Study: Millennials Really Love Their Big Government

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A study from the Center for American Progress polls the Millennial generation and finds that they aren't afraid of big government, not even a little. This is a bit surprising, because one thing I always heard about today's twentysomethings is that we're libertarian-lite: culturally liberal but too anti-authority to love a big government. Well, nevermind, I guess.


As Matt Yglesias points out, today's youth are tilting left on all sorts of economic questions, from more government investment in education and infrastructure (80% agree) to leading the world's eco-revolution (73% on board). And on the meta-questions about government's role in American lives, we really are all socialists now:
metaq.pngWhat I find interesting, if not entirely revelatory, is that Millennials are stoked about the goals of liberal government (more than two-thirds support sustainable eco-solutions, universal health care, alternative energies) but pretty ambivalent about the means. Here's a list of the items where the survey found Millennials hedging:

ambi.png

It seems to me that those issues are all about process. The role of government in fighting climate change, the danger of deficit spending, the challenge of incorporating teacher and auto unions into reforms and finding market solutions as a whole: These are the means that Obama will wrestle with to achieve the ends described above. Of course we don't have strong opinions about economic strategy: We're waiting to see if Obama's tactics work first. And if they don't, the big government generation could slow its leftish shift.

After all, let's remember: about two-thirds of this group once supported the Iraq War.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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