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Eye Opener: Poll: Smaller gov't still preferred

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Tuesday! Americans still favor less government in their everyday lives, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend.

Fifty eight percent of respondents favor smaller government while 38 percent prefer a larger government and more services, according to the poll. The small government preference has climbed 4 points since the last time our pollsters asked the question in June and 5 points from almost the same time a year ago.

A general preference for a small government dates back to 1992 -- as far back as Post polling goes on the question. In the first year of the Clinton administration, 55 percent of Americans wanted a smaller government, while 38 percent wanted a bigger one.

The appetite for smaller government clashes with reality however: The government hired hundreds of thousands of new employees last year, mostly at the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. Agencies also plan to hire thousands more workers this year and the Obama administration's budget goals estimate the need for at least 100,000 more.

Track all Post-ABC polling at

Do we need a bigger or smaller or government? Where would you cut or expand? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Chat With The Eye: LIVE Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET. Submit your questions here.

Cabinet and Staff News: White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard's head may be in the Massachusetts Senate election, but his heart is in Haiti. Several Cabinet secretaries participated in community service events on Monday to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton named Al Qaeda in Yemen a terror group a month ago. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates orders his top military aides to stop wearing fatigues at work. Office of the Director of National Intelligence Associate Director Ron Sanders leaves a proud legacy.

Economy provides Census with cream of crop workers:
The bureau already has recruited engineers, former corporate vice presidents, college professors and radio disc jockeys to help manage the 2010 census,

U.S. task force commander for Haitian relief says logistics remain stumbling block: So far, roughly U.S. 1,400 military troops are on the ground in Haiti, with another 5,000 personnel on ships working with helicopter crews to bring aid ashore.

Ft. Hood inquiry urges new programs to identify violent behavior: The recommendations urge considering new clearance procedures and sensitive new policies to share medical information with commanders and supervisors so that "information regarding individuals who may commit violent acts" becomes "available to appropriate authorities."

GAO urges changes in budgeting for national security: The proposal breaks with the current arrangement of letting departments and agencies decide how best to arrange their budgets.

Obama to seek $1.35 billion more for Race to the Top program: The federal initiative uses the lure of grants to encourage school districts to raise standards, make better use of data to track student achievement, and take more forceful steps to intervene in failing schools.

Education grant effort faces late opposition: Thousands of school districts in California, Ohio and other states have declined to participate, and teachers’ unions in Michigan, Minnesota and Florida have recommended that their local units not sign on to their states’ applications.

FBI broke law for years in phone record searches: The agency illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records.

Guatemala protests arrest of 3 in Florida over passports: The three were arrested this month by immigration agents at a Federal Express office in Florida, when one of the immigrants went to pick up a package containing his newly issued Guatemalan passport.

Souring mortgages, weak market force FHA to walk a tightrope: In many of the nation's hardest-hit housing markets, the agency backs around half of all new home loans. If it pulls back too quickly, the nascent housing recovery could fizzle, endangering the economy.

Warning on fake Alli: The agency on Monday warned consumers about a counterfeit version of GlaxoSmithKline's weight-loss drug.

Crowdsourcing comes to telework: The Telework Talk blog has been set up at for a crowdsourcing discussion about the challenges you face and the solutions you have in mind.

Feds are left out of excise tax compromise: Federal employee groups fear that they are being left out of a health care reform compromise forged by unions and lawmakers to alleviate the effects of a proposed excise tax on insurance plans.

NASA urged not to outsource: A key federal aerospace panel warned that the agency could run into serious safety challenges if it relies on private companies to ferry astronauts into space in the near future.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 19, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Budget Cuts:

1. Get rid of all the #$#% czars, who were never vetted, and most of whom are radicals.

2. Get rid of twenty or so of Mrs Odumbo's "staff."

3. Get rid of the ninety or so percent of Odumbo's cabal who have absolutely no private sector experience.

These three alone will save millions, but more importantly, will eliminate the damage the leftist radicals can do to our nation.

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 19, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Since the poll didn't ask people which services that they are receiving that they would like to be cut, it doesn't really indicate much. Ask people if they'd like to make more money, most will say yes, ask them if they are will to work harder, nights and weekends to earn more money, probably few will say yes.

Posted by: crete | January 19, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

One of the problems is that Bush ENLARGED the government more than ALL previous presidents COMBINED! - WHILE cutting jobs at important agencies!
Examples - the Securities & Exchange Commission lost so many employees that monitoring Wall Street was impossible.
Bush cut so many inspectors' jobs at the Food & Drug Administration that TAINTED pet food, toothpaste, tires, etc and other items from China were not detected.
And there are other examples of Bush's corruption of cutting jobs to pass the "savings" on to Iraq.

And now - Obama is having to hire more employees for these agencies to protect The People's interest.

Thank God the Bush Error is over!

Posted by: angie12106 | January 19, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

LarryG62 wrote>>>1. Get rid of all the #$#% czars, who were never vetted, and most of whom are radicals.

Bush had MORE czars than Obama.
Did you want Bush's czars cut?

Posted by: angie12106 | January 19, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

More government -
Transportation - high speed rail, r&d for the auto industry, improved aviation services.

Environmental enforcement. Corporations get away w everything and Congress hamstrings EPA by delegating enforcement to the states, who under constrained budgets, do too little or accommodate businesses to protect jobs.

Sewer overflows - states have no money to modernize antiquated systems which spill billions of gallons of sewage into out lakes, rivers and drinking supply.

Energy - Wind farms and solar.

People who want less government are isolationist idiots who can't see that smaller government and capitalism is the problem.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 19, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

The bigger Governemnt gets the more more it bleeds money with little or no accountability!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | January 19, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Smaller government? Oh really! The FBI just illegally collected thousands of phone records under Bush's terrorism laws fiasco. Most American's will ignore this breach of civil liberties because they don't know what it means.

Most people want smaller taxes. But people have not requested a smaller government.

Best you rephrase your questions.

Posted by: Maddogg | January 19, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

My idea is to turn the government over to Republican Capitalists who run Citi Group and AIG.

Posted by: Maddogg | January 19, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

When asked, people always say they want smaller government. Whenever they face a problem, however, they always demand more from government.

You can't expect more from less, and since the theoretical desire for smaller government is always outweighed by the real desire for practical solutions, government will never be small.

People who dream of a smaller government also cite a time when the world was a lot simpler, when most people worked on family farms, and when places like China, India, Afghanistan and Egypt were exotic, nearly mythical lands, not places you were likely to end up, buy stuff from, or outsource your business to.

Posted by: AxelDC | January 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Smaller Govt" isn't necessarily less people, it just has less duties and less power. But as usual, it's easier said than done.

Posted by: TrustMe2 | January 19, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Smaller government:
1.get rid of all direct involvement in social programs. Instead create a list of available programs that are financially sound, meet to 20% admin max and make it available on line. Our SSN money can return to the "lock box" and replace the IOUs.
2. get rid of the Dept of Educaton. Education levels have deteriorated since it's inseption. States meet annually (sometimes more) about education. They don't need the Feds telling them what to do.
3. restrict the length of time Congress can be in full session. When in session restrict the travel of the politicians until their work is done. Oh yuh - cut their pay because with the other 2 cuts they won't have to handle so a large budget.
There's lots more I'd cut but I bet if we could get these 3 we'd be way ahead.

Posted by: 4my3dogs | January 22, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

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