Poll: Cut government spending, just not this program
February 22nd, 2013
11:38 AM ET
1 year ago

Poll: Cut government spending, just not this program

Washington (CNN) - It's not cut or not cut - the question is what to cut.

A majority of Americans say that an approach that combines both spending cuts and some tax increases is needed to reduce the federal budget deficit, according to surveys out this week by Pew/USA Today and by Bloomberg News.

But with one week to go until the implementation of forced spending cuts, which would strip $85 billion from federal agencies over the next seven months, a new poll indicates that there's limited support for reducing specific programs, such as defense, entitlements, education and health care.

According to a Pew Research Center survey released Friday, a majority of the public wants to either keep funding the same or increase it for 18 of 19 federal programs the poll asked about in the poll.

The only exception was U.S. aid for needy people around the world. Forty-nine percent of those questioned said such assistance should be increased or kept at current levels, and 48% said it should be decreased.

The poll indicates little change in attitudes about government spending since 2011, when Congress and the White House struck a deal that would eventually lead to the battle last year over the so-called fiscal cliff and the current fight over forced spending cuts, known inside the Beltway as sequestration. The one notable exception is defense spending, with somewhat fewer now supporting reductions than felt the same way two years ago.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted Feb. 13 to 18, with 1,504 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.


Filed under: Budget • Polls
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. callmecrazy

    No pain, no gain.

    Kewl picture.

    February 22, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. RINO Bill

    What these idiotic polls should be asking is HOW do you want to reduce the deficit?
    ! – Cut spending
    2 – Raise taxes in general and eliminate thr huge tax breaks and subsidies for big corporations
    3 – All of the above.

    February 22, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. MaryM

    So will ANY large corporations or the very wealthy get anything cut?

    February 22, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Dirk the Daring

    Nice alignment.

    February 22, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. AK_steve

    It's not surprising that the majority of Americans want a balanced approach. When I am short on money I look for ways to save it AND make it.
    What is amazing is how ridiculously extreme the GOP is. Only spending cuts. And only in certain areas. I don't think you can get more unbalanced and one-sided.

    February 22, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. rs

    70 % of Americans want both- tax increases and spending cuts. Republicans just want to gut Social Security and Medicare- you know, those "takers".

    February 22, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Logic N LA

    Miltary by 10%- Congressional budgets by 10% – "entitlement" by 5% – all other programs by 2% – any extra cash for the states for two years. Keep only the programs funded that are in place, but nothing new.
    And then raise taxes to managible levels – 2% of those over 300,000.00 1 % on those over 100,000.00 and your would have a workable saving/ income ratio with enough money to reduce the deficit.

    February 22, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. T

    ............CUT DEFENSE SPENDING AT ALL COST...............and when the public realizes they didnt need that much spent (10 TIMES what China spends).....(USA spends what the next 16 1/2 countries do ....COMBINED.....on Defense) for 120 FOREIGN BASES.............we will get back some of the money wasted on defense to BUILD BRIDGES IN THE USA, not Pakistan and Mali.............

    February 22, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. king

    STOP giving the rich money to invest in china and start building our crumbling infrastructure here at home, so we can attract investors and give our spenders a chance to grow our economy, its not hard folks, tax the rich to pay for this. they will reap the benifits anyways. lets call it "big corporations investments".

    February 22, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Anyone know how to say "the lisptick isn't working" in Spanish?

    February 22, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    While congress whines that it's against the law to cut their pay, it's not against the law members of congress to cut a check to the Treasury as a gesture of their seriousness to cut spending.

    (ayn) rand paul's empty gesture "refund" to the government was just that – an empty gesture as any $$$ budgeted to individual congressmembers and not spent during the fiscal year automatically goes back into the General Fund at the end of said fiscal year.

    February 22, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    People are so foolish. They think they can keep their money in their pocket, and still have all these government programs that spend their money.

    The only way to pay for hand outs, and all government spending is basically a form of hand outs, is to raise taxes on the middle class. The wealthy already are paying for 70% of all taxes, and in December they were handed a tax increase, which will have them paying for 75% of all taxes.

    The only place to get more revenue, is from the middle class, and yet the middle class doesn't want their taxes increased. The solution? Tax the Democrats. They are the ones who WANT all of the hand outs. Let the Democrats, at all economic levels, be taxed, to PAY for them.

    The only way to make life better in America, is for business and people to partner together, to rebuild America, in a cooperative effort, that creates jobs, creates markets for business, and allows workers to earn their OWN WAY, without government assistance.

