Are Millennials Far Left on Economics? No.

Their increased social liberalism has not gone in lock step with hostility to free markets.



In response to Robert Draper's New York Times Magazine piece on the potential for a libertarian moment, there has been much debate over where exactly young people stand on economic issues. Critics relying largely on one or two data points have tended to prematurely declare young people staunch economic liberals (e.g. here, here, here, and here). However, millennial attitudes are just not that simple; in particular they are not economic leftists as some have claimed.

Instead, Reason-Rupe's latest study of the millennial cohort shows they are socially liberal, are averse to many nanny state regulations, and are fiscal centrists

As I wrote in our July report:

"Findings from the Reason-Rupe 2014 Millennial Survey of young Americans 18-29 reveal this cohort flouts traditional political allegiances: They trust neither political party, are social liberals and fiscal centrists, and are supportive of both business and government. They favor free markets, but aren't sure whether markets or government best drive income mobility. In all, millennials are neither a Democratic nor a Republican generation; they remain politically unclaimed."

What makes this generation particularly notable is that they don't conform to conventional political stereotypes. In particular, their increased social liberalism has not gone in lockstep with economic liberalism.

To this point, Thomas Edsall in the New York Times citing a recent Pew survey observes the "emergence of a cohort of younger voters who are loyal to the Democratic Party, but much less focused on economic redistribution than on issues of personal and sexual autonomy." Edsall cites an email exchange with Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, in which Kohut further explains, "There is a libertarian streak that is apparent among these left-of-center young people. Socially liberal but very wary of government."

Looking at the millennial cohort broadly, as I will detail below, we find millennials are similar to older cohorts across a number of economic issues, are favorable toward business and profit, and are growing increasingly concerned about government efficacy. Pew finds millennials are more likely to favor more services with a larger government than fewer services with a smaller government. However once tax rates are taken into consideration support flips and millennials prefer smaller government. Perhaps an issue of old Cold War semantics, millennials appear less likely to associate the "size" of government with costs. 

1. Business and the Safety Net The Pew Research Center finds that even though millennials are much more socially liberal, "[Millennial] views are not particularly distinctive in other areas, such as attitudes about business and the social safety net" (p. 63).

Business and Regulation

The charts on the right show that millennials are similar to older cohorts on Pew's Business Attitudes Index. Pew also found that millennials are actually more likely than older cohorts to agree "corporations generally strike a fair balance between making profits and serving the public interest," compared to older cohorts.

Moreover, aggregating polls from Pew, National Journal, and the Public Affairs Council shows that young people are about equally likely as older people to say "government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public interest." (See chart).

If millennials had veered hard left economically we would have observed them becoming less friendly to business and more supportive of regulation, compared to older cohorts, yet we have not. Instead Reason-Rupe finds millennials have favorable views of business, profit, competition and entrepreneurship. In addition, two-thirds perceive government regulators to place special interests above the public's.

Safety Net

When it comes to the social safety net, millennials support it. But Pew finds little evidence that millennials are more supportive than older cohorts: writing that millennials are "not particularly supportive of an expanded social safety net" (p.76). Indeed, the chart (right) shows similar shares of millennials, GenXers, and Boomers agree "government should help more needy people even if it means going deeper into debt."

Moreover, even as Reason-Rupe found strong millennial support for government guarantees, similar questions asked of a national sample find older and younger Americans are equally supportive. For instance, take this April 2012 Pew Survey, accessed via the Roper Center (above). Were millennials staunch economic liberals, they would be more supportive of the social safety net compared to older cohorts, yet they are not.

2. Government Efficacy In areas that Pew finds millennials are distinct, typically about government efficacy, we find they are becoming more like older cohorts and that support declines when considering costs. If millennials were veering leftward on economics, we would not expect an increase in government skepticism among millennials, or such a strong reaction to taxes.


For instance, in 2009 Pew found only 42 percent of millennials agreed government was "inefficient and wasteful." But by 2014 using the exact same wording as Pew, Reason-Rupe found this number increased to 66 percent. In fact, something similar happened for GenXers as well. In the early 90s Pew found only about 42 percent of GenX thought government was wasteful an inefficient, but that number increased to 55 percent by 2003.

Government Action 

Following a similar trend, a NBC/WSJ poll found in 2009 that 64 percent of 18-29 year olds wanted government to "do more to solve problems." By Jan 2010 Pew found this number had declined to 53 percent, and a CBS Feb 2013 poll found this number further declined to 41 percent.  Aggregating CBS, New York Times, NBC/WSJ, and Pew polls further shows the gap between young and old has narrowed on government taking action.

If millennials were economic leftists, we would not expect them to be trending away from wanting government to "do more."

Size of Government

In 2009 Pew found millennials were dramatically more supportive of a larger government than older cohorts (67 vs 41 percent). However, in 2011 Pew found support declined to 56 percent while older cohorts remained steady, and Reason-Rupe found 54 percent support for large government in 2014.

Once again, trending away from larger government is not unique to millennials. A majority (54 percent) of GenXers also preferred larger government in 1999, but by 2011 support declined to 45 percent, according to Pew.

