A majority of Americans believe that the federal government should focus on reducing the budget deficit rather than spending to stimulate the economy, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds.
Asked whether the government should focus on deficit reduction or stimulus spending, 58 percent of those surveyed cited deficit reduction. Thirty-five percent, meanwhile, said the government should spend more to stimulate the economy.
Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to favor deficit reduction. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents preferred that the government focus on reducing the deficit, while nearly half of Democrats cited a preference for more stimulus spending.
While Americans overall favor deficit reduction, however, a majority are not willing to pay more in taxes or give up services in areas such as health care, education, and defense spending to do so.
Read The Complete Poll (pdf)
Only 31 percent said they supported a cut in services to lower the deficit, while 53 percent opposed it. And while 41 percent said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to reduce the deficit, 56 percent said they would not.
Blogger Doug Mataconis responded by saying:
This is exactly what’s wrong with American politics, and it’s exactly what got us into the mess that we’re in today.
Americans like to tell themselves that they believe in limited government and don’t like the massive deficits and national debt that we’ve run up over the past several decades. The dirty little secret, though, is that most of us are lying to ourselves. We like the government subsidies — and, yes, things like the home mortgage interest deduction and the charitable contribution tax deduction are subsidies — and we like the government programs. And, of course, we all hate paying higher taxes. So, when push comes to shove, nobody wants to do the hard things that will be necessary to return the nation to fiscal sanity.
As these poll internals reveal, it’s something that cuts across party lines:
Saying that you want to see the budget deficit reduced, but being against the only two methods of doing so is nothing more than phony political posturing. Which is apparently what America is reduced to these days.