Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gallup: Public thinks that excessive spending is to blame for the deficit

Given a choice, Americans of all political persuasions are more likely to say that too much wasteful and unneeded government spending is the cause of the federal budget deficit, rather than too little tax revenue. Americans of all political persuasions also say cutting back on federal spending should be a major focus of efforts to reduce the deficit going forward.

Still, some emphasis on tax increases is part of the solution for almost half of Americans. Thus, it appears Americans would most likely tell their elected representatives to attack the federal deficit primarily using spending cuts, but with a secondary reliance on raising tax revenue.


Red Rock said...

But these same Americans consistently poll against cutting virtually every significant government program. The political solution will likely be making small cuts that look impressive at first glance but amount to very little.

Anonymous said...

Obviously when you ask for specifics instead of the vaguely defined "federal programs that are either not needed or wasteful" - you are going to get a different result.

Tom Hickey said...

Red Rock, Laura, that is indeed the dilemma, but the major parties seem to be running with the general view to cut and are committed to imposing austerity based on the GOP view of cutting "waste, fraud and abuse," and the DM view of "shared sacrifice." The difference between the two is how much. The question now is whether the rich will have to share the sacrifice through higher taxes, but it looks like austerity is on the way.

Clonal said...

This comes from a profound misunderstanding of what a government is, and the role of government spending on the economy on the part of the general public.

The government is assumed to be "just another player" in the economy, albeit much more powerful, and Government employees are assumed to be its agents, and that government spending takes place through these agents.

Therefore the logical conclusion is that just as a household or business can have an expansionary budget in boom times, and a contracting budget and austerity in lean times, the government has to do likewise. The idea of counter cyclical budgets is quite an alien concept to most of the public, including business owners, and professional corporate managers.

Tom Hickey said...

Right. The government-finance-is-just-like-household-finance analogy is pervasive even though the opposite is the truth. Probably the biggest challenge is undermining that false analogy, which implies that government is crowding out the private sector. Unfortunately, the conventional universe of discourse promotes this, so people hear it day in and day out.

Dan Metzger said...

The poll is biased from the beginning. It starts with the premiss that deficit level is the right metric for the economy.

Where is the poll that asks whether more jobs would be created by greater spending or lower taxes? Or, should we be more concerned about shared risk than shared sacrifice?

Tom Hickey said...

Right. PIMCO honcho Mohamad El Erian makes the same point today.

Sleepwalking through America’s Unemployment Crisis

Where are the jobs?

The problem is that the public seems to be convinced that it is public spending that his crowding out private investment, and all we need to do is get government out of the way and businesses will start hiring. Daft.

Anti said...

This is what happens when stupid liberals partially agree with the message that seeks to destroy them. liberals have to get smart and join the propaganda wagon.