Where is Milton Friedman when you need him:
Capitalism has been the world's greatest engine of wealth creation. The past three centuries of economic - and concomitant social - advancements throughout the world are a history of the impact of capitalism - and, in the mirror image, the failure of socialism. Yet today, many of our children are apparently coming out of school with a negative view of capitalism, a dearth of knowledge about economics, and no understanding of the negative impacts of socialism. Moreover, it would appear that the left's rebranding from "liberal" to "progressive" has been a successful one. Chalk that one up to the "you can fool most of the people some of the time." See this recently released - and highly depressing - poll from Pew:
“Socialism” is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all Americans. “Capitalism” is regarded positively by a majority of the public, though it is a thin majority. There are certain segments of the public – notably, young people and Democrats – where both “isms” are rated about equally. . . .
These are among the findings of a national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press that tests reactions to words and phrases frequently used in current political discourse. Overall, 29% say they have a positive reaction to the word “socialism,” while 59% react negatively. The public’s impressions of “capitalism,” though far more positive, are somewhat mixed. Slightly more than half (52%) react positively to the word “capitalism,” compared with 37% who say they have a negative reaction.
A large majority of Republicans (77%) react negatively to “socialism,” while 62% have a positive reaction to “capitalism.” Democrats’ impressions are more divided: In fact, about as many Democrats react positively to “socialism” (44%) as to “capitalism” (47%).
Reaction to “capitalism” is lukewarm among many demographic groups. Fewer than half of young people, women, people with lower incomes and those with less education react positively to “capitalism.”
The survey, conducted April 21-26 among 1,546 adults, measured reactions to nine political words and phrases. The most positive reactions are to “family values” (89% positive) and “civil rights” (87%). About three-quarters see “states’ rights” (77%) and “civil liberties” (76%) positively, while 68% have a positive reaction to the word “progressive.” . . .
The most striking partisan differences come in reactions to the word “socialism.” Just 15% of Republicans react positively to “socialism” while 77% react negatively. By more than two-to-one (64% to 26%), independents also have a negative impression of “socialism.” However, Democrats are evenly divided – 44% have a positive reaction to “socialism” while 43% react negatively.
“Capitalism” elicits a less partisan reaction. About six-in-ten Republicans (62%) react positively to “capitalism,” compared with 29% who have a negative reaction. About half of independents (52%) have a positive impression while 39% react negatively. Among Democrats, 47% react positively to “capitalism” while nearly as many (43%) react negatively.
There is a substantial partisan divide in views of the word “progressive.” However, majorities of Democrats (81%), independents (64%) and Republicans (56%) have a positive reaction to “progressive.” . . .
Young people are more positive about “socialism” – and more negative about “capitalism” – than are older Americans. Among those younger than 30, identical percentages react positively to “socialism” and “capitalism” (43% each), while about half react negatively to each. Among older age groups, majorities view “socialism” negatively and “capitalism” positively. . . .
More than twice as many blacks as whites react positively to “socialism” (53% vs. 24%). Yet there are no racial differences in views of “capitalism” – 50% of African Americans and 53% of whites have a positive reaction.
Those with a high school education or less are evenly divided over “capitalism” (44% positive vs. 42% negative). Among those with some college experience, 49% react positively to “capitalism” as do 68% of college graduates. Those with a high school education or less are more likely to express a positive view of “socialism” than do those with more education. . . .
Perhaps surprisingly, opinions about the terms “socialism” and “capitalism” are not correlated with each other. Most of those who have a positive reaction to “socialism” also have a positive reaction to “capitalism”; in fact, views of “capitalism” are about the same among those who react positively to “socialism” as they are among those who react negatively (52% and 56%, respectively, view “capitalism” positively). Conversely, views of “socialism” are just as negative among those who have a positive reaction to “capitalism” (64% negative) as those who react negatively (61% negative). . . .
I have long thought that no child should graduate from high school without an understanding of free market economics, basic accounting and business law. It would seem we are a long way indeed from that reality.