by George Bao
LOS ANGELES, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The current economic crisis has not only changed the life of many Americans, it has also changed their mind -- among Americans under 30, 33 percent prefer socialism while 37 percent prefer capitalism. The 4 percent difference has alarmed many Americans and a heated debate is going on in the U.S. on which system to prefer.
A latest survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that support for capitalism is still very strong among American adults older than 40. Asked whether capitalism or socialism is a better system, 53 percent of American adults cited capitalism, 20 percent said socialism and 27 percent said they weren't sure. That means even among the adults, one out of five Americans prefer socialism.
According to the poll, more Republicans, by an 11-to-1 margin, believe capitalism is superior to socialism. Democrats are much more closely divided, with 39 percent preferring capitalism and 30percent backing socialism.
For those with money in the market, investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. While even among those who do not invest,40 percent say capitalism is better, 25 percent say they prefer socialism.
The change of support to capitalism, which is widely interpreted as free-market economy, is better demonstrated by an earlier survey by the same institution, which shows 70 percent of Americans prefer a free-market economy.
"The fact that a 'free-market economy' attracts substantially more support than 'capitalism' might suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets," the authors said.
The high percentage of support for socialism has shocked many Americans. Bruce Watson wrote in Daily Finance with a big headline: Is America becoming socialist?
Watson argued that these survey results, following close on the heels of the passage of the Obama administration's massive fiscal stimulus and industry bailout package, do not herald the end of capitalism.
He added that the stimulus plan is designed to recharge the market. By developing a smart grid, improving infrastructure and investing in education, it will, hopefully, provide the conditions necessary for the market's next period of growth.
But the ultimate irony, according to Watson, will be "if today's socialist stimulus proves tomorrow's capitalist salvation."
Michael Saul wrote in New York Daily News that with the U.S. government taking a majority stake in banks, bossing around the auto industry, and floating the possibility of nationalized healthcare, "there have been rumblings in the media that the U.S. is leaning toward socialism."
Rick G wrote in the Lone Star Times with the headline "Are we becoming the United Socialists of America?"
He said some folks have been perplexed that the Obama Administration's lurch toward socialism has not elicited overwhelming condemnation from citizens of a country so proud of its free market heritage.
"Perhaps we are learning why we are not all that proud, or even supportive, of our form of economy," he wrote.
He said the very idea that barely more than half of those Americans surveyed speak up for capitalism is disconcerting, to say the least.
Some blamed the innocence of the younger generation in the U.S. and alleged that public schools in the U.S. should better teach students to tell capitalism from socialism. Some blamed the leftists for demonization of capitalism.
Rich Moran wrote in the American Thinker web site: "Obviously, leftist dominance in academia and education are having exactly the effect that was foretold many years ago; younger people have been so indoctrinated to believe that capitalism is evil that they haveno clue that all those material possessions they take such delight in using -- TV, computer, internet, CD's, -- would not be available to them in most socialist countries."
"There is also the callowness of youth at work with these attitudes as once these youngsters grow up and start to raise a family, all of a sudden they want lower taxes and the opportunities only afforded those who live in capitalistic societies. I sure hope the same thing happens to this crop of young people," he wrote in an article on the web site with the headline: The left's demonization of capitalism is succeeding.
Jason Pye wrote on the web site of Examiner: "Frankly, I'm not at all surprised by that. I do think it's sad that only a slight majority prefer capitalism, but on the other hand the party that claims to be the party of free-markets, the Republican Party, doesn't practice what they preach. They've largely caused the public to have a jaded view of free-markets."