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American Attitudes on role of government

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Evidently, we primarily think government does have some role in a variety of areas, but we think of "total gov't responsibility" or "no gov't responsibility" as solutions to stay away from:

    Americans Choose Middle Over Extremes on Gov't Functions

    Not surprisingly, people did overwhelmingly give government total responsibility for protecting Americans from foreign threats - at 83%. That was the only area where we overwhelmingly would make government responsibility absolute.

    A majority (51%) would give government absolute responsibility for protecting Americans against unsafe products. 47% expect total government responsibility for preventing discrimination. And so on, down to 13% for protecting major U.S. corporations in danger of going out of business.

    For each category, Americans say government should have absolutely no responsibility for 2% to 36% of the public. (2% say the government should have no responsibility for protecting the U.S. against foreign threats. 36% say it should have no responsibility for protecting corporations.

    The interesting part is that with the exception of foreign threats, consumer protection, and discrimination, most Americans are somewhere in the middle. That's encouraging, since it is in the middle between these ideological extremes where solutions usually exist.

    More nuanced numbers grouping 1 & 2 (most responsibility) and 4 & 5 (least responsibility), vs. the center of 3, show some other interesting results. A clear majority think the government should have all or most (category 4) responsibility for ensuring adequate health care, for example, at 57%.

    Anyhoo, feel free to slice, dice, and discuss.

    Disclaimer: this is a thread about what Americans want - the theory of an America where the government is totally responsible for one or another area, or the theory of an America where the government bears no responsibility in an area, and why you believe that to be the case, isn't the topic. Just sayin.

    PFnV
     
  2. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    Correction PFiVA...what Americans "think" is not the same as what Americans "want". In order to find out what they want gov't to do, you'd have to ask them "What do you want gov't to do about "X"?"

    But to your point, it does provide a reflection of the direction Americans would like gov't to go. but I'd LOVE to see a "This year vs. 2006" trend of the same questions. That would truly provide us with where we've been and where we want to go.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  3. PatsFanInVa

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    The word is, in fact, "think." As in "how much responsibility you think the government should have..."

    Here's the question itself. I don't see a great deal of ambiguity arising from the difference between "think/should have" and "want," but let's just put the semantics to rest:

    On a 1-to-5 scale, please say how much responsibility you think the government should have for each -- with 1 meaning the government should have no responsibility at all and 5 meaning the government should have total responsibility in this area. How about _____ ?

    As to what people thought 5 or 10 or 20 years ago, it would indeed be of historic interest. We would know what a lot of dead people thought, and we would not know a lot of things thought by children at the time who are now adults.

    Two years ago might tell us even more, since it would reflect shifts in attitude among the same basic group of people (with a few added and subtracted.)

    It is interesting, however, how big the disconnect is between the rhetoric we see about government only being responsible for some small subset of issues, and the mainstream view that government bears some, but not all responsibility in a range of areas.
     
  4. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    Translation: Please show me the respect in this thread that I refuse to show other people in their's.

    Just sayin.
     
  5. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :rofl:

    Really?

    The respect card? From you? The bacon-and-eggs guy?

    really???

    Contribute if you have a contribution to make. Otherwise leave.
     
  6. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve In the Starting Line-Up

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    Hmmm...

    At what level is government supposed to have responsibility? I certainly do not want government at the Federal level to have any responsibility educating my children. Nor do I want my state to have any. I want that responsibility at the local level.

    To me, this thread and the "public sphere" thread are grossly misleading. I think that the Federal government has little responsibility or role in the public sphere, aside from what is constitutionally mandated (especially defense from foreign threats).

    It is not so much a question of "if" as "who" for me. Though I think there are areas that government has no responsibility at any level.
     
  7. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    So who died and made you a mod? Don't throw a hissy fit at me just because I am pointing out your hypocrisy. You have no problem firebombing other peoples' threads, but when you start one of your own, it's always "please stay on topic" or something of that sort. :rofl:

    Just sayin'.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  8. PatsFanInVa

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    Once again, Wolfpack, I would invite you to make a contribution addressing the subject matter of the thread.

    You and I obviously disagree on the subject of respect. Now, we have dispensed with our respective, no pun intended, opinions on that subject. This thread is not about such disagreement.

    Do you have a contribution to make on the subject of American Attitudes on the role of government?

    If so, once again, I invite you to address the subject matter of this thread.

    PFnV
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  9. PatsFanInVa

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    Shirtsleeve, other than whether these threads are misleading - an area of disagreement between us, bien sur - good observations.

    The poll simply asks about "government" as you say, and you identify schools as one area where you don't want federal government involved.

    The obvious counter is what happened when the local and state governments insisted on discrimination in the 50s and 60s, and the feds eventually had to step in to integrate the schools. I think that history is reflected in the responses about "government responsibility" in the poll quoted as regards discrimination. But really, just because that's consistent with the historical events, doesn't mean that the respondents did not mean local government.

    But again, one's personal opinion is one thing, and what the country says it wants (or "thinks should be", to be precise) is another.

    Most Americans think the federal government should be more involved or about as involved as they are in education, not less involved in education.

