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An encouraging poll

Finally, a poll that gives me hope.

A quarter century after the Reagan revolution and a dozen years after Republicans vaulted into control of Congress, a new CNN poll finds most Americans still agree with the bedrock conservative premise that, as the Gipper put it, "government is not the answer to our problems -- government is the problem."

The poll released Friday also showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans perceive, correctly, that the size and cost of government have gone up in the past four years, when Republicans have had a grip on the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House.

Discretionary spending grew from $649 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $968 billion in fiscal year 2005, an increase of $319 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Queried about their views on the role of government, 54 percent of the 1,013 adults polled said they thought it was trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Only 37 percent said they thought the government should do more to solve the country's problems.

Maybe when it's all said and done, the Republican Party will have been successful in ushering in a new era of conservatism -- just not in the way they had originally envisioned.


Well, I would hardly say that the Repug party ushered anything other than underage boys into the Mens Room.

If anything Chimp and Shooter, along with the Rubberstamp congress, have destroyed the association of conservatism with Repugs, or maybe just destroyed the name of conservatism.

Reagan was a patriot, he would have had Chimp and Shooter jailed and waterboarded for their crimes, and then he would have failed to recall the event under oath.

Sure, most Americans agree with conservative principles: unfortunately, with absolute power, the Repug "conservatives" utterly failed to live up to their alleged beliefs -- except their wingnut, Corporatist, Christofascist, and other non-conservative beliefs. They certainly lived up to those.

That's a great poll, except I'm disheartened that only 545% of the respondents espoused that view...should be more like 75% or more.

Somewhat more heartening was the fact that "Only 37 percent said they thought the government should do more to solve the country's problems."

The poll in question is a mixed bag, though again, I'd question (as usual) CNN's 1,013 member sample (sounds like a typical NYC or D.C. crowd to me)...especially with, "Americans had a slightly different perspective when it came to the specific issue of promoting traditional values. A slight majority -- 51 percent -- said they thought that was an appropriate activity for government, while 43 percent said it should not favor any particular set of values."


Only 51% support the government should promote the traditional values - the priniciples this nation was founded on?

Yeah, that definitely sounds like a Manhattanite crowd to me.

"...except...that only 545%"

Yeah, that should be 54%!

You are correct, Barry. By being completely incompetent and thieving, our Republican-controlled government has convinced most Americans that government is the problem. They do not believe, as I do, that if you throw the thieves and incompetents out, you can get a government that accomplishes good things at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable timeframe.

"government is not the answer to our problems -- government is the problem."

I dont think that poll means anything if thats the way they phrased the question. Even I agree with that statement (especially these days) and I would have answered I agree. And as you know, I am very liberal and I think that conservatism was a good thing 200 years ago, but no longer.

I agree with Blue Wind, and I certainly wouldn't put much stock into any of Ronald Reagan's quotes. I think the issue is very complicated - I think the government can solve certain problems, but there are certainly areas in which they should butt out.

My parents would not have health coverage or prescription drug coverage without the government. I probably could not have gotten a degree without government help. Our country certainly couldn't survive without our military (a government program), and without the government, we have precious little protection against bad food, bad drugs, and unethical companies.

The government should NOT be involved with issues like telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, or telling adults what they cannot do in the privacy of their homes, or telling us what we should or should not be able to watch on television. And they certainly should not be involved in deciding who can marry whom.

Here's where Blue and his cohorts go wrong - the government CAN SOLVE some problems and America's Founders addressed those - "Ensuring domestic tranquility" ((police powers) and "Providing for the common defense" (the military), but social problems like poverty, miseducation, sub-standard housing, etc are NOT things that government can address well at all. Those are best left to the private sector - private (for profit) companies and private (non-profit) charities.

Also, the founding fathers mentioned "promote the general welfare", which can be interpreted as meaning trying to keep people out of poverty, and helping them live better lives (affordable health care for all?).

For instance, I don't have much confidence that the private sector would step up to the plate and totally replace the help of Social Security and Medicare, if those programs were repealed. If the private sector had been accomplishing this, these programs would not have been established, and certainly would not have grown to the size they are.

The truth is that there aren't enough charitable dollars to go around to help to that magnitude. And the sad truth is that many people just don't sincerely want to help people. They're happy to help their relatives, and maybe a few close friends, but that is usually it.

If there were some way to force companies to donate more, or penalize those who don't help enough, maybe it could work. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Most people were very poor in the days of the founding fathers. There were no corporations as we know them today.

Certainly they would find our taxes an outrage and our government out of control. They probably wouldn't regard us as being "free" anymore. They certainly would see modern corporations as evil incarnate -- an entity with the rights of an individual citizen, but the power of a government, abusing both for profit.

Actually Tracy, the "general welfare" clause was written in a very specific context, one in which ALL of America's founders made very clear that each individual was solely responsible for him/her-self...yes, one could well argue, "advantage to rich, white property owners," but it's also an advantage to freedom & dignity, as well.

Alexander Hamilton was almost certainly the most federalist (supporting a stronger and more centralized government), but even he was eloquent in speaking AGAINST any aid to a Massachussetts town destroeyd by flood on the grounds that it is morally wrong to take from the many to benefit the few.

Ironically enough, the same general welfare clause is currently used by Conservatives who oppose, among other things, "gay marriage," on the grounds that the government DOES INDEED have the right to promote what is beneficial (ie. hetero-marriage and child-rearing) to society as "promoting the general welfare."

I can understand the latter - government giving tax breaks and other specific advantages to hetero-marriage and child-rearing, it's harder to follow why giving "the poor" (a/k/a, the recklees, the irresponsible, the slothful) free money at taxpayer expense....especially when there are so many jobs going begging, jobs in agriculture, slaughter houses and other venues that now tend to hire illegal aliens to do the work America's poor no longer will.

In short, such hand-outs to the poor tend to adversely impact the general welfare, by both undermining the work ethic of those who need a work ethic most of all and by increasing the burden upon those who are the most productive.

Come to think of it, social programs seem to support "the individual's welfare" (the individual recipient) OVER and ABOVE the general welfare without regard to how this negatively impacts society overall.

America remains one of the most charitable nations on earth...and right up through the 1920s private charities took care of all of America's "deserving poor" (those not addicted to alcohol or drugs and willing to work once gotten back on their feet).

See Marvin Olasky's The Tragedy of American Compassion.


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