Summary of Do Americans Believe Capitalism and Government Are Working?

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Robert P. Jones – CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute – and his colleagues from both PRRI and the Brooking Institution – surveyed Americans’ economic values. They asked respondents about the federal government, capitalism, equal opportunity, personal responsibility and values. They examined evolving religious coalitions and how they might affect America’s economic future. In many instances, the results proved predictable. Americans worry most about the lack of jobs, the national debt, the cost of health care, and the gap between rich and poor. Democrats and minorities want to raise taxes and spend money on social programs; Republicans and Tea Party respondents do not and express a belief in traditional values. However, responses from those who long for help from Washington suggest a nationwide drift toward the left. getAbstract recommends this highly accessible, informative report to economic planners, political officeholders, futurists and those curious about contemporary America’s economic pulse.

About the Authors

Robert P. Jones, PhD, is CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, where Daniel Cox is the research director and Juhem Navarro-Rivera is a researcher. E. J. Dionne is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution where senior fellow William A. Galston holds the Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in the Governance Studies Program.



The Economic Values Survey

The 2013 Economic Values Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Brookings Institution measures Americans’ beliefs and attitudes about their national government in terms of economic values, particularly whether the government encourages responsible living, promotes freedom and liberty, champions equality and fairness, provides for those facing economic hardship, and supports public charity.

Americans are divided equally on whether the economy has improved since 2011. Their opinions depend on their political, ethnic and educational profiles. Democrats, African-Americans, whites with college degrees, Hispanics and 18- to 30-year-old millennials believe the economy is growing. White, working-class Americans, Tea Party members and Republicans believe it is not.

What Are Today’s Most Important Economic Issues?

Asked whether they “believe capitalism and government are working,” Americans cited six major economic challenges: job shortages, the national debt, health care costs, the widening gulf between haves and have-nots, social security, and the higher cost of education. Of course, respondents’ race, politics...

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