In addition, given recent evidence that millennials may be less familiar with old language about the "size" of government, we asked two questions. The first being the standard question, the second also mentioning tax rates (see chart).

We find that support for large government flips when taxes are mentioned. In fact, 57 percent of millennials prefer a smaller government offering fewer services with low taxes to a larger government offering more services with high taxes (41 percent).

Demographics largely explain millennials' apparent preference for larger government: nonwhite Americans (who tend to favor larger government) comprise a larger share of millennials than of older generations. However, when taxes were mentioned, the race/ethnicity gap disappeared among Latino, Asian, and white millennials. This provides some evidence that different racial/ethnic groups' propensity to associate size of government with taxes may in part explain the apparent preference for larger government.

If millennials were strong economic liberals, it would be unlikely we'd observe such a strong attitude shift upon mentioning taxes associated with government services, nor for the gap to disappear among Latino, Asian, and Caucasian millennials. (Ideally, however, we'd like to have data on older cohorts to compare.)

Strong Government

In a national survey, Reason-Rupe finds millennials are no more likely than older Americans to favor a "strong government to handle today's complex economic problems" (43 to 40 percent respectively). Instead, majorities of millennials and older people favor "a free market with less government involvement" to handle these problems (55 to 57 percent respectively).

What may partly explain millennials' attitudes is that 58 percent say that government agencies "generally abuse their power" while only 25 percent think agencies "generally do the right thing."

3. Minimum Wage, Taxing the Wealthy If millennials were regular economic liberals, we'd also expect them to be more in favor of raising the minimum wage or raising taxes on the wealthy compared to older cohorts. Yet, we find they are similar to all Americans nationally.

For instance, Reason-Rupe's millennials survey found 71 percent favor raising the minimum wage, compared to 67 percent of all Americans.  Similarly, Reason-Rupe found 66 percent of millennials think raising taxes on the wealthy would be good for the economy, just as 69 percent of all Americans favor raising taxes on the wealthy.

4. Social Security Millennials are supportive of reforming Social Security to allow younger workers to invest in private accounts (71 percent). A majority still favors (51 percent) even if it reduces benefits to current seniors. Similarly, Pew found 67 percent of all Americans also favor allowing younger workers invest in private accounts. However, if allowing younger workers to opt out of Social Security meant reduced benefits to seniors, only 38 percent of all Americans would favor while 55 would oppose, according to Reason-Rupe. Millennials' willingness to cut entitlements simply doesn't comport with strong economic liberalism.

5. Economic Attitudes Shift As Income Rises 

Millennials also become more fiscally conservative as they age, make more money, and learn they will become responsible for paying for things. In fact majorities begin to oppose income redistribution and increased spending on financial assistance to the poor, and support for government guarantees drops once millennials start making between $40K-60K a year. Moreover, as they roll off their parents' health insurance policies and begin paying for their own, they no longer are willing to pay more for insurance even "if it helped provide health insurance coverage for the uninsured," flipping from 57 percent in support to 59 percent opposed.

Strong economic liberals would have been willing to pay higher taxes even as they made more money to help the poor, yet millennials trend predictably rightward on these issues as their income rises.

It's also important to note millennials are also more likely to say government has the responsibility to ensure everyone has access to health care coverage (54 percent vs 42 percent of older Americans).  But GenX was also more supportive when they were in their 20s and have since changed. A CBS/New York Times survey in 1996 found 75 percent of GenXers said government should "guarantee medical care for all people who don't have health insurance" compared to 60 percent of older Americans. However today, Pew finds 50 percent of GenX says it's not government's responsibility.

As we've highlighted before, millennials' economic attitudes are a mixed bag, favoring more government action in some areas and less in others, which we detail in our reportpress release, and blog posts.

In sum, the overused claim that young Americans are strong economic liberals is simply exaggerated. Instead, as I argue in our 105-page report on millennials, they are strong social liberals and fiscal centrists who currently tend to base their political judgments largely on social issues rather than economics.

We also have little reason to expect millennials' levels of social tolerance to fade over time. However, as they age, make more money, get their first promotion, buy a house, get married, and have kids, there's reason to expect economics will exert greater influence over millennial attitudes, and they may respond as generations before them.


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  1. But their taste in music sucks, and for that reason alone, they shouldn’t be trusted.

    Don’t trust anyone under 30!

    1. Maybe you’ll like this.

    2. I’m sure your grandpa felt similarly when you kids started dancing to that newfangled swing music in your malt shops.

      1. I know you’re kidding here, but part of what I’m trying to get at is that their music is insufficiently grating.

        You’re supposed to annoy the hell out of the generation that comes before you–not bore them to tears.

        I wish I hated it because it was so obnoxious.

        I hate it because it’s all so…muzak.

        1. You obviously have never heard of dubstep. Try calling that muzak with a straight face, if you even have a face after listening to it.

          1. I call dubstep “remixing video game and pinball game sounds from 1981”. But I keed.

    3. Just like most things, you gotta look outside the mainstream.

  2. “And that’s the last we’ll have to say on that subject.”

