Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Do Americans really want MORE government?

Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation released results from their new poll on Americans and the Economy. It's predictable that the majority of those polled are concerned about their current economic situation, their future, and their children's future. What is rather surprising is the level of despair - what the publication calls "deeply, pessimistically unhappy" about the direction of the country.

Dissatisfaction levels are highest among Blacks (96%) and Latinos (88%). Fewer than half of the young people between the ages of 18 -29 believe that our country's best days are ahead. We are no longer an optimistic nation.

Most intriguing, a majority of those surveyed believe in the power of Big Government to solve the biggest problems of our time. They support major government investments that create jobs — 82% favor public works projects — and they remain sympathetic to the economy's victims: 70% say more government programs should help those now struggling. It is a shocking shift in sentiment, a counterreformation of sorts in a Republican-led era that emphasizes deregulation and self-reliance. Do Americans really want more government? The answer to that question may be provided in the November election. But history has shown that when the going gets tough, even the tough expect their Uncle Sam to get going.

44% think the government should be primarily responsible for expanding programs to help the economy

45% are worried about losing health insurance coverage

71% would rather have a job that guarantees health care and provides a pension than one that pays more

82% think the government should increase spending on public works projects to create jobs

88% of 18-29 year-olds think government should subsidize childcare

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