Public Wants the Government to Do More to Help the Economy

The standard conservative line on the economy right now is that government has done way too much. Time to cut taxes and drastically reduce government’s role, they say. The public isn’t so sure.

In a new CBS/New York Times poll, the public, by an overwhelming 67-15 percent, said the government should be doing more, not less, to help middle-class Americans.

public wants the government to do more on the economy

One way to do this, of course, is to promote economic growth. Here also the public departs from conservative nostrums. In the same poll, just 37 percent thought the way to grow the economy was by cutting taxes for individuals and businesses and paying for those cuts by reducing spending on government services and programs. In contrast, 56 percent endorsed spending more on education and the nation’s infrastructure as the best way to promote growth, and paying for that by raising taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses.

public wants to invest in education and infrastucture

The public does think the government should do more to help the economy and certainly believes the wealthy should chip in to support these activities. Conservatives are entitled to their own point of view. But they shouldn’t pretend the public is with them in their sacred quest to dismantle government.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.