    1. I think we’ll be talking about the millennial political predilections well up until the next generation of ‘millenials’ is born after the year 2979.

  3. With all due respect to the independent-minded youngsters that post here, the self-esteem generation was coddled by their boomer parents and now expect to be coddled the rest of their lives. Their political ideas are too incoherent to be called “liberal”, but gimme-free-shit is a key part of their view of government.

    1. A government big enough to give me everything I want is a government also big enough …. to give me even more free shit!

    2. It’s not that they were coddled that makes me distrust them, so much as that they didn’t resent their parents’ authority.

      Resentment against parental authority is the beginning of all libertarianism.

      1. If that’s true then Murray Rothbard wasn’t a true libertarian.

        1. Murray Rothbard lived with his parents until he was 30?

          Murray Rothbard let his parents make his decisions for him well into adulthood?

          Murray Rothbard didn’t resent his parents making his choices for him well into adulthood–if that’s what they did?

          I don’t believe it.

          1. Then you are unfamiliar with Murray Rothbard.

          2. Living with your parents until you are 30 and letting them make decisions about your life until you are 30 is the very fucking definition of coddled.

            You don’t have to resent your parents to decide to walk out the door and start your own life when you turn 18.

            1. 18’s an arbitrary age anyways. In my opinion, children should be operating and fixing heavy machinery by the age of 4 and married with their own children by 8.

      2. Resentment against parental authority is the beginning of all libertarianism.

        I don’t buy that. I don’t buy that at all. Plenty of statists did the whole teenage rebellion thing. And the growth of statism in America largely coincides with the emergence of teenage rebellion as a cultural phenomenon.

        1. I’m not saying that resenting your parents’ authority is all it takes to become a libertarian.

          I’m saying it’s a minimum requirement.

          Chances are that if you’re comfortable with your parents bossing you around, the government doing the same isn’t going to irk you like it would someone else.

          Surely, it’s a lot easier for people to resent the government treating them like children if they also resented paternalism from their parents.

          1. Ken is off his rocker this morning.

            Rothbard was crazy about his parents. So, that means that he was never a libertarian.

            1. Mr. Libertarian was never a libertarian…

              1. For goodness’ sake, try not to take everything so seriously.

                I don’t know anything about Rothbard’s personal life, but if he never resented their authority, then they must have been remarkably respectful of their personal autonomy.

                And I am serious about the millennials. One of their main features is the utter disappearance of the generation gap. Generation gaps have been a fact of American life since the Flappers, at least.

                And human development really does work this way. Even Murray Rothbard, I’m sure, went through what they call the “Terrible Twos”.


                1. Ken, I get along well with my parents and always have, especially my Dad. My parents weren’t authoritarian but they hardly were free spirits that let me do whatever I want. Sure, I pushed boundaries sometimes, but I never resented them. There is no one true way to come to libertarianism.

              2. I, for one, am shocked…shocked, I tell you, that the child of Eastern European Jewish immigrants who grew up in NYC during the 30’s and 40’s might have lived with his parents until he was married and that he maintained a filial demeanor toward them his entire life!

                Next you’ll be telling me that there are cultural differences in how individuals view the nuclear family and one’s relationship within it.

                1. Not a chance! You take that back!!!

          2. I’m saying it’s a minimum requirement.

            B U L L S H I T

          3. The only people I know who hate their parents are whiny progies.

            1. It’s not about hating them.

              It’s resenting their authority.

              You’re supposed to resent your parents’ authority.

              That’s why you move out of the house at a reasonable age.

              They don’t do that.

              Seriously, I’m not the only one who’s noticed:


              1. Those kids also resent their parent’s, they’re just “lucky” enough to be “individuals” with novel roommates.

              2. You’re supposed to resent your parents’ authority.

                That’s why you move out of the house at a reasonable age.

                You don’t think people might move out of their parents’ house out of a sense of self-respect? Let’s put it this way, say you were invited to move back in with your parents, and offered free rein to come and go as you pleased and to do as you saw fit. Would you?

                I’m guessing probably not.

              3. They delay those things because the economy sucks for them. It’s usually more instructive to look at the economy do explain patterns of behavior than to assume some kind of epidemic of bad attitudes or bad parenting (the latter case would make the behavior the fault of the parents, of course).

              4. Poor Ken, try to make a modest, half-serious point and everyone unloads today like you were Tony.

                1. If his point contained fewer absolutes he might not be so open to criticism.

                  1. What absolute?

                    I’m making generalizations about a generation.

                    And they aren’t even my observations. I think I’m borrowing them all from other people.

                    If I were the one that came up with the idea that how you dealt with parental authority as you were growing up might have something to do with how you perceive authority as an adult, then 1) we really are living in an idiocracy and/or 2) I would have been given a Nobel prize for something or other years ago.

                    This is basic stuff. This is the uncontroversial, generally accepted stuff!

                    Yeah, a generation of people who are notorious for getting along great with their parents and staying at home for half of forever–might be more accepting of government authority and less prone to libertarianism as a result of that cozy relationship with paternalism?

