By Bowman, Karlyn
The American Enterprise , Vol. 13, No. 5
Far more Americans believe Wall Street benefits the country than think it harms us. Still, Americans are of two minds. Seventy-two percent say that Wall Street is absolutely essential because it provides the money business needs for investment. Sixty percent, however, believe that most Wall Streeters would break the law if they thought they could get away with it. In 1935, 22 percent of Americans said they owned securities. In broader questions today, around half say they own stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.
Question: The words "Wall Street" are often used to describe the nation's largest banks, investment banks, brokerages and other financial institutions. Overall, would you say ...? Wall Street benefits the country a lot 22% Somewhat 47% Harms somewhat 13% Harms a lot 3% Not sure/neither 15% Source: Harris Interactive, September 2000. Note: Table made from pie chart. Question: Please say if you tend to...? Agree Disagree Wall Street is absolutely essential because it provides the money businesses must 72% 21% have for investments Most people on Wall Street would be willing to break the law if they believed they could make a lot of 60 33 money and get away with it Wall Street only cares about making money and 57 36 absolutely nothing else Wall Street is dominated by 52 39 greed and selfishness Most successful people on Wall Street deserve to make 42 50 the kind of money they earn In general, what is good for Watt Street is 41 52 good for the country In general, people on Wall Street are as honest 35 56 and moral as other people Source: Harris Interactive, September 2000. …