So much did millennials believe in hope and change and the promise of smart government, they voted Barack Obama into the Oval Office — twice.
Now that they are getting a first-hand taste of what smart government means in real life, they seem to be changing their tune.
If a Reason-Rupe survey about millennial attitudes toward government is any indication, though millennials are hardly Republicans they may not be as far apart on some issues as previously assumed.
In some senses, the poll results offer a mixed message. On the general role of government, more than two-thirds believe the public sector has a responsibility to provide food, housing and a living wage. The same majority wants to hike taxes on the wealthy.
But when it comes to what government delivers, millennials sound like Milton Friedman.
Two-thirds of millennials agree that “when something is funded by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful.” Large majorities have a positive view of competition and profit, and 55 percent say they’d like to start a business one day.
More interesting is how millennial attitudes change as they either learn more or are more personally involved in the issue. Opposition to income redistribution, for example, rises with income.
Millennials who pay for their health insurance oppose paying more for the uninsured, and when they learn they may get back less from Social Security than they put into it, a majority favors private retirement accounts.