Archive

ShareThis Page
Scott Rasmussen: Not every problem needs a federal solution | TribLIVE.com
Featured Commentary

Scott Rasmussen: Not every problem needs a federal solution

Tribune-Review
| Monday, September 17, 2018 9:03 p.m

Fifty-five percent of voters believe that Facebook has too much power. Forty-seven percent believe the same about Twitter. For those in the political world, such numbers represent an obvious call for government action.

But voters disagree. Just 21 percent want the federal government to regulate social media giants.

That gap is partly due to general skepticism about the government. Only 18 percent trust the gang in D.C. to do the right thing most of the time. Most (55 percent) believe government regulators would be even more biased than the social media companies they’re supposed to regulate.

However, there’s much more to it than simple distrust of government. The vast majority of Americans recognize that government is far from the only tool we have to address society’s problems.

As individuals, we can take steps to protect ourselves from Facebook’s power by sharing less information or even deleting our accounts. We can also pass on privacy tips and other guidance to friends, family and others. Collectively, if Facebook doesn’t respond to consumer concerns, serious competition will arise to cut the influence of Mark Zuckerberg’s empire.

I know it’s hard to imagine anybody competing with Facebook, but I also know that 20 years ago, government officials were convinced nobody could ever compete with Microsoft. At the time, Amazon was just 4 years old, Google was just being created and Zuckerberg was in high school. Even the most entrenched of tech companies need to pay attention to their customer base or they will be challenged.

This fundamental tension between the public identification of a problem and the desire for government action applies to just about every aspect of our public dialogue.

For example, 82 percent of people believe that everyone who is willing to work should be guaranteed a minimum-wage job. But that doesn’t mean people are clamoring for a federal jobs guarantee — only 36 percent of people are.

Why? In the eyes of many, our economy already provides the needed assurance — 77 percent believe that anyone who is healthy and willing to work can find a job.

What about health care? It’s one of the hottest issues on the campaign trail this year. Yet a majority (51 percent) of voters believe that more competition is the best way to bring down the cost of care. Just 21 percent think government regulation is a better approach. As for the quality of care, most are counting on technology rather than new government policies to provide the answers.

Even voters who think the feds should do more to help the economy aren’t pining for a bigger government role. Forty-three percent say the best thing the government could do is to cut spending. Thirty percent want more tax cuts.

Generally speaking, voters think the United States is a pretty great place to live and a wonderful land of opportunity. At the same time, they recognize that our nation is far from perfect. Problems big and small are encountered on a daily basis, and voters want them resolved.

But just because voters see a problem doesn’t mean that they want the federal government to get involved. Voters believe there’s almost always a better solution available.

Scott Rasmussen is the publisher of ScottRasmussen.com and author of “The Sun Is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed but America Will Not.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.