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Posted at 6:07 PM ET, 02/10/2011

New poll, same public resistance to cuts

By Jon Cohen

A big obstacle for House Republicans eager to slash the federal budget deficit may be that Republicans nationally tend to shy away from spending cuts in many major government programs.

Budget cutting is a top priority for the GOP, with 70 percent of Republicans in a new survey by the Pew Research Center saying the federal government should focus on reducing the deficit, not new economic stimulus. And in many cases, more Republicans now support cuts than did so two years ago.

But across 18 areas of federal spending, a majority of Republicans support decreasing spending in just one: aid to the world's needy. In one other area, unemployment assistance, 50 percent of Republicans polled said they would decrease spending (far higher than the 11 percent who said they would increase it), but in all others the number saying funds should be cut is under the 50 percent mark.

When it comes to three big ticket items - Social Security, Medicare and defense spending - more Republicans want increases than decreases in federal outlays.

Support for budget cuts is, unsurprisingly, lower still among Democrats and independents.

There are challenges aplenty for both parties in the new Pew data - about as many hold unfavorable view of the Democratic Party as do so of the GOP - but the tepid public appetite for budget cuts complicates the political terrain for all budget hawks.

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By Jon Cohen  | February 10, 2011; 6:07 PM ET
Categories:  Economy, Federal Budget Deficit  | Tags:  Budget deficit; poll; economy poll  
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Next: Pew poll shows big GOP divisions on spending

Comments

Most of the polls the Republicans cite don't give the respondents realistic choices. Basically, they ask, "Would you prefer to follow the Democrats' plan to cut the deficit or the Republicans'?" Most people I've talked to don't thik cutting the deficit is a good idea at all, especially now, but the polls that reflect that are ignored by the lamestream media.

Posted by: Acharn | February 11, 2011 1:19 AM | Report abuse

What can they cut? Minus Social Security, the federal budget is over half defense and national security. So, they have to gut Social Security to save anything. What a bunch of bozo the clowns!

Posted by: magnifco1000 | February 11, 2011 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Republicans AND Democrats can cut tax funded benefits and services to illegal alien heads of household. This is a bottomless pit that does nothing to serve Americans in general.

In so doing, this would also cut funding for deportation hearings and ICE business audits, as illegal aliens cannot survive in our country without these handouts - hand outs to which they were never entitled.

For Republicans AND Democrats to even consider cutting programs that benefit American Citizens before cutting perceived entitlements to illegal aliens (who are not even supposed to be here) is an abomination.

The only logical explanation why our Congress refuses to cut tax funded benefits to illegal alien households is they are receiving sizeable back door payoffs from businesses that profit from lax enforcement of our immigration and employment laws.

Posted by: asmith1 | February 11, 2011 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Isn't that always the burning question....what to cut. The big ticket items are Medicare, Social Security, and Defense. How many Americans want to make sacrifices with their Medicare and Social Security? So instead, we pick away at small ticket items that don't really amount to a hill of beans, like TANF and Food stamps, and even Medicaid, which is comparatively a small part of the budget, but try explaining that to a Republican. To them it's all about those welfare queens and immigrants. The reality that Americans refuse to face is that taxes will have to be increased. It's the only way, unless we'd like to live in a third world country.

Posted by: ggwalt | February 11, 2011 6:42 AM | Report abuse

If you add an interest rate of even 2%, social security will not return what those who retire now put into the program. The surplus was used to fund wars. If we end optional wars started for vanity, not security, then we can return to sanity in the budget sense.

Posted by: funfun881 | February 11, 2011 7:11 AM | Report abuse

typical republicans -- hands off my benefits and the rest of you socialists can go screw yourselves. hypocritical pigs forever.

Posted by: joeblow111 | February 11, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

The public resists because they understand the right-wingers are more bent on crippling our government further rather than fixing it.

If the GOP really wanted to fix the problems instead of exacerbating them we would not have had the Boehner/McConnell Obstructionism that rubber stamped the 110th and 111th Congress.

These people have been out to hamstring our government and society since January 20, 1969. It has everything to do with their nature, their philosophy.

Conservatives by definition are incapable of building anything. So the current mob of conservatives have adopted a regressive philosophy and call it "growth." Regardless of what they call it the actuality is they have been tearing down everything they can get their hands.

