The Public Is Optimistic that Government Can Fix the Economy

The incoming Obama administration faces daunting economic problems. Yet the public is remarkably optimistic that the government can overcome these challenges. Consider these results from a recent Pew Research Center poll: Sixty-eight percent say that, as Americans, we can always find ways to solve our problems, compared to just 27 percent who say the country can’t solve many of its most important problems.

Chart One

What’s more, the public said by 59 to 35 that the government can successfully address our economic problems when specifically queried about whether the federal government still has the power to fix the economy or whether globalization has made this task too difficult to accomplish.

Chart Two

Not surprising in light of these sentiments, the public gives overwhelming support to large-scale efforts to solve our economic problems, with 70 percent saying that government expenditures of billions of dollars on roads, bridges, and public works are the right thing to do.

Chart Three

Let’s hope congressional action matches this public optimism in the near future.