                    That’s controversial?!


                    1. Or, Ken, they might be staying at home to take care of aging parents or grandparents or they might not be able to afford to get their own place because rent control has driven rent sky high and property tax caps have driven housing prices beyond sky high or they might have lost a job with a firm that didn’t want to play the campaign-contributions-for-regulatory-protection game…

          4. I’m saying it’s a minimum requirement.

            I understand that. I just think you’re wrong on this one. People can distinguish between their parents and the state. Libertarianism, I would hope, is something more than the political expression of mommy or daddy issues.

          5. I’m saying it’s a minimum requirement.

            Well any libertarian in existence with anecdotal experience to the contrary disproves your minimum threshold theorem. I am not that example, but for me it was the time I was incarcerated in the public school system as a child that sent me down the path. That and having been taught how to reason by my parents…

            1. “Well any libertarian in existence with anecdotal experience to the contrary disproves your minimum threshold theorem.”

              Anybody who thinks anecdotal evidence means developmental psychology has nothing to do with how people learn to cope with authority has watched everything I’ve written go completely over their heads.

              What you’re saying is stupid.

              It’s like listening to creationists talk about evolution.

              Are you going to insist that how you grow up has nothing to do with the kind of adult you become as you develop?

              How fucking stupid are you going to insist on being about this?

          6. Libertarianism emerges from a resentment or distrust of unjust authority. I went through the normal teenage rebellion, but all in all I understood that my parents authority over me was valid. What pissed me off was that people who I didn’t know claimed they had not just as much, but even more authority over me than my parents, simply because of who wrote their paycheck.

            1. ‘Social contracts’ override genes, any good statist knows that.

        2. I def. don’t buy that at all. I had a fantastic relationship with my parents growing up.

          One was a dyed in the wool teachers union Democrat. The other was a business-owning, money making Republican. I’d like to think I took and learned the best qualities from both.

          1. So what’s the best part of a “dyed in the wool teachers union Democrat”? I assumed such a person consists of one part evil and three parts stupidity.

      3. The beginning of libertarianism is recognizing the difference between legitimate and illegitimate authority.

        1. At some point, you’re supposed to want to get the hell out of the nest because you can’t stand not being autonomous.

          Resenting parental authority and desiring autonomy, even if you don’t know what that is, exactly…that process is supposed to start when you’re two and go full throttle around the time you hit puberty.

          Reapproachment isn’t supposed to happen until you’ve achieved some kind of autonomy–and even then, it’s only supposed to happen against a backdrop of seething resentment for past injustices. …at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and weddings but not funerals.

          1. Resenting parental authority and desiring autonomy, even if you don’t know what that is, exactly…that process is supposed to start when you’re two and go full throttle around the time you hit puberty.

            You do know, I hope, that the concept of teenage rebellion, and even puberty for that matter, are really only a hundred to two hundred years old.

            1. I think you’re going too far out on that limb, there.

              The parable of the prodigal son has resonated with people for at least 2,000 years.

              Have you ever read the accounts of the trial of Socrates? One of the charges was that he was corrupting the youth–damn insolent kids goin’ around questioning everything we say!

              As far as conceptions of puberty? Whatever. I saw a dominant ram (big horn sheep) chasing his own sons from his harem in Utah this summer. Our conceptions of puberty may have changed over time, but those hormonal changes and a fact. And they have predictable results on our desire not to be children anymore.

              You can see it among animals. I’ve seen the same kind of behavior exhibited in wild horses and wolves.

              1. And they have predictable results on our desire not to be children anymore.

                And until a couple of hundred years ago, those harmones started kicking in right around when you had to enter the labor pool. And had to help support the family.

      4. Resentment against parental authority is the beginning of all libertarianism.

        I never resented my parents authority. I certainly ignored their commands when I could get away with it as a teenager. But, I never resented their authority.

        1. You did. And it started when you were two or three years old.

          If you never resented their authority, there would be something developmentally wrong with you.

          The question is why that resentment doesn’t fully express itself in millenials into and through their teenage years and into young adulthood.

          Without that resentment, there’s no rock & roll. …or the rock & roll sucks, which explains why every millenial’s favorite band totally sucks.

          1. You must use a different dictionary than I use. Cause I don’t see how boundary pushing is primary evidence of resentment.

            It is actually quite possible to disagree with your parents judgement without resenting their authority to make that judgement.

            1. “It is actually quite possible to disagree with your parents judgement without resenting their authority to make that judgement.”

              Have you ever seen a two year-old throw a temper tantrum?

              Do you really think they’re making that kind of rationalization?

              1. I think most of the rest of the world just doesn’t root their sense of self identity in 2 year old temper tantrums, Ken.

                Even within psychology you are espousing a quasi-freudian position that probably represents the minority these days.

            2. Every argument I ever lost with my parents just fueled my resolve to move the fuck out ASAP.

              And through sheer luck I moved out just a month after I turned 20 and never had to move back in.

          2. Resentment is something very different than pushing boundaries and challenging legitimacy.

      5. “Resentment against parental authority is the beginning of all libertarianism.”

