It’s our fault, too

Wonder why we get such ridiculous policies and nonsense from our politicians? In part, it’s because we can’t face up to the hard choices.

A recent Pew survey showed that although most Americans would prefer spending cuts to tax increases to balance the budget, there’s practically no area of the budget that we favor cutting.

Education: +51 (62% favor increased spending versus 11% favor cutting spending)
Veterans benefits: +45
Medicare: +28
Crime prevention: +21
Health care (excluding Medicare): +17
Energy: +13
Scientific research +13
Environment: +10
Anti-terrorism: +10
Agriculture: +9
Defense: +1
Unemployment benefits: -1
Foreign aid: -24

The only area of the budget that Americans can agree (outside of the margin of error) on cutting is foreign aid, which represents 1% of the federal budget.

But it gets better (or worse).

When asked about how states should balance their budgets, here was the support for different provisions:

Cut government pensions: 0 (47% favor, 47% oppose)
Raise business taxes: -14
Cut higher education: -35
Cut transportation: -36
Increase sales taxes: -37
Increase income taxes: -40
Cut health care: -55
Cut K-12 education: -61

That’s right. Even though nearly every state in the union faces significant deficits, there isn’t a single provision to address the issue that has popular support.

We can’t expect our politicians to get the house in order if we aren’t willing to be honest about the choices we have to make.


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