It all goes back to the underlying platform of Reaganism - return the United States to the age of the robber barons regardless. So be it if the outcome is a society fractured by class warfare, rampant with poverty and misery. Look through the history books. Look at Iran and Iraq. Look at Egypt. THAT is what a conservative society looks like.

Posted by: PoliticalPrisoner2012 | February 11, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Since everyone is in a "roll back" mood, why don't we roll back the name of the DoD to The War Department. That is way more accurate looking at the last 20 years or so. It doesn't "defend" our country, it go out and makes war. Maybe that will bring it down off the GOP pedestal.

Posted by: schnauzer21 | February 11, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are simply irresponsible with the budget and have lied to the American people for so long they have bought that lie.

The truth is that since Eisenhower (with the one exception of Nixon's first term), every single Republican Administration has increased the federal debt as a function of GDP.

Conversely, every single Democratic Administration has paid down the debt as a function of GDP since Roosevelt.

Don't believe it? Do the math yourself or look around. It's remarkable how many lies conservatives continue to tell themselves and believe.

Posted by: HillRat | February 11, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

How about a little honesty from the Republicans on what they are trying to do? This is not about cutting the deficit. Their targets - EPA, NPR, Amtrak,etc., are the same ones they've had since the Reagan administration. If cutting the deficit was the first priority, they wouldn't have renewed the Bush tax cuts. And if they're concerned about waste, why aren't items like oil, farm, grazing and water subsidies on the table?

Posted by: ralphfc | February 11, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Here's what the Repubs are missing... They are targeting the least powerful in favor of the most powerful...

Let's put the $30B that we give wealthy agri-businessemn on the table... Let's put the $5B-$10B subsidies we give Big Oil on the table... Let's pout the 10s of billions for obsolete military hardware that was designed for the "last war" on the table...

This is where the Republican ***disconnect*** lies... Joe Sixpack ain't stupid and he's beginning to see these things for himself...

All I can say is that if protecting Boss Hog's fortunes is all that that the Repubs stand for then they are in trouble...

Bob

Posted by: bobnpvine | February 11, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Republicans cut the deficit? Ahahahahahahaha! Aaaahahahahahahahahahaha!

Ronald Regan, Father of America’s Deficit spending doubled the National Debt.
George H W Bush, would have doubled the Debt if given 8 years.
William Jefferson Clinton, did NOT double the Debt and ended with a SURPLUS.
Baby Bush, squandered Clinton’s surplus and doubled the Debt. Oh yes, and destroyed the world economy creating massive unemployment.

Republicans cut the deficit? Ahahahahahahaha! Aaaahahahahahahahahahaha!
They can’t even agree on a $100 billion in cuts.
Aaaahahahahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: chucky-el | February 11, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

There goes the myth that Republicans are Christians.

The only thing the majority want to cut is aid to the world's poor. Less than 1% of the budget.

Jesus is crying.

Posted by: chucky-el | February 11, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that Americans have gotten far too accustomed to receiving entitlements from the government. The "dollar tree" myth promoted by liberals to explain how they are going to give everyone everything that they want and that the 'rich' are going to pay for it all is all too pervasive. The class warfare and 'robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to get Paul's vote' is all too seductive for politicians of both parties unfortunately.

Yes, we hate cutting programs because obviously someone along the line has to be the 'loser'. But we keep forgetting that there is still no such thing as a 'free lunch'. If we get money from the government, we have to pay for it somewhere down the line, either through substantially higher taxes, from higher prices brought on by the wealthy and big corporations passing along the 'soak the rich' taxes to the consumer in the form of higher prices, and ultimately in the form of higher unemployment because as our wages rise to pay for these entitlement fees, American goods and services become too expensive on the world market and lose out to foreign companies and workers.

Posted by: honorswar26 | February 11, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

The present economic crisis in the US, exacerbated by a poor economy with high unemployment, shines a glaring light on the Republican lie that cutting taxes, especially corporate taxes, creates jobs and makes an economy prosper.

Lowering taxes is not the panacea Republicans say it is. It depresses the economy further and makes the services people need and only government provide more expensive and more difficult to obtain. It also does absolutely nothing to keep businesses from sending jobs overseas.

Time for the right wing MSM to own up to the failure of Republican ideas on taxes begun with Reagan.

Posted by: flamingliberal | February 11, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

This is the problem with polls as a guide to legislating. Everyone expresses their own "druthers" - usually there is no opportunity for a nuanced response either. And most respondents have little information available to help in making a responsible and complex decision. That is why we elect representatives, to do all that hard researching and deciding. Too bad they won't do it.

