Americans Loathe Bankers -- But Dislike More Financial Rules Too

It doesn't take a genius to guess that Americans don't like bankers, and in many cases they loathe them. Now, a new Bloomberg poll confirms this. The survey of 1,002 U.S. adults, conducted March 19-22 by Selzer & Co., shows that 57% of respondents have a mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Wall Street and that 60% have an unfavorable view of insurance companies.

Much of the ire comes from the way respondents view Wall Street firms. "Big financial companies are more interested in enriching themselves at the expense of ordinary people," 56% of those polled believe.Broad Distrust

What may be astonishing is that people don't want more government regulation of the financial industry. 70% of those surveyed believe existing consumer protection and banking rules are adequate. In other words, they're not keen on the massive regulations package proposed by the White House.

The desire to keep regulations as they are may be rooted in a distrust of Congress, since the study also shows two-thirds of respondents have an unfavorable view of Congress.

What can be taken away from the survey? Probably that Americans don't trust most large institutions, whether they're part of the government or private enterprise. That distrust may mean they don't see the point in additional regulation because politicians and regulators have largely failed in using the many tools and laws already in place to keep executives and bankers on the straight and narrow and protect the average citizen.

Is it inherently American to think that government is overreaching, or has the financial market collapse caused the belief that the government didn't properly monitor the system? Perhaps at a time when so many citizens are out of work, or are working but not making any economic progress, every big institution should take some of the blame. The average American probably thinks almost everyone who's part of the current "system" is out for themselves.

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