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The leaders of the country said: Trust us.
The people said: Not this time.
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 in the end was a $700 billion piece of legislation that few people could truly love, and it offered citizens from across the ideological spectrum a little something to hate. Conservatives said they could not abide the government intrusion on the free market. Liberals recoiled at government checks rescuing Gucci-wearing Masters of the Universe. There were those who sniped that this was a "No Banker Left Behind" program.
A political establishment held in higher regard might have been able to hold together some kind of coalition of the willing. But distrust of the nation's leaders, from the leaders of Congress to the president of the United States, foreclosed that possibility.
"You've got massive public distrust and dissatisfaction, with the bailout specifically, with government in general, and George Bush and the entire political establishment," said Doug Muzzio, professor of public affairs at Baruch College in New York.