't have any faith in any of them, They are all a bunch of low down dirty run of the mill rich people that don't care any thing about the middle class and have written off the poor a long time ago! Just as long as they can put some money in their own pockets. And it doesn't matter who's money it is!!!!!
    Shirey Amodio
    Mauriceville, TX.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  33. sandra hattiesburg ms

    my question to you Jack what if there is no gov or big business I realy want to know your answer.. I will be listen (smile).

    October 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  34. Dwayne - Houston, TX

    Why on earth would anyone want BIG Government? The government is not the answer to all of our woes. The American people don't need to live in a nanny state. We need to have a government as laid out by our founding fathers in the Constitution. We don't need a government that redistributes wealth, one that believes they know what is best for the American people. Three words says it all...."WE THE PEOPLE"

    October 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  35. Nichelle Parker

    The middle-class or should I say the new low-income class is clearly irrelevant when it comes to the "big bosses" pockets. Who cares about the countries health, who cares about the countries jobs, who cares about public option. Pretty soon they will drain our pockets so thin maybe they would reconsider executive bonuses as charity for the children with cancer. Just an idea.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  36. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    There are responsible businesses that make good citizens like Google, but there are corrupt corporations that used drugs and prostitution to lobby the last administration into sweetheart land and resources deals. Businesses are the major evil that requires government.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  37. sharon dalzell

    What I see is one big fat mess, brought to you by Big Banking, followed by the now rescued Big Banking continuing to rake in the dough while the population gets the shaft. This presents a scenario where it is very difficult to trust even this present administration, as it seems to be either incompetent, or too involved with Big Banking, or hogtied by big Banking, whatever the case, congress looks to be a troupe of hogs, therefore hogtying the administration? You suspect a breach in trust? Yes, I agree, trust ? .. in government agencies that can't guarantee the food supply is safe, or trust that the pharmaceuticals that are peddled incessantly, are not going to (oops) kill whoever might try them as the newest found treatment for arthritis, or menopause, or Swine..( oh excuse me.. h1n1 flu.. don't want to upset the hog population.) .. Yes, trust has been breached, and hopefully Americans, will demand some course of action that is life affirmative, no tolerance for the hate filled rhetoric that floods the faux news etc mind stream however it shows itself. That means of manipulating the 'mob'.. the ignorant, into a frenzy where they go against their own best interests is nothing new. My Grandmother, said to me and whoever would listen that one should always vote out the incumbant, as politicians are like mold, you gotta keep the air moving or the mold sets in and then you are in real trouble. Seems she had a point there.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  38. Leland from Middleton, WI

    I'm neutral to both. It's not "government" or "big business" that's bad, it's the idiots running them. The guys that screwed up in government are the same as the people that screw up businesses like Enron. Bad businesses should go bankrupt, but government resurrects them saying "they're too big to die." Government officials act immaturely and big business covers their reelections with massive amounts of money and lobbying. So I guess I'm saying I have no opinion on government or big business – I just have no faith in people in power.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm |

    Government by far. I trust President Obama to do what is best for the USA. I could not say that for the last administration. I don't trust big busines/ health insurers as they only have profit in mind. They are for filling the pockets of the wealthy so they can make more money. This is one reason I will never vote for the party of no.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  40. Nelson

    I have much more faith in government. Big business is full of people who praise competition to the skies while doing whatever they can to avoid it. Of course, what they really want to go gain a monopoly so they can charge an arm and a leg for cheap, shoddy products and services. If they cannot manage a large monopoly such as Microsoft's, they look for niches in which they can have monopolistic positions. Having worked for both business and government, I can tell you that the claim that business is more efficient than government is a myth. Also, the profit motive driving big businesses leads to a great deal of corner cutting and fraudulent behaviour. Large corporations' main fear of government is that it will force them to do things like becoming honest and engaging in real competition. The insurance companies also fear losing their positions as the bureaucracies in charge of rationing health care.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  41. Drue Rutledge


    October 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  42. John, Concord NH.

    Let's see,.......Government or big business.............hmmm.......I'll take "None of the above" for 200, Alex!..........I mean Jack! That answer your question?

    October 14, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  43. Clittoria Mickeal

    No i don't have faith in big business or gov't. One good thing Obama is trying to do is provide health care to all citizens.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  44. joe m

    do you have another choice? both are mostly just out to get as much of my money.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  45. Ross in Las Vegas

    Jack, neither right now. The people vote for change and nothing is done by our government. No public option, Guantanamo is still open, and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seem like they'll continue on indefinitely. The govt. deregulation of Wall Street is what led to this. How can you trust big business? Call the policies socialist if you must but business had their chance and they ruined it. They have only themselves to blame. You hit the nail on the head when you asked why we keep re-electing incumbets. Elect the challengers and restrict lobbyists. That's real reform.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  46. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    At this point, I have no faith in government as it stands and zero faith in big business as it stands. We continue to re-elect incumbents because the truely best and the brightest are still hiding out there somewhere in the closets believing they have not a "snowball's chance in hell" of getting elected. Wouldn't it be interesting to see, how many "empty seats" in government if we had the choice, 'None of The Above'.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  47. Rick Medina,OH


    You left out the third party to the triad ... the media. Neither 'big' politics nor 'big' business would be 'big' without the aid of 'big' media.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    October 14, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  48. Eric from NJ

