Over the last few years, an increasingly polarized Washington has created widespread distrust in government agencies and elected officials across the country. With Congresses approval at 16 percent, a historic low, the distance between Washington and the general public has grown, feeding a vicious cycle of cynicism as the election approaches.
Who can blame the general public for being weary of direction Washington is headed? The last couple of years have been littered with costly new regulations, Washington scandals, and sluggish economic growth.
When Washington has done major overhauls recently, the problem of distrust has become exacerbated. Take, for instance, healthcare reform. In 2010, the Administration signed into law the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, a highly controversial piece of legislation. The subsequent rollout of insurance exchanges created widespread confusion, including a botched website launch, that called into question the effectiveness of any sort of government reform. Previously, a financial meltdown produced a bailout for large Wall Street firms and new restrictions for the banking and insurance markets.
Examples, like this, illustrate the larger problem with the federal government: Washington needs to change in order to be trusted by the public, but the public does not trust Washington to make this change.
Fortunately, there is one set of reforms that, if done correctly, could change the narrative of government –regulatory reform. In 2010, President Obama published an Executive Order on regulatory reform, calling on federal agencies to be more transparent and efficient in the rule-making process. Little improvement can be found in the past four years. Being a simple way to jumpstart the economy, regulatory reform could be the change that ends the cycle of cynicism in Washington.
As American takes to the polls on Election Day, it’s critical that we send people to Washington who are willing to spur real change: Build trust by reforming regulatory systems.