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%


In order to spur economic growth, do you think the federal

government should:

Should Not

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%


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.

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