Posted by: merribanks | February 11, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Defund Homeland Security and the Pentagon NOW.

After all, we are a Second Amendment nation ... right?????

Posted by: bs2004 | February 11, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The Repubs remind me of a business owner I once managed for. He wanted to cut expenses, so he went on a tirade about office supplies. I finally sat down with him and showed him real numbers. The office supplies accounted for one percent, one, of our total expenses. Cutting them wouldn't do squat. He didn't want to cut his travel, gas, and entertaining expenses, however, that were a far larger percentage of our expenses.

Posted by: mischanova | February 11, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

If you want to know how serious the Republicans are about cutting the deficit, look at Boehner's press conference answers to Jonathan Karl's question about cutting subsidies for an airplane engine the military doesn't want (made in Eric Cantor's district), ethanol subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/republicans-vow-cut-budget-overlook-defense-energy-spending/story?id=12888071

Posted by: polprof | February 11, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful...keep listening to the Tea Baggers, Republicans. Cut a bunch of stuff that no one wants cut. Oh, and why not try shutting the government down while you're at it. That'll make the people happy and win you votes!

This is what happens when you let teh crazy take over.

Posted by: js_edit | February 11, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Republicans would rather cut the disposable money of one million Americans than to cut the disposable money of one American millionaire.

Posted by: kamdog | February 11, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Not surprising that 70 percent of Republicans want to cut aid to the world's needy - they can barely tolerate giving aid to our own needy. And that's probably out of self-interest: When you have large pockets of poverty and misery, you have social unrest; your gated community won't protect you when people get desperate.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | February 11, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans are paralyzed by their own ineptitude.
They have never been able to govern with any degree of skill. Reagan was a nice man but he succombed to alzheimers long before he made it public.
Any grade schooler can tell you cutting aid to the poor is trivial next to the aid our government gives to the wealthiest people and corporations in this country. Blowing up Iraq and then using our tax dollars to rebuild it, using Halliburton as their builder, cost us billions. Halliburton hired foreigners from other countries who didn't know what the heck they were doing, and so built inhabitable structures, even rigging showers to electrocute our sons. We need America's infrastructure rebuilt right here, but the righties peed that money away on Iraq.
The teabagging hyenas are not intelligent and don't care about anything but gaining some kind of power. I've got some of them in my own extended family and they are the dumbest and most racist people. They talk like a bunch of drunken bullies and have no idea who their own representatives are.
Let the Republicans go ahead and take money from the poor and middle class. We know how hard they fought to give the wealthiest Americans more money with less taxes, knowing they don't need the money. These representatives are bums, nothing less than bums. They have no idea how they are hurting this country by not working with their colleagues to fix what is broken.
They are only interested in power and wealth for themselves and their family members and the heck with the rest of us.
They take, take, take, they don't send their own sons into battle or themselves. They just take the cream from the top and leave us all the 1% that tastes like water. fritz

Posted by: papafritz571 | February 11, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"The problem is that Americans have gotten far too accustomed to receiving entitlements from the government. The "dollar tree" myth promoted by liberals to explain how they are going to give everyone everything that they want and that the 'rich' are going to pay for it all is all too pervasive. The class warfare and 'robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to get Paul's vote' is all too seductive for politicians of both parties unfortunately."

Plus

"Let's put the $30B that we give wealthy agri-businessemn on the table... Let's put the $5B-$10B subsidies we give Big Oil on the table... Let's pout the 10s of billions for obsolete military hardware that was designed for the "last war" on the table..."

We don't have to tax particular food items if we simply stopped bankrolling the sugar industry and the cattle farmers. Just for an example.

Why do we have HHS and DoD? Why don't we just have a Department of War, the way we did until 1947(?)? Why do we have brand new navy ships that founder in high seas? Why don't we dust off the Wyoming class warships (or even the Missouri class), tweak and build them? They could go through the Panama Canal, withstand high seas, get into littoral waters, re-fuel smaller ships, etc. C'mon!

Posted by: Skowronek | February 11, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Raise Taxes to Clinton Era Standards..
AND
the whole problem goes away.

