You ask a very good question. Government has done some pretty awful things. There are books I’ve read describing the acts of the CIA (e.g. putting horrible dictators in power in other countries), the FBI (e.g. stalking Martin Luther King, Jr. and attempting to interfere with his “subversive” behavior), and the conditions at the Veteran’s health care system more recently. I also put spying on citizens, then turning over information to the DEA reprehensible. Extra-Constitutional governmental actions should disturb us all.
Here is why it is our own fault as citizens these things happen. First, majorities of Americans in particular areas buy into Republicans’ “starve the beast,” mentality. They believe if we keep underfunding government, we will somehow make it better. I want you to think about that statement in your head a few times. Run it around in there. Insufficiently funded government=good government. Do you know what the first thing to be cut out of a government’s department is when they are underfunded? Oversight.
There are parts of our country, and parts of the world, which have found a way to make good government. You won’t find modern-day Republicans running it.
The second reason it is the fault of citizens our government doesn’t work properly is mere attention and oversight. The People, as in the public, the people for whom the government is created, are supposed to monitor and correct who is in office, if they are doing a bad job. We’re supposed to protect whistleblowers, instead of letting them get punished all the time.
Since at least 1980, people have been busy working multiple jobs to keep up the same standard of living you referred to when you first responded to me. You disagreed with me in my assessment of the status of the working and middle class by saying their standard of living remains constant since the 1950s or thereabouts. But it is an illusion. Now, both parents have to work to get the same income only one person had to work toward in earlier families. They basically have time to put their exhausted bodies in front of the TV or the internet for a couple hours to unwind. They aren’t always able to join the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and keep up with it.