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Helen Smith

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August 7, 2011 - 5:52 am

I saw over at Rasmussen Reports (via Instapundit) that 67% of respondents felt that their family was being stressed by the economy:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of American Adults say the state of the economy is causing more stress on their family. That finding is up 10 points from this time last year . Twenty-seven percent (27%) say the economy isn’t causing their family more stress.

The survey also indicated more arguments with friends and family members:

Still, 43% of adults say they have gotten into an intense argument with a friend or family member about economic conditions in the country. That’s up six points from 37% last year. Fifty-five percent (55%) say they have not gotten into a heated argument with a friend or family member about who is to blame for the state of the economy and how it should be fixed.

Senator Marco Rubio recently discussed the split in this country “between those who believe the government’s job is to promote ‘economic justice,’” i.e., the redistribution of wealth, that the government’s job is to determine the equality of outcomes in people’s lives, “and those who believe the government’s job is to promote ‘economic opportunity.’” Rush Limbaugh points out correctly that economic justice is not moral–it is socialism or Marxism and I agree with his point. But that is a separate issue.

As for family arguments about the economy, my guess is that family members are most likely to argue along these lines. Those who believe in “social justice” are arguing with those who believe in economic opportunity. It is sort of like the fight between Ayn Rand’s characters in Atlas Shrugged. There are those who believe in taking from others and those who believe in the right to their own production. This isn’t a fight that will be resolved easily and the bad economy is emphasizing the differences between how family members feel about these issues.

Is the economy stressing out your family members? Do you argue with them about the economy or just try to keep the peace?

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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