        Some of you who still have…um…reservations about this idea, try to think of it the other way:

        What do you think of the suggestion that moving through the process of psychological development, from a completely dependent infant to a healthy autonomous adult, has nothing to do with resentment against parental authority–consciously or otherwise?

        What do you think of the suggestion that resentment against parental authority has no bearing on how someone perceives other types of authority–like the legitimacy of government authority?

        1. It’s curious that you think there isn’t individual variation among the origin of libertarian sympathies in people.

          1. I think there is some variation. We’re talking about trends among a generation of people.

            That being said, the development stages we go through are all very similar–and they seem to be cross cultural.

            Cultures that are remarkably different from each other in various ways still have babies that go through the terrible twos.

    3. The next generation is even worse. I have a 17 year old who has no interest in getting her driver’s license, no interest in getting out of the house and doing things, and is content just sitting home her iPod and video games. I talk to other parents and they are seeing the same things. When I was 17, we couldn’t wait to get our license and get the hell out of our parents’s reach. We wanted to be independent. But teenagers don’t value independence, they would rather be taken care of. That’s a pretty bad indicator for our future.

      1. I didn’t start dating until I had a driver’s license. I thought the idea of needing my parents to pick me up and drop me off was stupid and I couldn’t think of why any girl would be interested in a guy like that.

        Kind of dumb/stubborn way of thinking about things, but girls didn’t mean that much to me at the time.

      2. Before the internet, staying at home was boring. Back in my day, we had one TV and we thirteen channels of shit to choose from, and usually my dad had it tuned to Hee Haw. Who wanted to stay home for that?

        Now you can talk to, face to face, with people half-way around the world. You can possibly have more inter-personal interaction staying at home today than going out thirty years ago. Scoring some beer and finding someplace to drink it, and hoping to cop a feel, was the agenda. Now it’s finding Wi-Fi and an outlet and sending pictures of your junk to someone in Siberia. And home is where the Wi-Fi and the outlet are.

      3. If you think it’s bad now, wait until a few years from now when our teenagers are having sex with robots instead of with other teenagers!

        1. Will they be teenage robots? If so, are they out of warranty by their teens?

      4. You might try converting to some kind of really obnoxious fundamentalist religion.

        Force them to go to church regularly, use parental block on all the televisions…

        It might help if you became a vegetarian at the same time.

        Don’t let her leave the house unless her ankles and elbows are covered!

        You see where you could go with this, right?

        There are only three good reasons to make or change house rules:

        1) To protect children from outside threats.

        2) To protect children from their own childish judgement

        3) The parents’ personal amusement

        I understand changing the rules around on a seventeen year old can be hilarious!

        1. I understand changing the rules around on a seventeen year old can be hilarious!

          Cripes, Ken Schultz, if that’s from learned example, no wonder you resent your parents’ authority…

          1. Did your parents always take everything they read so seriously?

            1. Touche.

    4. Millennials mainly have Gen X parents. My grandparents are the boomers.

      There is a major split in the millennial generation, enough so that talking about them as a homogeneous group is dumb. The first group consists of Millennials whose parents were either involved in their children’s lives enough to be a positive influence but not too much, or parents who were absentee to the point that the children had to learn self sufficiency skills. The second group is the children of helicopter parents.

      Guess what, the first group tend to be well adjusted, can hold down a job, know how to be independent, and can fail without needing years of therapy. The second group are constantly on Facebook bitching about how hard it is to get a job with a 2.5 GPA in Korean art history and posting barely literate rants about killing Gaia and racist wingnuts.

      1. Knowing what I know about Korean art history, I’m surprised that the hiring requirements of I Can Haz Cheezburger are so rigorous.

      2. And those “racist wingnuts” they’re ranting about are probably white people that maybe said the N-word inadvertently while reciting rap songs to themselves or quoting lines from their favorite movies to their friends.

        1. Or anyone who disagreed with Obama on any of his policies.

  4. But what do millennials think about milleniial poles?

    1. Great, another circumcision thread…

    2. RACIST!!!! I’m offended on behalf of Polish people that I don’t even know personally!!!! 😛

      1. Did you hear about the Polack who left his keys in the car?

        Took two days to get his family out.

  5. There was one survey which showed a preponderance of favor for gov’t provided medical care; it’s not in this recap.
    Regardless, it appears as if the group is at least slightly more to the left than the current consensus. From my position, that is pretty far left.

    1. If they’ve been through public school systems and then any college/university, they’ve been exposed to leftist propaganda their entire lives, so what else should we expect. It’s amazing that even a few of them aren’t commies.

    2. They also seem to like minimum wage hikes and free shit. It’s one thing to ask folks generalized questions especially when they use words like reasonable and unreasonable. It’s a whole different ball of wax when you get into specifics.

    3. How about if you age adjust it vs. previous generations their age? That is, 1st take their place relative to the general contemporary pop., then adjust that position secularly.

      For example, if young people at all times tend to trend “left” compared to avg. age people, then compare how much they trend “left” on that scale with how much previous generations trended “left” when they were that age relative to avg. age.