Posted by: RepublicanRedRash1 | February 11, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Why do we have HHS and DoD? Why don't we just have a Department of War, the way we did until 1947(?)? Why do we have brand new navy ships that founder in high seas? Why don't we dust off the Wyoming class warships (or even the Missouri class), tweak and build them? They could go through the Panama Canal, withstand high seas, get into littoral waters, re-fuel smaller ships, etc. C'mon!

Posted by: Skowronek
=================================

GOOD point..
They are excellent platforms
and
designed for a real war..!!

Posted by: RepublicanRedRash1 | February 11, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The reality that Americans refuse to face is that taxes will have to be increased. It's the only way, unless we'd like to live in a third world country Posted by: ggwalt | February 11, 2011 6:42 AM
the fastest way to being a third world nation is to keep spending us to death.
Did you see what the IMF said about our debit?

Posted by: kev4 | February 11, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Cut $80 billion from the Pentagon. They won't even miss it. They lost that much in Iraq in a few weeks.

Posted by: clairevb | February 11, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Most people I've talked to don't thik cutting the deficit is a good idea at all, especially now, but the polls that reflect that are ignored by the lamestream media.

Posted by: Acharn | February 11, 2011 1:19 AM
most of the poeple I have talked to. and they are independants, liberitarians, repubs,Dems. Think that we MUST go beyond just meeting the deficit(remember? its just what we are short on making the interest payments on the DEBIT)
and actuall start paying the debit off. it is just growing like crazy, thats why it is never shown anymore. So there are some Dems like you that lean so far left you think sideways is up. So what if your idea of debit management is to spend even more. I did not take financial advice from my 3 year old either. Although when she was 3 her grasp of finances was on par with yours.
freedom is not free. the price is personal responsability. Take it or leave it. Yet, you can not have your favorite half, you must except all or none.

Posted by: kev4 | February 11, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Most people I've talked to don't thik cutting the deficit is a good idea at all, especially now, but the polls that reflect that are ignored by the lamestream media.

Posted by: Acharn | February 11, 2011 1:19 AM
most of the poeple I have talked to. and they are independants, liberitarians, repubs,Dems. Think that we MUST go beyond just meeting the deficit(remember? its just what we are short on making the interest payments on the DEBIT)
and actuall start paying the debit off. it is just growing like crazy, thats why it is never shown anymore. So there are some Dems like you that lean so far left you think sideways is up. So what if your idea of debit management is to spend even more. I did not take financial advice from my 3 year old either. Although when she was 3 her grasp of finances was on par with yours.
freedom is not free. the price is personal responsability. Take it or leave it. Yet, you can not have your favorite half, you must except all or none.

Posted by: kev4 | February 11, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh well... just cut EVERYTHING 20%

That's a start

roflmao

Posted by: donabernathy | February 11, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Jon you ignorant hack!

You and Pew add zero value to the debate or to the IQ of your readers...is your point simply to dumb down the issue for post subscribers?

Any first grader can do a poll of "would you increase or decrease your daily serving of Brussels sprouts?" What do you think the result would be?

Instead why don't you and Pew frame a useful debate and useful poll. Are you in favor of higher taxes to pay for increased....

When is the Post its Democratic benefactors going to add some leadership to the political discourse in this country. Instead you and your friends stand there with your hand out asking those who really work and think for a living to give you more a few more entitlements.

Posted by: ELF2 | February 11, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Yo, Repubs...

Psssttttt...

Cut what Robert Gates is recommending from DoD which is $80B

Cut the $20 in farm subisdies that goe mostly to very rich peoploe

Cut the $5b-$10B subsidies that go to BIG OIL...

There's yer $100B and some...

Bob

Posted by: bobnpvine | February 11, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

The Pols included SS in the budget to make the deficit look smaller. That worked while SS was getting contributions from baby boomers. Now, they either have to make real cuts, including the pork they have handed out, or cut social security to make the deficit look smaller. Take social security OFF the budget and you'll see what a real mess we are in. But the Pols find it easier to screw citizens than financial supporters. And YES, kick out the freaking illegals. Our state is estimated to pay over $1B in schooling to illegal kids. We have a $2B deficit. You do the numbers. My taxes have already been raised twice, and now they want to provide in-state tuition to them. The pols' priorities are all wrong locally and nationally.

Posted by: Watson7 | February 14, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

You'd see the same thing if you asked people whether they'd like to cut their family's outlay.

Yes, they would.

No, they don't have any specific area that they'd be willing to cut.

Posted by: fpfrankpalmer | February 17, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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