    Jack, the problems are one in the same. Americans complain about the corruption in government and go after the elected officials who answer to special interests rather than the people. But I very rarely hear people complaining about the one who are corrupting the government. The rich elite and the big business that only care about preserving their wealth who lobby and bribe those in political power. I work for a bank that is flat out stealing from people on a daily basis and all I hear is why the government won't do anything about it? Why don't we the people do something about it? It's obvious the corruption in our current system won't allow for change to happen. The congress needs to get re-elected and they need the big businesses and the rich to fund their campaigns. Maybe we should go back to a 90% tax rate on the richest 1% of americans. Get the money out of their wallets so they can't corrupt government with it and instead use it to build on our nation. If the rich don't like it, go to China and try and corrupt their government. We don't need the Fortune 500 in this country.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  49. barbara - Seattle

    Not so far. I have no faith in Big Business. It will always be about their bottom line without any regard for how it is achieved. There are people for whom enough is never enough. Our government has its own problems. There are people who have been in public service such as it is ,for way to long. Obama is trying to change the dynamics of how things should work in the 21st century. Among other things he is fighting the old establishment. He has a quiet resolve which the Republicans mistakenly see as being weak. I truly believe that Obama will do his best to make government work for the people, and that will restore my faith in it.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  50. Joshua, Santa Rosa, CA

    What kind of question is that? Big corporations and Wall Street spent much of the last eight years totally unchecked, and wreaked havoc with the economy and our strategic position in the world. These people need to be reined in. It has been shown again and again and again that self-regulation = no regulation.They have shown they cannot be trutsed to regulate themselves. If the government won't regulate them, no one will.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  51. Randy T

    Big business. They get what they want 100% of the time while most of our gov't officials try and convince the people that the legislation is good for them.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  52. jack

    Jack, mexico

    I don't have any confidence in eirther but at least big business wants to make money Don't they

    October 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  53. Jim

    They have both had huge failures but government fails more often.I will take my chances with business.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  54. Jim

    They have both had huge failures but government fails more often.I will take my chances with business. Jim Ohio

    October 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  55. chris

    I have more faith in federal government because big business only wants 1 thing...more money. now if we could just eliminate that influence in government we'd be in good shape. my only complaint with federal govt is the influence they allow big business to have over them.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  56. Bob Schlottmann

    Government. After all, we are the government. We elect the people who represent us. True, they don't always do what we might like, but we have the option of voting them out.
    Sillwater, Oklahoma

    October 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  57. daryn

    I've worked for corporate america for over 30 years. There is noting noble or dignified the way corporations treat their employees. They have no sense of community – they only give money whe they are assured all kinds of product placement so that it is essentially free advertising. Corp are led by greed and foster corruptness and the way corporations are throwing are good paying jobs to 3rd world countries while watching America and the American way of life be decimated by pure evil greed. At least the democrats somewhat care about people. I have a lot of faith in my county and my government what we need is big business out of politics and stop letting their money control the agenda. This is a county by, for and of the PEOPLE. Not big business.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  58. eric -hampton VA

    I belive that the American people need to go capitol hill and ask for a refund instead of paying the ceo's more money I say let big corporatins sink just like the hard working americans 401ks!

    October 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  59. Jerry Angleton TX

    The Democrat Party and the Publican Party vs. Big Business. Hmmm... Jack how do you overthrow Big Business??

    October 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  60. Terry


    Sorry my money is on the corporate sector. Legislators couldn't get anything done if their lives depended on it. They are completly useless and on the corporate payrol, so CORPORATE.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  61. frankie

    "A unified elite pursuing one big swindle" is what the previous Administration developed between government and business. I trust the current administration. I don't trust the Congress yet. President Obama will change the climate of government for the better, but I trust that it won't be a quick fix, he has to work with the Congress as it is, not a Congress that has been fixed already.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  62. Steve

    Jack, I have complete confidence in the fortune teller down at my local hardware store, always recommends the correct 'screws'.


    October 14, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  63. Darrick B in Cincinnati, OH

    The little remaining faith I have is left for you and Wolf... Please don't blow it because I don't think I could cope!!!!

    October 14, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  64. Anthony

    Jack, I trust government much more than big business. Ever since we voted out Johnson-Humphrey and ended the Great Society, we have given big business free reign. Now we are all surpised Obama couldn't fix it in less than a year. Let him have two terms, then maybe he could get a real start. Our problem is we listen to big business play with the facts. Let government do their job and regulate these people. Government brought us the New Deal while big buiness brought us this recession.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  65. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    Jack, how about 0 for 2? Business will sell their souls for profits and their precious bonuses. Government, even with a majority party, can not get any legislation passed because of their greed for contributions from special interest groups. We are about to go the way Rome did.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  66. Marc from San Diego

    Government. If we could trust big business then it wouldn't be necessary for government to reform healthcare, the government wouldn't need to loan Financial institutions money to save them, and our jobs wouldn't keep getting shipped overseas due to the big business race to the bottom line.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  67. jjs

    well, there is a lot of willful misunderstanding–if we are the government, then i support the government–i am not part of the we of big business. business is not personal–government should be. i am the government–jjs

    October 14, 2009 at 6:57 pm |