Millennials Believe in Free Markets and Want a Scandinavian Welfare State

Millennials may view socialism more favorably than their parents, but their definition of socialism is very different than that of previous generations. 



Millennials V2Millennials may view socialism more favorably than their parents, but their definition of socialism is very different than those of previous generations, and much more similar to present-day Denmark, writes Emily Ekins of the Cato Institute in the Washington Post.


According to Ekins, while 69 percent of millennials told Gallup last year they’d be willing to vote for a “socialist” candidate for president,


Only 32 percent of millennials favor “an economy managed by the government,” while, similar to older generations, 64 percent prefer a free-market economy.


Ekins adds:


So what does socialism actually mean to millennials? Scandinavia. Even though countries such as Denmark aren’t socialist states (as the Danish prime minster has taken great pains to emphasize) and Denmark itself outranks the United States on a number of economic freedom measures such as less business regulation and lower corporate tax rates, young people like that country’s expanded social welfare programs.


However, it turns out millennials are not particularly fond of higher taxes:


When tax rates are not explicit, millennials say they’d prefer larger government offering more services (54 percent) to smaller government offering fewer services (43 percent). However when larger government offering more services is described as requiring high taxes, support flips and 57 percent of millennials opt for smaller government with fewer services and low taxes, while 41 percent prefer large government.


Ekins concludes:

Millennials like free markets, and most already accept that free markets have done more to lift the world out of poverty than any other system. Instead, what this generation has to decide is whether higher education and health-care innovation, access, and high quality can be best achieved through opening these sectors to more free-market reforms or though increased government control. This is a debate we should be glad to have.


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