    You can choose hand outs and oppressive taxation, OR you can choose to demand people earn their own way.

    There are, no OTHER choices.

    February 22, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. TD

    Why doesn't the govt stop acting like someone with a credit card they keep using and know they can't afford to spend on it and place themselves in the shoes of real America. Why don't they cut everyone's budget and only support schooling, medical, military, and disaster relief? What a concept, pay the bills first then whatever you have left you can use for other things. The US is a mess, our future is so scary, and I wouldn't wish this mess upon our children if I could help it. We're so prime for a take over.

    February 22, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. donna

    We need responsible spending. Spending and budget cuts do not necessarily mean loss of jobs. You can transition public workers, departments, and offices into the private sector away from federal government assistance without the need to "lay off" the workers. Setting up a smooth transition is going to be an important step in reviving the economy.

    February 22, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. marty

    I'm still waiting to see deep cuts in the wages and pensions of members of Congress proposed and, 'put on the table'.

    Also, all those on government pensions...from the lowest on the totem pole to the highest...should pay for their own health care.

    Absolutely trim all expenses of the Legislature by one half and remain in the Washington D.C. offices for a minimum three fourths of the year.....working for the people.

    Concentrate on ways to move 'Forward' with building, construction, investments rather than backward with cutting and sniping. Cuts create more problems, doesn't solve a thing, but it takes creativity, common sense, veracity and a solid work ethic to make growth happen. Vote for progression in 2014 to get things done!

    February 22, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Cut congressional pay proportionately to the of time they spend in DC - when they are at home the wife can cook and they can drive their own car. No need to pay them $174,000 for 10 or 15 weeks work.

    February 22, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel wrote:

    The wealthy already are paying for 70% of all taxes, and in December they were handed a tax increase, which will have them paying for 75% of all taxes.
    ---------------------
    The wealthy also earn 80% of all income. So if they're only paying 75% of taxes, then they're still underpaying their taxes. LOL

    February 22, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "The wealthy already are paying for 70% of all taxes"

    Which is less than the percentage of the nation's income that they received. Your point?

    February 22, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "allows workers to earn their OWN WAY, without government assistance. "

    OK, so what's your magic plan to convince the extremely wealthy and corporations to stop holding middle-class wages stagnant as they've done for 40+ years?

    I've got one: make it abundantly clear to them that if they don't, it comes out of their ass the other way...via taxes.

    You want to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid and SS and other social programs? Get rid of the NEED for them. There's only ONE way that happens and the plutocrats are unwilling to do it voluntarily.

    February 22, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. bajones

    For the folks who want to equate government spending with a family budget, consider this scenario:
    Father – a banker, doubles income from $150,000 to $300,000
    Mother – a realtor, reduced to part-time work from $50,000 to $25,000 and loses health insurance for chronically ill infant
    Daughter – due to loss of customer support jobs to India, baby sitting income reduced from $2000 to $1500
    – Daughter cannot pay for $1750 dance and French lessons
    Son – due to technology increases, local newspaper goes bankrupt – paper rout income of $500 is reduced to $0
    – Son cannot pay for a weekend baseball camp – $100
    Infant – No income, cannot work due to pre-existing health condition, coverage can be obtained at an extra $2,000

    The father tells the family that they must cut their spending. He refuses to provide extra funding for infant's health insurance, son's baseball camp and daughter's lessons. To tax him with the extra expenses of the family, will reduce his abilty to invest, to market himself to clients at the golf club, and bring in additional income to the family.

    This has been the conservative rationale. It does not make sense to me.

    February 22, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. HenryMiller

    "You can choose hand outs and oppressive taxation, OR you can choose to demand people earn their own way.

    There are, no OTHER choices."

    Actually, there is another choice, the one the politicians have been doing for decades: do nothing. And I see no evidence that they're going to change that policy. Even when the economy is collapsing in a crumpled heap at their feet, they'll continue to do nothing.

    February 22, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    donna

    We need responsible spending. Spending and budget cuts do not necessarily mean loss of jobs. You can transition public workers, departments, and offices into the private sector away from federal government assistance without the need to "lay off" the workers. Setting up a smooth transition is going to be an important step in reviving the economy.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except the private sector isn't hiring. Additonally, "privatizing" government services has been proven time and again to cost MORE, yet the workers end up with less while the business owner pockets gobs of $$$ and doesn't provide bennies, forcing those workers onto the government assistance the right rails against.

    February 22, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |