Sunday, July 22, 2007

The progressive majority in America

I've always found the Libertarian line a bit daft - I mean, I have little faith in the "free" market to regulate itself. Human greed and avarice are just too overpowering motivations to allow room for altruism. And according to a recent study, most Americans really do believe that government should be the watchdog over the common good, making sure that those left behind by get a helping hand. A great deal of the information comes from a massive Pew Research Center study of American values from 1987-2007.

Some highlights of this report are:

On Health Care: 69 percent of Americans think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have access to health coverage; 76 percent find access to health care more important than maintaining the Bush tax cuts; three in five would be willing to have their own taxes increased to achieve universal coverage.

On Energy Policy: 52 percent of Americans believe "the best way for the U.S. to reduce its reliance on foreign oil" is to "have the government invest in alternative energy sources"; 64 percent are willing to pay a higher energy tax to pay for renewable energy research; 68 percent of the public thinks U.S. energy policy is better solved by conservation than production.

On the Economy: 77 percent of Americans believe Congress should increase the minimum wage; 66 percent believe "upper-income people" pay too little in taxes; 53 percent feel the Bush administration's tax cuts have failed because they have increased the deficit and caused cuts in government programs.

On Government's Role: 69 percent of Americans believe the government "should care for those who can't care for themselves." Twice as many people (43 percent to 20 percent) want "government to provide many more services even if it means an increase in spending" as want government to provide fewer services "in order to reduce spending."

On Immigration: 62 percent of Americans believe undocumented immigrants should be given a chance to "keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status." 49 percent believe the best way to reduce illegal immigration from Mexico is to penalize employers, not more border control.


cxx_guy said...

Nobody expects the market to police itself due to altruism. Those who understand economics expect the market to police itself due to greed and avarice.

As Adam Smith wrote in 1776, it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the baker and the brewer that we expect our supper ...

Avram Mirsky said...

The only self-policing the market will do based on greed and avarice is between market organisms (corporations). The common good is an irrelevancy if it confounds stockholder obligations.

As Thomas Franks said in 2004, it's all about "socialize the risk, privatize the profits."