Reason on a Roll Lately, and Millenial Polling

Reason has put out a number of good or interesting articles as well as a poll lately and I would like to briefly note them and comment on them.

The poll is an exceptionally in-depth discussion on the economy and economic worldview with millennial Americans, Americans aged 18-29. I fall into that category myself. The 105 page formal report on the poll is here, an introductory article is here, and I will discuss several key findings and related articles below.

While the survey didn’t get into this, I would point out that ideological shifts in the millenial generation of Americans could reflect a more general ideological shift in America today, and certainly in the future as the millenial generation becomes more of the leading generation and more politically active.

The introductory article notes that demographically the millennials are more diverse (56% vs 73% white) and more often have at least one immigrant parent (11% vs 5%) compared to the Baby Boomers. While they don’t break this out specifically, it is evidenced in the data that Hispanics are the driving factor. While other ethnicity such as Asian and black increased by about 50%, Hispanics increased by about 100%. While a heightened Hispanic increase doesn’t outright prove Hispanic immigration is the issue, because it could be heightened natural reproduction or some other explanation, it does lend credibility to the idea that it is an important contributing factor.

This article based on the survey describes that millennials prefer a meritocracy to a “society where the gap between rich and poor is small regardless of achievement” by a strong margin (57% vs 40%). As we might guess, this preference ties strongly to economic ideology:

This article details that 66% of millenials think government is inefficient and wasteful, which is a substantial increase from only 42% in 2009. More than just wasteful, however, millenials also think government is inefficient, abuses its power, and supports cronyism. On the other hand, that article also points out some of the mixed messages, contradictions, and hypocrisies of the millenial generation:

  • 71 percent favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and 68 percent say government should ensure everyone makes a living wage.
  • 69 percent say it is government’s responsibility to guarantee everyone access to health care and 51 percent have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act.
  • 66 percent say raising taxes on the wealthy would help the economy. [Emphasis added.] If you hear me say that 2/3 millenials don’t understand how an economy works, this is what I am referencing.

Finally, this article discusses that 64% of millenials favor a free market over a government managed economy. Similarly, millenials prefer capitalism over socialism, although by a slimmer margin.

Some explanation of the narrower margin between capitalism and socialism may be that socialism is often taught as being compatible with a free market. Socialism is usually taught as an ambiguous term somewhere between capitalism and communism, where markets are selectively used rather than always or never used. Because of this ambiguity and intermediate position it becomes a more comfortable place to be. Additionally, capitalism has a worse image than socialism in pop culture.

That’s it for the survey articles, but here are 5 other great articles from Reason recently:

  • Raising the EPA Radiation Limit Will Save Thousands of Lives and Billions of Dollars – Nuclear technology can benefit our food supply and reduce energy costs, which trickly around most of the economy. Plus, a weaker EPA is always welcome.
  • New York City’s Affordable Housing Bonanza for the Rich
  • If You’re Reading, The NSA is Probably Already Following You – Some new facts concerning mass NSA surveillance coming to the forefront. For example, 9/10 accounts of data were not targets of NSA surveillance, but nonetheless had information collected as part of mass collection. Nearly half of the accounts had names, emails, or other information identified as belonging to an American.
  • What’s the Ideal Job for an Identity Thief? IRS Tax Examiner! – To begin with, the IRS is a terrible guardian of your personal information including very important personal information such as your Social Security Number. Worse yet, this article discusses an intentional case of fraud by people working at the IRS with access to such information. Finally, we know that the IRS selectively targeted conservatives. It appears the IRS is fundamentally corrupt, with access to important financial decisions, records, and information for nearly all Americans.
  • Mom Charged for Letting Her Daughter, 11, Wait in Car – Where do we draw the line? Is the government your parent? I understand charging for leaving a baby in an overheating car. It’s dangerous. Is leaving an awake and consenting 11 year old in a cool car also dangerous? These are interesting questions our society needs to figure out. My answer is that it is probably not dangerous and anarcho-capitalistic polycentric law would allow for or even settle on such an answer much quicker than our current system.

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