  6. Judging by the level of economic illiteracy I see in the under 30 crowd, I thing it is difficult to call them economic anything. Even being an economic leftist requires knowing something, albeit something that is wrong.

    1. They’re victims of the group think mentality. They’ve been conditioned to believe that there are ‘top’ people who do the thinking and that their role is not to think, but to conform to whatever it is has been decided is best for the collective.

    2. They’re driven by what they perceve as “fairness”. Unfortunatly that means wealth redistribution. They have no idea how economic laws work. That is why they support harmful policies when they perceive that the “intention” is “fair”. They have no clue that government economic regulations almost always hurt more than help.

    3. Leftist economics: It doesn’t feel fair that some people have lots of stuff while others don’t, and since government has a license to steal, it should fix it.

    4. As Hyperion noted, they’ve been in socialist indoctrination camps for 12-16 years. It takes about half that time in the real world to deprogram.

      1. The problem is that the rest of us are going to have to suffer as they learn how the world works.

        1. That assumes that it will be the same world.

        2. Especially parents who have their 30 something college grads living with them because there are no jobs.


    1. It’s not halloween yet.

      1. Stupid Emily Eakins and her stupid millennials. It’s all wishful thinking. It’s a pipe dream that millennials will start a libertarian revolution of some sort: “if millennials realize that they don’t like the government, then the libertarian party can rise to power!”

        It’s the same type of pipe dream that the urban envy hipster in my town have: “if we build a streetcar, then people with take Cincinnati seriously!”

        1. Libertarians will never rise to power because libertarians do not have a desire to rule over others. That’s the conundrum. How do you put people in power who do not desire power?

          1. It does not require a desire for power over others, it only requires the desire for the power that would make it possible to limit the state’s power over others. I do see what you’re saying, but it could be possible to rise to power for the sole purpose of eliminating that power. Like a suicide bomber!

            1. “Political tags ? such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth ? are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

              It would be nice if people sought power so they could dismantle it, but in practice it doesn’t happen. Never has. Never will. It goes against human nature.

              1. So you’re saying we need to blow up DC. Where do I sign up?

                1. So you’re saying we need to blow up DC

                  You give us all a bad name.

                  1. You give us all a bad name Comeon. I’m much too comfortable living in America to do anything that required planning or travel!

                2. I smell an agent provocateur.

                3. So you’re saying we need to blow up DC. Where do I sign up?

                  Is this a new troll, or has tulpa jumped the shark?

                  1. Is this a new troll, or has tulpa jumped the shark?

                    Oy Vey. No place for sarcasm or hyperbole on this forum. Was only saying that if we can’t change the system from the inside per sarc’s suggestion that we clearly need to change it from the outside. I’m personally an inside guy myself though. I actually do think it’s possible to elect a sufficiently libertarian politician to start the ball rolling.

                    1. I’m going to regret this, but here goes…

                      Was only saying that if we can’t change the system from the inside[…] that we clearly need to change it from the outside. I’m personally an inside guy myself though.

                      When you can’t write two back-to-back sentences without contradicting yourself, it’s better not to write anything at all.

                      There’s plenty of room all kinds of literary effects on this forum – just not blinky text. The point of literary devices is to communicate something extra not in the strict definitions of the words you use. Just saying something that you don’t believe is called lying and doesn’t communicate anything except that you’re a dishonest hack who’s desperate for attention…which I’m giving you, so just please go away.

                    2. I guess we know which side of the “control” fence you’re on.

                    3. Historically, aside from Cincinnatus and Washington, I am not aware of too many people who once they had the reigns of power … did not try to ride that train into the sunset.

                      This is a Republic. Perhaps someone may rise up and upon grabbing control of government will dismantle it.

                      Washington came ~2300 years after Cincinnatus – I am not hopeful about the statistics.

                    4. aside from Cincinnatus and Washington, I am not aware of too many people who once they had the reigns of power … did not try to ride that train into the sunset.

                      Every president up to FDR.

                    5. You’re forgetting Teddy Roosevelt and his attempted comeback.

                    6. Or Grant’s attempt to get the GOP nomination in 1880. Or Wilson’s attempt to deadlock the 1920 Dem Convention by opposing his son-in-law in the hopes they would nominate him for a third term.

          2. I like the whole sword in the stone method, myself.

            1. +1 watery tart

  8. I think it comes down to how the application is politicized and/or what is intellectually easier.

    Millennials have bleeding hearts. We support government subsidies of social issues: healthcare, helping the poor, education, etc. Government subsidy is the easy solution. Why develop an understanding of economics when you can just vote to throw money (usually not your own) at an issue? Mandating a minimum wage is easy. Untangling the machine that destroys the money people currently make is difficult. We like the environment, but we also like iPhones, because selfies. As long as we’re destroying China’s environment, and not our own, we can sleep at night.

    We’re also anti-corporation, so we’re against corporate bailouts because CEOs get paid too much (but we turn a blind eye to how much we pay politicians to do nothing).

