Thursday, July 7, 2011

McClatchy-Marist Poll: Majority wants debt reduction over stimulus

I guess we can see where this is going.
Should the federal government concentrate on paying off its debt, even if it comes at the expense of a more robust economic recovery? Or should it focus on stimulating the economy, even if that means running up more costs?

According to a poll published Wednesday, 59 percent of Americans want the government to make national debt reduction its top priority, even if it comes at the expense of kick-starting the economy. Only a third think the focus should be on stimulation....

Among independents, 61 percent favored debt reduction and 32 percent economic stimulus.

The survey of 1,502 adults, conducted nationwide June 15 to 19, finds mixed opinions on the three best known entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. When asked separately about each of the three programs, huge majorities (between 77 and 87 percent) say each of the programs has been "good for the country," but less than half (36 to 41 percent) rate the job they do "serving recipients" as excellent or good. Fewer still (15 to 18 percent) give a positive rating to the "current financial condition" of each program. Thus, it should come as little surprise that large majorities say the three programs need "major" rather than minor changes or should be "completely rebuilt."

As the Pew Research report emphasizes, however, "the public’s desire for fundamental change does not mean it supports reductions in the benefits provided by Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid." When asked which is more important, large majorities tell the pollsters that they would rather leave the benefits of these programs as they are now rather than making cuts or expecting beneficiaries to take on more responsibility for their costs.

And when asked simply, "what is more important, taking steps to reduce the budget deficit or keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are," nearly twice as many Americans prefer the status quo (60 percent) to cuts in benefits (32 percent).


Crake said...

Politically a no-win situation?

NeilW said...

Then say what it will do in published journals and let them get on with it.

Then when the economy goes pear shaped you can be the sage that gets on all the media programmes.

If people won't learn the easy way, they'll have to learn the hard way.

Tom Hickey said...

Well, the Brits voted in the Cameron government, and the Greeks approved the latest rip-off. Apparently people all over the world are choosing to learn the hard way.

Crake said...

To me that works rests on the assumption of a simple reset. Instead, I think that if the economy turned strongly sour, we run a real risk of a fascist atmosphere rising up. With current sentiment, I think that risk could enter probable odds.

Anonymous said...

Since the last stimulus was blown on bankster bailouts and "not quite ready", shovel-ready nonsense, real estate tax credits and cash for clunkers nonsense that just shifted time preferences, is anyone really surprised the public feels this way?

Chaos said...

Because most people doesn't understand that government is not like a household. And I'm talking here about the 99% of the population so...

Add to that that 'stimulus' and fiscal policy is being seen as free money for politicians and their friends. In the case of USA for big business, banks, or whatever, and its not creating durable jobs and sustained investment.

The political system is in crisis and will continue to be so... in USA, Europe or wherever. As long as this happens, stimulus is going to be seen with bad eyes, and default will be the more preferred option by the public (private and public).

People does not see the point any longer.

beowulf said...

Meanwhile the Titanic's elite team of telegraph operators are on duty in the radio room.

Exclusive: Treasury secretly weighs options to avert default

The contingency discussions, which have remained a closely guarded secret throughout weeks of negotiations with Congress over the debt ceiling, are being led by Mary Miller, Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets, who is effectively custodian of the country’s public debt… From their second floor offices in Treasury, Miller and Fiscal Assistant Secretary Richard Gregg, are the lieutenants Geithner is relying on if the administration’s first option of negotiating a deal with Republicans falls apart.