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Home » Personal Finance News

What Should Our Government do when it Impacts your Bottom Line? (reader poll)

Last updated by on 13 Comments

The Public Religion Research Institute conducted an American values survey recently – a random phone survey of over 1,500 Americans – that tested their views on the role of government in our lives and in shaping policy in our country.

Despite the name of the organization that commissioned the survey, I would consider it to be a fairly conducted and non-partisan. You can see the methodology here, if you’d like.

The results were interesting – and not at all what one may have expected if you consume very liberal or conservative media. Turns out that we weren’t as equally divided down the middle on everything as our politicians and the media would want us to believe.

I thought it would be kind of interesting for us to find out a little bit more about the 20somethingfinance community by showing the random results from the phone survey and then taking a poll from all of you on the same questions.

I’ll focus on only the questions that were somehow related to personal finances (taxes, jobs, health care, etc.).

Remember: random results from the survey, then, your results in the live poll. And you can follow it up with rants in the comments – as always.

values survey

Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose:

1. Increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour

  • Strongly favor: 35%
  • Favor: 32%
  • Oppose: 19%
  • Strongly oppose: 11%
  • Don’t know/refuse: 3%

Increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour

View Results

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2. Eliminating the rights of public employees to collectively bargain over health care, pensions, and other benefits

  • Strongly favor: 16%
  • Favor: 28%
  • Oppose: 26%
  • Strongly oppose: 23%
  • Don’t know/refuse: 7%

Eliminating the rights of public employees to collectively bargain over health care, pensions, and other benefits

View Results

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3. Increase the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million per year
  • Strongly favor: 43%
  • Favor: 27%
  • Oppose: 16%
  • Strongly oppose: 11%
  • Don’t know/refuse: 2%

Increase the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million per year

View Results

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Is this a critical issue facing the country, one among many important issues, or not that important compared to other issues?

1. Reducing the deficit

  • Critical issue: 59%
  • One among many: 29%
  • Not that important: 9%
  • Don’t know/refused: 3%

Reducing the Deficit

View Results

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2. Creating jobs
  • Critical issue: 59%
  • One among many: 29%
  • Not that important: 9%
  • Don’t know/refused: 3%

Creating jobs

View Results

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3. Protecting social security
  • Critical issue: 66%
  • One among many: 28%
  • Not that important: 5%
  • Don’t know/refused: 1%

Protecting Social Security

View Results

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4. Reducing the gap between rich and poor
  • Critical issue: 40%
  • One among many: 30%
  • Not that important: 27%
  • Don’t know/refused: 3%

Reducing the gap between rich and poor

View Results

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5. Increasing government support for people in poverty
  • Critical issue: 41%
  • One among many: 40%
  • Not that important: 18%
  • Don’t know/refused: 2%

Increasing government support for people in poverty

View Results

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American Values Discussion:
  • Which survey question results surprise you the most?
  • Which issue do you feel the most passionate about and how would you fix it?
  • What role do you think government should take in fixing these issues?

Related Posts:


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13 Comments »
  • Trevor says:

    Honestly, I think we are focused on the wrong thing as a whole. Until we impose term limits on congress, and we drastically change campaign finance laws we will continue to see more head butting and less progress in federal government. Also Gerrymandering is a crock of shit, but that’s another rant entirely. So that of course makes the above poll moot to a certain extent, since congress isn’t really listening to the everyday people, they only listen to those people known as corporations.

  • Mike says:

    I wouldn’t mind getting $10 an hour but I have a feeling increasing minimum wage would just result in less hiring of legal workers.

  • Amanda says:

    One of my big beliefs (mostly from the standpoint of effective engineering in a chemical plant) is that if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. There are three issues considered “Critical issues” by more than 50%, and all 5 were ranked as critical. There’s nothing to focus on, so why should anything be worked on. A leader (any leader; come on, step out) will need to set a priority on one of these things and work on it. I guess we sort of have that happening with the “supercommittee,” but even that’s not going so hot.

    • BG says:

      Wow, we know who NOT to elect. All of these problems are interrelated, and have the same fundamental cause: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

      The president should be 100% focused on repatriating our jobs from overseas, and nothing else.

      • Jason says:

        Would you be willing to post if you are currently employed to your desired levels, under employed or unemployed?

      • Jason says:

        1. Start with basic housekeeping. Tax the $1m+ wage earners at a higher rate. When JFK came to office they were getting taxed 90%. He lowered it to 70%. They pay 35% (well 17% per W. Buffet). If you gross $1m, pay your 35% regardless if earned through a job, business or capital gains.

        2. Cut spending. War is really expensive in $$ and lives. Every republican candidate stated they would support Isreal if they invaded Iran in the S. Carolina debates. Repubicans are the biggest pro-spend group there is. Raise the social security age to 67. We are all living longer anyways and many of us will be working jobs we want to be at past the age of 65.

        3. Focus. Pick 1 thing to do better than it is now. Jobs are a great place to start.

        4. Fire Congress. Occupy wall street should move into the capital building. They didn’t want to pay the bills for things they bought this past summer and it lowered our credit rating and made the stock market lose almost 2000 points. http://www.google.com/finance?q=INDEXDJX:.DJI look at the end of July/Beg of Aug.

  • David says:

    I think the problem with our country has nothing to do with congress. It has everything to do with the people. Congress is supposed to represent the people. In my opinion they are doing a perfect job. We as a collective people don’t have a consensus on how to fix our economy. If you ask 10 people on the street how to fix the economy you will get 10 passionately different plans to fix it. Our country will eventually get out of our sluggish growth and who ever happens to be president at the time will get a momentary bump in popularity (until everyone hates the president for something else), and in reality whatever program he used at the time to get our country going again will be completely incidental.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    A lot of how I voted and I believe of how others would vote would depend upon where you are yourself in the whole scheme of things. I voted to tax the wealthy more because I will probably never be that myself. I voted to protect rights as a whole b/c I am a public employee.

  • Jessica Mercedes says:

    The issue with closing the gap between the rich and the poor is misguided. That can be done by decreasing the income of the rich by raising their taxes, which is what is being proposed. But then the poor will still be in the same situation. The focus should be on improving the quality of life for low income people. They need more opportunities for affordable housing, education, higher paying jobs, affordable health insurance, and even cheaper groceries.

  • Mary says:

    I thought it was interesting that 31% of the respondents to this site’s poll said that protecting SS was “not that important” while only 5% of respondents to the PRRI survey felt that way. Although this is obviously too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions, it seems reasonable that those of us who are more concerned with our personal retirement goals (as readers of this site likely are, given its content) would be less concerned with social programs to aid us in retirement.

    Perhaps providing better education at an early age regarding retirement savings options and needs would get more people engaged in funding their own future (and therefore less concerned with and reliant on costly social programs).

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