    In short, corporate welfare is bad and social welfare is good. Because the feels.

    We don’t want to bother learning how the systems operate, or how to build a better one, because that’s hard. We don’t want to understand why something isn’t working, we just want to pay government to understand it for us. Relying on private industry requires faith, whereas relying government is a sure thing(apparently – probably because the budget is seen as unlimited and the gov. has people with guns).

    We don’t understand that we can have an empire or an welfare state, but not both.

    Sometimes I hate my generation.

    1. Well put.

    2. Defining moments in the lives of millenials: the Iraq War and the financial crisis. One was a failure of faith-based foreign policy, the other a failure of faith-based economic policy. Expect the generation that came of age during these events to reject the thinking that led to these catastrophes: neoconservative foreign policy and neoliberal economic policy.

      1. The real defining moment for millenials…finishing school, moving out of their parents’ homes, getting a job and realizing that nobody in the real world gives a shit about them unless they produce something of value.

        Aka…getting bitch-slapped by reality.…

        1. Very good article, thank you for that.

      2. Ironically enough, the financial crisis was actually based a lot on faith-based economics. Tony just doesn’t realize it was his faith.

    3. I could hear Gutfeld . . .

      Your point is right on, but it also applies to most people regardless of age. They choose . . . WELFARE STATE! It’s easier.

  9. … are fiscal centerists

    So what you’re saying that, on average, people are average?

    1. Fiscal centerists are pretty far left IMO. Certainly not what I would call libertarian.

  10. OT: UNMH patient tested for ebola

    I never figured Albuquerque would be ground zero for patient zero.

    1. The woman is in isolation at UNM Hospital with symptoms matching that of Ebola- a sore throat, headache, fever and muscle aches.

      She just returned from West Africa where officials say she was a teacher.

      That’s one of the hard things about Ebola. Look at those symptoms: they could be cholera, or flu, or lots of other things. Its not easy to diagnose early and accurately. Which means that someone transmissible won’t be recognized as such.

      1. Well, I did say I never figured.

        But yeah, I’m surprised how little consternation I’m seeing developing around this. Something tells me we’ll see more upset if she’s diagnosed, but only if she’s treated with the mystery zombola “vaccine.”

  11. Try talking to one of your millennial nieces or nephews. I bet they believe, as you do, that a big raise from the boss will greatly improve their personal economic situation. But, unlike you, they don’t believe that forcing big raises for everyone will harm the economy.

  12. As Hyperion noted, they’ve been in socialist indoctrination camps for 12-16 years. It takes about half that time in the real world to deprogram.

  13. It hardly matters which way millenials poll. After many have put in a few years’ work they’ll bridle at the thought that some people are paid to be indolent, and they’ll tend toward economic conservatism. Still others will become beneficiaries of same, and drift toward economic leftism. But the bulk will remain centrists with syncretic leanings one way or the other on a variety of subjects, mostly in tandem with populist or nationalist misconceptions about economics, and thus perpetuate the bureaucratic state.

  14. Instead of “Millenials”, try that headline with “Demographic cohort that broke for Obama 2:1 in 2012”, as in

    Is Demographic Cohort That Broke for Obama 2:1 in 2012 Far Left on Economics? No.

    Or, if you want a little punchier headline:

    Are Voters who Re-Elected Obama Far Left on Economics? No.

    Revealed preference trumps stated preference. Every. Single. Time.

    1. While I’m hardly a cheerleader for millenials, I don’t think this is a fair analysis. There are plenty of non-economic reasons millenials may have broken for Obama, some reasonable, some excrable.

      1. There was a “reasonable” excuse to vote for either team’s candidate 2008 and 2012? Please give me one.

        1. You could’ve voted for Gary Johnson. He was on the ballot in all 50 states. (Belushi voice) But NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

      2. There are plenty of non-economic reasons millenials may have broken for Obama, some reasonable, some excrable.

        Being economically centrist means nothing when social justice is at stake. Being a social justice warrior and signaling to your peers that you have the correct ideas will trump economics every single time.

  15. C’mon Emily. That Wall Street didn’t occupy itself.

    1. There was an article here the other day claiming that was a left-libertarian allience. No seriously there was.

      1. That was derp too. Unfortunately the two wrongs do not make a right here. Just derp^2

  16. More fucking derp.
    From a poll cited here at “Reason”.com

    “58 percent of millennials think government should spend more on financial assistance to the poor, even if higher taxes are required”…..ial-genera

    Face it. Moar fee shit is in the cards. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. The “libertarian moment” is going to last a nano-second.

    Emily, can I have fries with this?

    1. Perhaps most millennials don’t have the same, uh, cultural resentments older anti-government types do that lead to attitudes like this. We don’t see the safety net as a handout, but as a useful institution that benefits society as a whole. Maybe we prefer not to pry into people’s moral worth in the process of determining good social policy, or to equate moral uprightness with wealth and moral failure with poverty. We’re just not the busybodies you guys are.

