- According to Pew, most Americans want to overhaul the country’s economic, political, and health systems.
- Despite widespread dissatisfaction, few Americans say they feel confident that such changes can take place.
- The results show that Americans are generally more dissatisfied than residents of other advanced economies.
As the post-pandemic economy takes shape, most Americans hope it looks very different from how it is now.
A majority of Americans said they were loud a new one Pew Research Center Survey. 85 percent of adults surveyed said they want the country’s political system to be overhauled, while 66 percent want big changes in the US economy. A little more than three quarters of those surveyed said that the country’s health systems need fundamental reforms.
The results show that Americans are generally more dissatisfied with government than residents of other advanced economies. The desire to change the political system was higher only in Spain and Italy, with 86% and 89% of the respective residents requesting a major overhaul, respectively.
Only the inhabitants of South Korea, Greece, Spain and Italy were more dissatisfied with their economies than the Americans. The US had the second largest proportion of people calling for health reform, only surpassed by Greece.
The results also show dire prospects among Americans as the country pushes for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The US is outpacing many other countries’ recovery as rising vaccination rates fueled reopening and strong consumer spending. U.S. economic performance has already fully recovered from its pandemic-era slump, and officials say the country is expected to return to full employment next year.
Despite these improvements, the polls show widespread dissatisfaction with the state of the nation. The survey period includes the time virus cases remained elevated, labor shortages slowed hiring, and inflation rose to a decade high. While the recovery was in progress, new obstacles held it back.
And while most Americans want big changes across the country, few are optimistic that those revisions can come – While 85% of respondents say they want major policy reforms in the US, only 28% are confident that the system can change.
Some of the pessimism stems from partisan conflicts and a tense political climate, as the Pew poll shows. The desire to overhaul some systems differs greatly between Democrats and Republicans. While 80% of Democrats think the economic system needs a complete overhaul, only half of Republicans feel the same way. And where 39% of Democrats are calling for big healthcare changes, about half as many Republicans are in favor.
The split between parties is no clearer than in the 50-50 split Senate. Democrats have struggled getting through much of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda as Republicans block efforts with the filibuster. Some of Biden’s social spending plans were approved through a lengthy reconciliation process that required a majority of 50 votes. The complicated process has limited applicability, however, and the dispute between moderate and progressive Democrats also challenges Biden’s spending ambitions.
Partisan divisions are partly why so many Americans are starving for an overhaul, Pew said. Nine in ten Americans see conflicts between people from different political parties, which, according to Pew, heighten “dissatisfaction with the state of democracy and a strong desire for political reform.” Only 41% of US respondents said they were happy with how democracy worked.
Overall, the survey shows a country with mass dissatisfaction. Few Americans report being happy with the country’s political, economic, or health systems. But most of those who want big change are not optimistic that it can happen and show little confidence in the country’s democratic processes.