Wednesday, January 26, 2011

6 in 10 Americans Fundamentally Unserious About Spending

If the Tea Party has had any affect on the national conversation about government spending and debt, it isn't apparent in the latest numbers from Gallup (via Memeorandum):

PRINCETON, NJ -- Prior to the State of the Union address, a majority of Americans said they favor cutting U.S. foreign aid, but more than 6 in 10 opposed cuts to education, Social Security, and Medicare. Smaller majorities objected to cutting programs for the poor, national defense, homeland security, aid to farmers, and funding for the arts and sciences.

Reaction to Cutting Government Spending in Various Areas, January 2011

The federal budget is around $3.5 trillion. This size alone virtually guarantees there is room to cut spending everywhere.

We spend hundreds of billions of dollars on defense, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid each. I find it hard to believe that around 60% of Americans don't think we can find any room for cuts in programs that run to the hundreds of billions.


J. Strupp said...

I don't know why this is difficult to believe. This poll has trended the same for decades. The vast majority of middle and lower class Americans prefer that their tax dollars pay for social safety nets and education. Most are O.K. with paying more in taxes (and having rich people pay more in particular) in order to keep them unchanged.

Maybe the Tea Party folks think this is news.

Jeremy R. Shown said...


I agree that given a certain amount of federal revenue, people will prefer to spend it on education and social security. But that's not quite the same thing as we should continue to spend at the current levels.

If people think we are spending the right amount on those items now, why aren't there more people willing to pay higher taxes to support that spending? They certainly weren't at the polls last November.

J. Strupp said...

Last thing's first, the people at the polls were more interested in voting against members of Congress residing over an economy with 10% unemployment rather than our long term debt obligation issues. And rightfully so, I might add.

Second, most Americans ARE willing to pay higher taxes to support current SS and Medicare benefits.

Jeremy R. Shown said...


You are correct on the questions related to those specific programs, but look at questinos 34-36.

When it comes to programs that benefit "people like" themselves spending cuts are preferred to tax increases.