July 17 2014

Millennials to Government: Clean Up Your Act!

Patrice J. Lee

We have new insight into one of the largest, most technologically advanced and socially connected but politically agnostic generations: Millennials.

Millennials are called everything from ambitious, hardworking, and confident to self-absorbed, selfish, and narcissistic. What do we think about politics? A new Reason-Rupe poll provides insights into our generation’s political views.

Subtitled ”The Politically Unclaimed Generation,” a poll of 2,000 18-29 year olds finds that this generation is increasingly skeptical of government and favors reducing government spending and regulations. Sixty-six percent of Millennials believe government is inefficient and wasteful which is a significant increase since 2009, when that perception was just at 42 percent.

Another 63 percent, think government regulators favor special interests, and more than half (58 percent) are convinced that government agencies abuse their powers. Merely 25 percent trust government agencies to do the right thing.

What’s driving distrust in government? A flurry of federal scandals have emerged over the past several years that no doubt chipped away at our trust: NSA spying on Americans, IRS targeting nonprofit groups, the Justice Department snooping into phone records of reporters, and the lives lost due to ineptitude in the Veterans’ Administration.

While these young people don't trust government, they ironically give their support to many big government programs.

Here are some key findings:

  • 64 percent of millennials say cutting government spending by 5 percent would help the economy
  • 59 percent say cutting taxes would help the economy
  • 57 percent prefer a smaller government providing fewer services with low taxes, while 41 percent prefer a larger government providing more services with high taxes
  • 54 percent favor a larger government that provides more services, when taxes are not mentioned
  • 57 percent want a society where wealth is distributed according to achievement
  • 55 percent say reducing regulations would help the economy
  • 53 percent say reducing the size of government would help the economy

Public Action:

  • 71 percent favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour
  • 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
  • 68 percent say government should ensure everyone makes a living wage
  • 66 percent say raising taxes on the wealthy would help the economy
  • 63 percent say spending more on job training would help the economy
  • 58 percent say the government should spend more on assistance to the poor even it means higher taxes
  • 54 percent want government to guarantee everyone a college education

We report extensively on the how the Nanny State is creeping into our lives as lawmakers, bureaucrats, and overly reactionary administrators seek more ways to control our lives with nonsensical bans and rules. Millennials don’t buy into it and are strongly opposed to such regulations. For example, 72 percent of Millennials say large sugary sodas and drinks should be allowed to be sold. Take that Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg!

 Sixty-one percent say people should be able to buy foods containing trans fats and 60 percent want to allow e-cigarette use in public places.

The subtitle of this poll is “Politically Unclaimed” because indeed they are. According to this data, Millennials don’t really identify with political parties nor do they put much confidence in them. A slight majority (52 percent) identify themselves as independents.

Ours is a generation focused on solutions and action. The policies and politics that place burdens on our shoulders come from both parties.

As we continue to come of age, it will be interesting to see how public policy adapts to this generation.

 

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