Skip to comments.Depressing poll of the day: Public opposes cuts to virtually all types of spending
Posted on 02/23/2013 5:07:39 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Nothing new here, which is the most depressing part. Scroll halfway down the page at Pew and you'll find a table tracking shifts in public opinion on various programs over the last four years. There are noticeable jumps in support for cuts from 2009 to 2011 as America got a snoutful of Obamanomics, but we've leveled off since then — and in not a single category of the 17 tested is there 50 percent in favor of decreasing spending. In fact, in only three of those 17 categories (foreign aid, unemployment aid, and the State Department) is there more support for decreasing spending than increasing it.
The most hopeful graph at the link is one purporting to show that the public’s become “more austere” because the big lead that fans of raising spending used to have over fans of cutting spending is now a bit smaller. Alternate headline: “Blogger’s Friday-night drinking to start early.”
As you see, apart from foreign aid, support for cuts never reaches 35 percent. Even in the case of foreign aid, you have a slight plurality in favor of at least preserving the status quo rather than cutting. There’s not much hope in partisan differences either. Of the 17 categories, Democrats prefer cuts to increased spending in just two; independents in just three; and Republicans in nine — although even GOPers support increased spending for, gulp, Medicare and Social Security. I realize I’m making too much of this; when you ask people whether they want to cut a program without emphasizing countervailing considerations like deficits, obviously they’re going to be reluctant. These questions at their core are really just gut checks on how valuable the public views each program or agency to be. They see comparatively little value in diplomacy, which is why foreign aid and State get low ratings, and much more in veterans’ benefits. And yet, after four years of hot political rhetoric about exploding debt and a fiscal crisis on the horizon, you would think that the numbers for increasing spending, at least, would be minuscule. They’re not.
By way of partially explaining why, I’ll leave you with these two tweets.
— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) February 22, 2013
Warning this photo is graphic slasher stuff. Depicts “massive” cuts from #sequester. Scary. twitter.com/GroverNorquist
— Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) February 22, 2013
The only way budget cuts can be effectively polled, due to their complexity, is by making them a freeware software game, of sorts.
That is, the national budget is as complex as are some of the major strategy games. Importantly, when enough people would “play the game”, potentially useful patterns would emerge as how to economize.
The game could even be played as a MMOG, with virtual rewards given for effective play without violating parameters.
Of course, many players would focus on just their area of interest, like some naive teenager would decide to cut the entire defense budget. So consequences would also be part of the game.
Much of the federal government continues to exist solely out of inertia, and the game players would quickly pick up on this and point out the blindingly obvious. For example, the Railroad Retirement Board (created in 1935, current budget $6.95b), has zero reason to exist as an independent agency. By folding it into a similar federal retirement agency, might save half of that expense.
Politicians of both parties will raise the issue of the deficit, and then immediately start talking about "fraud, waste, and abuse." That's a bait and switch. By all means, let's do a better job of policing fraud, but this is incidental to the deficit problem.
The democrats compound this by carrying on as if we could solve the problem with higher taxes on a handful of rich people and big companies, "who are not paying their fair share." This is also a fraud.
But as a practical matter, people get a steady barrage of misinformation suggesting that there is an easy out, if only a couple of simple and relatively painless things were done. And since they are led to believe that the solution is simple and painless, they are naturally not inclined to eat their vegetables on spending reform. They are also extremely frustrated that the purportedly simple and easy things haven't already been done. The default explanation for that is the evil character of the opposition party, and so we're off to the races on character assassination.
The democrats are by far the greatest offenders here, as they lie instinctively and think class warfare is an end in itself, but Republican hands aren't entirely clean either.
RE: geez...are these the same polling folks that said Romney was gaining ground and could win?
This Poll is from PEW RESEARCH. They were pretty accurate in predicting Obama’s victory last year.
It was ironically, the conservative leaning polls that were off in 2012 (Rasmussen, Gallup, even Michael Barone, and of course, Dick Morris ).
I am tired of looking at polls and more than tired of politicians who use them as a voting guide. Perhaps if we had firm term limits that would not be the case. I can just imagine the question here: Do you favor budget cuts if those cuts meant a reduction in your police and fire protection, a decrease in our military, less social security then you now get, double class sizes...on and on.
A question like do you favor cuts in spending if no cuts meant you will get no benefits in ten years.
This does not surprise me in the least. That’s why “wise” politicians run on cutting “fraud and waste”. That’s about as specific as they get.
They should have asked which items they would be willing to have their taxes increased to remain the same?
Really? So Obama signed these spending cuts into law AGAINST THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE??
This occupant of the Oval Office has a penchant for shoving his proposals down our throats, doesn’t he?
BTW, I bet different results would be achieved if the questions were asked with a modicum of balance.....
I would also be curious to see the demographics of this survey.
And that’s the problem with the way these polls are worded. No one wants to see our nation’s highways and bridges in dangerous disrepair, but bundled into “Transportation” are such luxuries as the $800,000 bike path you cited. Unfortunately, we don’t appear to have any adults in Washington who are able to trim their spending of OUR MONEY by distinguishing between necessities and luxuries.
Our once-great country is being overrun by overgrown, free-spending children who have no idea how to set a budget and be fiscally responsible - in and out of Washington.
That would be the 60s generation. They are now running the country.
The Compromise of 1986 (bet they don’t teach THAT in school) has failed, decisively.
As with 1850, the result is the extension of slavery to all the states, or war.
Jarvis, Gann, and Stockman were wrong, because they did not envision that the power of Congress to borrow money and send the resulting money to the States, circumventing the gold and silver clause and the prohibition of State paper money would be so abused.
As with 1820 and 1850, the war has been delayed, but the issue is fundamental, and will now have to be settled, one way or another.
When the economy finally collapses under its own weight, these “don’t cut anything” folks will be crying for their taxpayer-provided benefits to be restored.
I suspect those of us preparing right now will have the last laugh.
Tell me that this poll wasn’t taken in downtown Detroit or Washington DC, or St. Louis or Philadelphia, etc.
Once you give something to these “takers”, they will scream bloody murder if you even try to take anything from them. Same goes for the unions. Look what happened in Wisconsin.
“Free stuff” will always be free for most people. The rich — who will always be in the minority, by definition — will fund the cushy life of the majority.
The low-information majority, educated in public schools and not taught values of faith and sacrifice by their parent(s) — will never understand.
The only thing a poll like this tells is the bias of the group that paid for it.
Real problem is that it seems everyone wants cuts for the other guys...but not for themselves
Most folks want reduction in foreign aid...yet we still give away $$$ to foreign nations like candy to a sweet tooth....whether it is direct aid or bad Free Trade deals.
I would also prefer to end all foreign aid instead of cutting veterans benefits....but both parties seem to prefer Globalism over Americanism
It doesn’t matter whether the public supports or opposes it. The math doesn’t work. The money isn’t there.
As long as we have childishly decided to ignore polls that tell us things we don't want to believe.
What makes this more depressing is that foreign aid and the State Department are the most microscopic spending items on the poll; we could totally eliminate both and it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference for the deficit.
What is really hilarious are the polls that ask people to estimate what portion of the budget is foreign aid - you end up with ridiculous 25% estimates when it’s actually 1%.
I look at it this way. Only 20 second soundbite, low information Gangham style “voters” are dumb enough to answer the phone when these annoying pollsters call. Caller I.D. is our friend.