Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gallup Poll: Americans Want Federal Budget Cut... Just Don't Cut Anything that Affects Them

A quite enlightening poll by USA Today/Gallup showing that while Americans are saying they want to see spending cuts, it gets much tougher when you get to specifics.  Indeed, aside from foreign aid (a tiny fraction of the budget) there is no major expense line item that at least 50% of the country agrees needs to be cut.  Indeed the 2 biggest expenses finish at the very bottom of the list.

As you can see - foreign aid is a huge proportion of the yearly outlays.  You can see it right? Squint.  Harder.

In summary - cut the budget deficit, just don't cut anything that affects us.  Carry on.
  • The largest slices of the current government spending pie, other than interest on the debt, are the entitlement programs and national defense. Entitlement programs are of particular concern, given the looming impact of the aging baby boom generation, the oldest members of which are now turning 65. 
  • Despite this, 64% of Americans interviewed in the Jan. 14-16 USA Today/Gallup survey are opposed to cutting government spending for Social Security, and 61% oppose cutting Medicare. Meanwhile, 57% of Americans oppose cutting government spending for national defense. 
  • A majority of Americans also oppose cutting education, anti-poverty programs, homeland security, aid to farmers, and funding for the arts and sciences. Foreign aid is the only area out of the nine measured that a majority of Americans agree should be cut.
If you are curious how it works across political lines here is another chart

[Aug 26, 2009: US Federal Budget in Pictures]

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