      1. I actually think Tony’s partly right.

        It’s been pointed out (even scientifically measured as shown in an analysis in LP News 20 yrs. ago from National) that a lot of difference in support for redistribution between the USA & Europe (back then) was the sense in Europe that redistribution would go to people like yourself (maybe even actually yourself) when they need it, while in the USA it was going to other people unlike you would ever be, e.g. blacks.

        1. I don’t know why people think this is something unique to “millenials”.

          Young people have usually been more fiscally liberal because they often don’t understand how money works and because most of them have been living on their parents’ dime. They get older, start earning a paycheck, start paying their own way, and they realize just how much harder taxes make it to get ahead. It’s not a new phenomena…it’s just that, as my dad once said, “A conservative is someone with something to conserve.”

          In fact, I learned about this when I got my first job where I had to fill out a W-4 and asked “Wait, what the fuck is FICA!?!” when I got my first paycheck. Millenials will get more fiscally conservative as they get older because they’ll get jobs and get tired of the government chiseling them…unless they’re failures, in which case they’ll still be looking for free stuff paid for by hypothetical “rich” people.

          1. It’s a myth that people get conservative as they age. People tend to stick with the same politics throughout adulthood.

            Young people don’t see taxes as the major source of their poor cash flow. Most people don’t make enough for taxes to be that big of a burden. That’s the root problem.

            And until you guys stop acting like Bible-beating creationists on inconvenient scientific subjects, millenials aren’t going to trust you on anything else.

            1. Tony|8.18.14 @ 3:28PM|#
              “It’s a myth that people get conservative as they age. People tend to stick with the same politics throughout adulthood.”

              Yeah, idjit lefties never do mature.

    2. But how does that compare with the previous generation when they were asked the same Q at that age? Better yet, how do they rank relative to the gen’l pop., and how does that rank compare to previous generations at that age?

    3. Not unless you pay me 15 dollars an hour.

  17. As a millennial myself, I can give you my own personal anecdotes on what millennials believes. I grew up and still live in a predominantly conservative state and I went to a private catholic high school, but here’s what I noticed: most people don’t give two shits about politics, and if they do, they generally have opinions on three issues, weed, gay marriage, and abortion. The faux outrage at abortion comes from the fact that we went to a catholic school and people are supposed to think abortion is the most evil thing in the world, but I can tell that most of the people that say abortion should be illegal don’t give a shit about it, because it doesn’t affect them personally. Their opinions on weed and gay marriage are essentially, “why should I care?” Most of them have smoked weed, and most of them have either been around a gay person or seen one on the internet, and so they don’t understand why these are even contested issues. Those seem to be the only issues where there is a deviation from what their parents think.

    1. Sounds just like the people I grew up with as part of “Generation X”, who were pretty much the same as the generation before them and the generation before them (only with different core issues during each iteration).

      Apathy and ignorance are just part of being young. Eventually most people grow out of it. Very few of them ever diverged much from their parents core beliefs and values, but that’s just how people are.

  18. As a millenial, I feel like I should call BS on this…it seems that most of my generation is going lockstep to the left. The best I can say is that most are too dumb to even consider their economic positions because they are totally single-voting for social liberalism.

    1. Add to that I am currently in college and recently wrote a paper defending Capitalism…and anecdotal though it may be, I didn’t see a lot of love for the free market.

    2. I feel the same way. Whenever something like minimum wage might’ve come up in class, it seemed almost incomprehensible to people that raising the minimum wage could cost people their jobs. People our age only seem to vote based on a politician’s stance on weed and gay marriage. The idea that “two-thirds perceive government regulators to place special interests above the public’s” seems absurd to me because it is so far from my own experiences with people my age.

      And I don’t necessarily think that indicates anything good from a libertarian perspective. I would imagine many of the same people that believe this also support an amendment to “get money out of politics.” Their idea of regulators putting special interests above the interest of the public is not regulators protecting big business by putting up barriers to entry, but rather the FCC not mandating net neutrality.

  19. As a boomer, I could give a shit what millennials think about anything. I won’t be holding breath.

    1. (couldn’t give) But what do I care what people think about my failure to commun’cate?

  20. As others have noted, all this means is that millennials sort of appear to be libertarians in the abstract.

    You can ask anybody what they think about starting a business of competition and get a mostly favorable response.

    And if the millennials aren’t FAR left and just mainstream, that’s still bad news for libertarians.

  21. If only someone would do a poll.

    1. Best I can offer you is a rail.

  22. Millenials are what happens when kids aren’t spanked enough.

  23. Whew! Thank god they reposted this article from last month. Otherwise I’d have no idea Reason was doing such fine work on the subject of millenials.
    Can someone tell me, has HnR posted any articles on Police Militarization? I really think there’s something to that other little hidden gem

  24. As I’ve written before here, the most meaningful way to judge these data would be age-adjustedly. That is, what’s important is not how this cohort differs from their contemporaries of different ages, but how they differ from previous cohorts when those cohorts were at the same age as this cohort is now. It’s well known that attitudes change with age, so that’s not so interesting; but are attitudes changing with generations?

  25. What matters for the future politically is how Latino, blacks, and Asians vote more so than ‘millenials’.

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