StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

More Evidence The Federal Budget Debate Is Not Rational

24 Jun 2012
Posted by Stan Collender

The ever-watchful CG&G alum Bruce Bartlett sent this new You Gov poll constructed by Dartmouth (home to another CG&G alum, Andrew Samwick) Associate Professor Benjamin Valentino.

The poll covers a number of issues but it was question #7 ("Which of the following would you support as ways to reduce the nation's budget deficit?") that caught Bruce's and my eye.

1. More than half (55%) said they would support tax increases on higher-income Americans.

2. More than a third (35.4%) said they would support "major" cuts in military spending.

3. Less than a tenth (9.7% said they would support "major" cuts in Social Security.

4. Less than 12% said they would support "major" cuts in Medicare.

5. Almost 30% said none of the above are acceptable to them.

In other words:

  1. There is significant support in the country for doing something to reduce the deficit -- tax increases on the wealthy -- the GOP in Congress absolutely refuses to do.
  2. Only one-third of the country is in favor of the reductions in military spending that are part of the sequester that will occur on January 2.
  3. Close to 90% of the country opposes the type of changes in Medicare that are one of the cornerstone's of the Republican budget proposed by budget committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that passed earlier this year.
  4. Almost a third of the country is against tax increases and reductions in Social Security,  Medicare and military spending. That leaves only about $750 billion left to deal with a deficit that will exceed $1 trillion this year.

As I've said before and this poll at least hints at once again, Americans don't want less government, they just want government that costs less. That makes for a debate in Washington that can't possibly be...and obviously isn't...considered rational.


We are a country of entitled

We are a country of entitled greedy selfish whining pigs with no sense of shared responsibility for our common fate. This is exactly what the Republican Party has been aiming for with decades of propaganda designed to divide natural allies and convince people that *their* needs and desires are legitimate purposes of government, but those *other* people's needs and desires are illegitimate, and it looks like they've finally succeeded. Now that all the 99%er rabble are at each others' throats, the plutocrats can finish sucking the life out of our economy.

FederalBudget Debate

An old pal of ours, a Democratic Party operative in Palm Beach County, once told us: "The only thing that matters is winning, so that you can reward your friends and punish your enemies." Rationality? Well, I can hear him laughing.

I don't think it's reasonable

I don't think it's reasonable to expect coherent answers from somebody responding to a telephone survey while cooking dinner. It may be that Americans are whiny brats. But such a conclusion should be based upon a deliberative survey aka a focus group, rather than a set of context-free questions asked over the telephone.

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