There's discouraging news about Americans' level of trust in basic institutions. Drawing on Gallup polls, Ron Brownstein and Sophie Quinton of National Journal note the decline in trust over the past decade. The disenchantment has occurred not only in the Congress and the presidency, but even in the Supreme Court, the news media, and the public school system. Even the U.S. military has suffered a slight decline.
We can't, as a nation, solve our common problems unless we can trust our institutions to make fair assessments of what is needed and then to craft broadly acceptable remedies. Trust can't be regained by gimmicks, but only by the steady accumulation of confidence building measures. Congress could start,of course, by enacting a balanced economic recovery and long term deficit reduction plan -- and the Senate could start by finding ways to limit filibusters to only one or two a year.