Americans still prefer capitalism, but by a smaller margin

Posted on April 9, 2009

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Rasmussen put out a report today stating that only 53% of Americans prefer capitalism, compared to 20% preferring socialism and 27% that didn’t know. Even though the head-to-head numbers indicate that almost 2-to-1 Americans prefer the capitalist system, the fact still remains that just over half of those polled are willing to stand up for the economic system that’s served us well for the last 200 or so years, although an earlier poll showed 70% support for the “free market.”

The partisan divide in the polling is a bit startling (or maybe not that startling if you really think about it). Republicans prefer capitalism 11-to-1, but Democrats are split 39%-30% with capitalism having a slight edge in those who had a preference.

HotAir takes a closer look at the divide among adults under 30, who preferred capitalism by only 4 points, 37% to 33%, with 30% undecided. Unsurprisingly, those over 30 have much stronger support for capitalism than their younger and more inexperienced counterparts.

Though some of this could be due to the fact that the poll didn’t define the terms “capitalism” and “socialism”, a lot of the blame lies in a useless educational system that has falsely defined capitalists as greedy money-hungry thieves and socialism as an altruistic system where everybody wins. I guarantee you that a large majority of the younger respondents know very little to nothing about very basic aspects of economic theory. I fall in the under-30 crowd myself, but I don’t share in my demographic’s myopic naivete of “let’s all get along and have someone else pay for it” mentality. Once you begin working and start paying more and more taxes, you begin to pay more attention to government attempts to spread it around to others. I’m embarassed when I hear people struggling to name the vice president, and frustrated when these same folks want to scrap our economic system for something they think will be easier.

And that’s really what it comes down to. People want socialism not because it’s more fair, but because it makes things easier for them. If someone else is helping you pay your bills, or paying them completely, then how cool is that, right? The response is that we cannot be our brother’s keeper, and it isn’t the responsibility of the state to care of the needs of everyone. But on a more fundamental level, without the struggle to improve your situation and to fulfill your dreams, life becomes a meaningless slog. We should have a safety net and we should always strive to be a land of equal opportunity, but we must realize that we cannot ever be a land of equal outcomes.

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Posted in: Politics