    Americans Support Federal Involvement in Education

    So this does not establish whether you are right or wrong, obviously, it just establishes where the center is on the question. Only about 35% think the federal government should be less involved. Far more, 46%, think the federal government should be more involved. Among k-12 parents, 56% think the federal government should be more involved. 10 years ago, only 50% of parents thought the federal government should be more involved, and only 26% said the federal government should be less involved (27% now).

    In other words, the high water mark of general sentiment against federal government involvement is now, among the general public, at 35%. Among parents that sentiment has picked up far less traction. Conversely, far more parents would now want more federal involvement, at 56%. In 2000, that was only 50%.

    PFnV
     
  10. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve In the Starting Line-Up

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    I do not think that we are far in disagreement re: thread misled intention. It was the original poll, not you that did not delineate at what level government might be responsible.

    The second half of my response was more an answer to your other thread, giving my opinion of the issue. Clearly I do not expect my opinion to be in the majority nationally, and I definitely clearly understand my opinion is berated, ridiculed and insulted locally. (I live in Berkshire county, Mass).
     
  11. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A government for the people and by the people.

    The people will take just so much then they will revolt not with guns or violence but at the voting place.

    You will see the results of a revolt in just a matter of days.
     
  12. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    Like the "revolt" 2 years ago? :rolleyes:
     
  13. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    Eh, nothing I haven't already said on the matter in other threads. Just reiterating my point that I hope someday you realize respect is a two way street and if you want others to show you some, perhaps you should start by showing some of your own.
     
  14. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    Just a quick question for anyone who feels like answering.

    If education is removed from the federal sphere how do we remain sure that all children will be able to compete fairly when it comes to education?

    If there is no central "clearing house" so to speak, who decides the agenda or the curriculum for the elementary/high school levels? If it's left to individual school districts what's to prevent a thousand different ideas on education from taking over the system?

    Just as an example, (although it's a drastic one, I admit,) say that Gary, Indiana decides that their school children do not need to learn to read until they are in 5th grade. However, the schools in Bloomington, Illinois decide that they want all of their children to be fluent readers by 3rd grade. Each school district is local, and each is allowed to set their own standards.

    Joey Smith is in 4th grade in Gary, In. when his parents decide to move to Bloomington, Il. What happens to poor Joey once he's enrolled in his new school district?

    Doesn't there have to be some sort of large scale, nationwide watchdog to make sure that all children are given access to a similar education and a similar curriculum regardless of where they live or where they attend school?

    As to funding, wouldn't the schools in poorer areas automatically be behind the 8-ball without federal funds? How would the children coming out of the locally funded schools in in Detroit, Michigan compete with the children graduating from locally funded schools in Hillsborough, Calif. in terms of getting into a college?

    Should education be a purely "you get what you can afford" proposition and, if not, how can we assure, without continuing federal funding, that a standard education remains available to all?
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  15. PatsFanInVa

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    Harry, I have no doubt that the national mood is anti-government and anti-incumbent. I'm interested to see the outcome of elections as well. We say different things - for example, we say we do want a moderate amount of government responsibility for a wide variety of activities, but we also think the government is intrusive. We think the schools are terrible, except our kid's school, and we think congress is terrible except our congressman. One guy is bringing home the bacon for our district, and he's good. The other guy is bringing it home for another district, and it's not bacon, it's now pork.

    Seems to me you can promise "small government" and "no taxes" to people and get lots of traction. But then if you win, you are the government, and the crowd is your problem now. What happens when you have to continue to deliver the services they expect - like, I dunno, a federal commitment to education?

    Doesn't much matter right now. What matters right now is whether the noise and rhetoric, as you say, results in a larger effect - or, as I think might surprisingly happen, a smaller effect. It's a midterm election. This is what happens. It's a matter of degree.

    PFnV
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  16. PatsFanInVa

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    Just hijacking to personally insult me then?
     
  17. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    Excuse me, but where did I personally insult you? By telling you respect is a two way street? I have some bad news for you: it is.

    Boy you're awfully thin skinned, aren't you?
     
  18. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You can go now WP. You are not contributing to this thread, and have not said a single word on American Attitudes on the role of govenment, or anything remotely related to said topic.
     
  19. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    And yet you're still engaging me in conversation in this thread. You're so obsessed with having the last word that you couldn't even obey your own request presented in the OP. So what does that say about you? :rofl: :rofl:
     
  20. PatsFanInVa

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    This probably has a lot to do with why parents of kids in K-12 are most likely to think there should be more federal involvement in schools, and the vast majority think there should be at least some. There's the same rump 35% apparent ideological purists saying get the government out of the schools as there always seems to be.

    The mix of people thinking government should do things, but also thinking government is too intrusive, is an interesting one. I can see actually how people can simultaneously demand more and less government.

    Our city govt got me hugely hot and bothered with a decal tax I had neglected some paperwork on. Bleah. Long story short I too have frustrating interactions w/government, and that particular day I was sure I was John Gault funding all variety of useless artist and panhandler through the heavy hand of the state blah blah blah. So yeah you can have those frustrations inform your response to "is government too intrusive" but also say "of course we need more government in schools, or at least as much."
     

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