Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Were we all socialists then?
The blog has been rather neglected lately, since I moved in late April and most of my time has been spent wondering how I acquired so many useless possessions and why I can't find the ones that I need. But now I'm in the new house and have turned in my grades, so I can spare the time for another post. A couple of weeks, David Brooks pointed to a Pew report comparing public opinion in the 1930s and today. Both Brooks and the report emphasized the differences in attitudes towards government, suggesting that people have moved to the "right" (laissez-faire). My impression was that public opinion on the welfare state, redistribution, and the regulation of business is actually pretty similar. The one striking difference is a decline in support for public ownership. In 1937, the Gallup Poll asked "Would you like to have the government own and control the banks?" 41% said yes, 42% no, with 17% undecided. In 2009, a CBS News survey asked exactly the same question, and only 14% said yes (76% no, and 10% undecided). Is this a general trend, or does it apply just to banks? There's not much information, but I think it's general. I'll talk about that in my next post.