More Evidence The Federal Budget Debate Is Not Rational

Originally posted at Capital Gains and Games.

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.

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