Millennials: Crack Down on Coke, but Hands Off My Food Trucks

A slightly partisan survey of U.S. millennials reveals what sort of involvement the generation wants from its government

A new survey out Thursday from Reason-Rupe, the product of the libertarian-leaning research foundation Reason, says American 20-somethings make up a “politically unclaimed” generation looking for a lot less government oversight, and that they think the U.S. government is “inefficient and wasteful.”

The survey, which polled 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, is awash in big-picture data about how millennials want to deal with their government—things like how much they should be taxed, how the government should deal with minimum wage and whether millennials prefer capitalism to socialism (52 percent prefer the former).

Although some of the data does fulfill Reason-Rupe’s initial claims about government skepticism, especially when it comes to cutting government spending overall, 20-somethings are surprisingly reasonable about the value of government oversight influencing their daily lives. For instance, millennials think government should probably keep tabs on illegal drug use and bitcoin, described in the survey as “a new digital currency,” but when it comes to things like wearing Google Glass in public or eating trans fats, they say politicians should perhaps take a step back.

The researchers note that more than one-third of millennials think the use of hard drugs like ecstasy and heroin should be punishable by jail time, and responses (like those shown in the above chart) indicate that as lifestyle issues grow objectively weightier, survey respondents look for increased oversight.

And despite the survey’s thesis, the researchers point out that those polled are shockingly interested in help from the U.S. government. For instance, 74 percent of those who replied say politicians have a “responsibility to guarantee every citizen has a place to sleep and enough to eat.”

Perhaps then, rather than government skepticism, the survey proves what we already know: Millennials care a lot about “lifestyle liberty.”


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