Most Americans Think Our Morals Are Going To Hell

Most Americans Think Our Morals Are Going To Hell

By Millie Dent

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.

Related: How U.S. Morals Stack Up Against the World

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.

Chart of the Day: Boosting Corporate Tax Revenues

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have all proposed increasing taxes on corporations, including raising income tax rates to levels ranging from 25% to 35%, up from the current 21% imposed by the Republican tax cuts in 2017. With Bernie Sanders leading the way at $3.9 trillion, here’s how much revenue the higher proposed corporate taxes, along with additional proposed surtaxes and reduced tax breaks, would generate over a decade, according to calculations by the right-leaning Tax Foundation, highlighted Wednesday by Bloomberg News.

Chart of the Day: Discretionary Spending Droops

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The federal government’s total non-defense discretionary spending – which covers everything from education and national parks to veterans’ medical care and low-income housing assistance – equals 3.2% of GDP in 2020, near historic lows going back to 1962, according to an analysis this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Chart of the Week: Trump Adds $4.7 Trillion in Debt

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.

Chart of the Day: The Long Decline in Interest Rates

Wall Street slips, Dow posts biggest weekly loss of 2013
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.

The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”

Chart of the Day: Drug Price Plans Compared

By The Fiscal Times Staff

Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.