No. Really. They don’t. Sure, in the latest poll, 65% of Americans say the budget should be balanced by “cuts in spending,” while only 5% favored tax increases. But, as always, if you make respondents list which programs specifically they want to see cut, Americans reveal themselves to be ignorant children who run home to momma when asked to make real choices.
To wit. Here’s a chart that shows what percentage of people would want to see specific USG programs cut.
Notice none gets even 30% support, except for (cue scary music) foreign aid. Less than 10% want to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.
You know what’s coming next. Here are the same results compared to what percentage of the federal budget each of those programs represents, arranged from smallest to largest program.
Obviously, the public has no idea what government actually does. Nearly half of voters think the deficit can be reduced without real cost to entitlements, and that there is enough waste and inefficiency in government spending for the deficit to be reduced through spending cuts while keeping health care, Social Security, unemployment benefits and other services from being hurt.
In reality, it’s either
- Raise taxes;
- Control health care costs (Obama trying but it’s tough because he’s also helping 32 million more americans get health insurance)
- Reduce government support for health care (the GOP solution no one wants);
- Deeply slash popular discretionary programs, including defense; or
- Shut up.