Cover Story: Business Week/Harris Poll
TIME FOR UNCLE SAM TO PITCH IN?
Americans are worried about the U.S.'s position in the global economy and increasingly gloomy about their children's future. But they're divided over what to do. Although they strongly oppose an industrial policy that would have the government picking winners and losers and are tepid on incentives for business, they favor spurring R&D.
How concerned are you that U.S. industry is becoming less competitive in the global economy?
Very concerned 57%
Somewhat concerned 32%
Not very concerned 5%
Not at all concerned 5%
Not sure 1%
Do you expect your children will have a better life than you have had, a worse life, or a life about as good as yours?
March, 1992 August, 1989
Better life 34% 59%
Worse life 29% 10%
About as good 33% 25%
Not sure 4% 6%
Governments in other countries take a more active role in
picking, investing in, and helping industries that they think are important to their long-term prosperity. Do you think the U.S. government should do this, or should decisions about which industries to invest in be left to the free market?
U.S. should pick, invest in, and help selected industries 31%
Decisions should be left to free market 60%
Not sure 9%
WHERE TO HELP
In order to spur economic growth, do you think the federal
Should not sure
Grant tax credits for a wide
variety of investments by
business? 46% 46% 8%
Let companies deduct the costs
of their plants and equipment
more quickly? 53% 38% 9%
Increase government spending to
help businesses develop new
technologies, such as
computer chips? 53% 44% 3%
Grant tax credits for research-
and-development investments? 70% 25% 5%
Do you favor or oppose the following proposals?
Favor Oppose Not sure
Limiting imports to protect U.S.
companies and workers from foreign
competition 64% 34% 2%
Preventing foreign companies from
buying U.S. companies that have
developed new technologies 45% 51% 4%
Providing cheap government financing
to U.S. companies that want to
export products or services overseas 52% 43% 5%
Providing technical or marketing
help from the government to U.S.
companies that want to export
products or services overseas 60% 36% 4%
Now that the cold war is over, do
you think the savings from
cutbacks in military spending should
or should not be used for each of the
following? And which one of these
would you favor the most?
Should Not Favor
Should not sure most
Cutting the budget deficit 74% 23% 3% 28%
Cutting taxes 60% 37% 3% 22%
Retraining defense workers to
work in other industries 76% 21% 3% 18%
Redirecting military research
and development money into
civilian R&D 77% 20% 3% 14%
Helping defense industries
convert to commercial
manufacturing 66% 30% 4% 12%
Not sure 6%
WHAT TO FUND
Would you favor or oppose the government's spending more money on each of the following if it meant that your taxes had to be increased to pay for it?
Favor Oppose Not sure
Building and repairing roads and bridges 51% 47% 2%
Improving public-school education 77% 22% 1%
Educating more engineers and scientists 42% 57% 1%
Survey of 1,253 adults conducted Mar. 11-17, 1992, for BUSINESS WEEK by Louis Harris & Associates Inc.
Results should be accurate to within 3 percentage points.Edited by Mark N. Vamos