When 40 million people were unemployed while government employees negotiated with themselves on ways to give a trillion dollar stimulus package to government employees, to independent experts that was just politics as usual.

To the public, it was another sign that trust in government was misplaced, and perhaps had been all along. Some didn't understand why it was wrong for Republicans to mention an epidemiology paper but not only right for a Democrat to do it, but even for a Democratic epidemiologist to get the paper wrong - by an order of magnitude. Even if she is in charge of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some were puzzled that everyone had to get three vaccines but still wear a mask - including outdoors, because the head of the CDC claimed there was a 10 percent chance of transmitting the virus, which was completely wrong. Airlines have wondered why, with the best industrial air filters out there, capable of even sifting virtual particles like PM2.5 that can't be seen without an electron microscope, passengers have to wear masks but flip them up and down every time they take a sip of coffee - which every health care person knows is useless.

It has all added up to a distrust in government we probably should have had all along. "I am from the government and I am here to help you" used to be a joke for 84 percent of Americans, now it is only funny for 56 percent. More people than ever went into 2019 thinking more government would fix everything. 

America is not alone. A new survey from Denmark (preprint, so not yet peer-reviewed, but if you think peer review makes survey methodology better, you're probably in that 44 percent that believe more centralized government will solve our problems) finds that trust in government plummeted as Pandemic Year One went on.

Yet social solidarity and trust toward other people did not. Sure, we all watched as some celebrity "accidentally" ordered 36 cases of toilet paper and were not surprised, but it did not shake our confidence in our neighbors. Government incompetence and weaponizing of science to create hysteria certainly shook confidence in government.

I believe in the wisdom of crowds, until the crowds get large and people have an agenda that supercedes the issue, then "Men In Black" had it right.

And that makes crowds easy to manipulate by those hoping for their own outcomes.