Reason Magazine participated in sponsoring a poll that asked Americans, “In thinking about your own children or the next generation of Americans, which of the following concerns you most?” Then they listed the options, “Weak Economy/Lack of Jobs,” “Government Debt and Deficits,” “Gun Violence,” “Terrorism and War,” Environmental Problems,” “Other,” “Don’t Know.”
One piece of bad news in the poll is that eleven percent of Democrats are still convinced that Carbon Dioxide, a natural element that feeds plants and allows them to produce more oxygen, is going to cause global problems. But Independents and Republicans mostly know better, and so the total fraction of people who listed, “environmental problems,” was only seven percent.
The other bad news is the high percentage that think “gun violence” is a real problem our children are facing (13 percent). But it is still a minority who hold this view.
What are people most concerned about for their children? The combination of “Weak Economy/Lack of Jobs” and “Government Debt and Deficits” came out way ahead. Sixty-two percent of respondents listed one or the other as their greatest fear. This, in my view, shows that Americans are waking up to the truth. It is especially telling that the government’s campaign of fear-mongering as if we were in danger of 9-11 happening again any day now, has provoked rejection in the American people. Only 7 percent of the people considered “Terrorism and War” a reason to worry about their children’s future.
What does this mean?
I think it means we have an opportunity. People at large have not been scared into gun control or environmentalism. The government is obviously going to continue to prey on economic ignorance by claiming the only way to fix the economy is to increase the debt and deficits, or that the only way to fix the debt and deficits is to raise taxes. But, as pessimistic as I am about the economic understanding of the American people, I can’t believe they will buy the idea that the only way to solve a problem caused by debt and deficit spending is to spend more above our means and increase the debt to do so.
Once we get rid of the way the government uses economic fallacies to confuse people, we see we have a huge bipartisan majority that is worried about our debt and the burden of our debt on the American economy. Americans don’t want increased energy bills to “fix” climate change (they don’t even offer to fix anything). Americans don’t want the economy to tank under higher taxes. They want to see the economy that they grew up with where people could reasonably expect to find a job.
It is our job to convince people that the government’s agenda of war, carbon taxes, and regulations can only hurt the economy. If they want to see their children prosper, they need to beat back the encroachments of the state.