Ask anyone about the state of moral values in the U.S. and you’re likely to get a response along the lines of, “we’re going to hell.”
Most Americans — 72 percent — are convinced that moral values in the U.S. are decaying, according to a new Gallup poll, and most people believe the current state of moral values isn’t all that great to begin with. Nearly half of those polled, 45 percent, called the state of moral values in the U.S. “poor,” while 34 percent said they are “only fair.”
Just 19 percent rated American morals as either “excellent” or “good,” and only 22 percent say the state of moral values is getting better.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, social conservatives have consistently been most likely to tell pollsters that the nation’s moral values are deteriorating, but the latest Gallup findings showed an uptick from 2014 to 2015 among social moderates and social liberals who believe moral values are regressing.
Gallup also found that Americans’ views of the moral acceptability of a number of key issues has been shifting to the left since 2001. The largest shift was on gay or lesbian relations, with a 23 percentage point increase in the share of people who say that behavior is morally acceptable. The change coincides with a sharp increase in support for same-sex marriage.
Sex between unmarried people has also become more acceptable, as has having babies outside of marriage. Polygamy and divorce are also now acceptable to a greater portion of the population than in 2001. On the other hand, the views of married men and women having an affair haven’t changed much, with just 8 percent of Americans saying it’s morally tolerable.
However, respondents to the poll about the current and future state of moral values weren’t necessarily responding with those charged social and political issues in mind. In many cases, Gallup suggests, their views of the moral direction of the country were rooted in something much more basic: “That is, their views have less to do with greater acceptance of same-sex marriage or having babies out of wedlock and other hot-button issues, and more to do with matters of basic civility and respect for each other,” Gallup’s Justin McCarthy wrote.
Clearly, the Golden Rule is still the bedrock of our moral code: Love thy neighbor as thyself.
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”