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Chart of the Day: Cutting the Deficit

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posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 01:10 PM

Ah, the American public. God love 'em. The Economist asked if they'd rather tackle the federal deficit by cutting spending or raising taxes, and the runaway winner was cutting spending, by a margin of 62% to 5%. So what are we willing to cut? Answer: pretty much nothing.

As you can see, there wasn't one single area that even a third of the country wanted to cut back on. Except — hold on there! Down in the middle of the table. There is one area that everyone's willing to trim: foreign aid. Good 'ol foreign aid. A category that, as Roger McShane dryly points out, "makes up less than 1% of America's total spending."

Beyond that, there were only four areas that even a quarter of the population was willing to cut: mass transit, agriculture, housing, and the environment. At a rough guess, these areas account for about 3% of the federal budget. You could slash their budgets by a third and still barely make a dent in federal spending.

I suppose one of these days everyone's going to have to figure this out. Apparently no time soon, though.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Judging from ATS, I would have thought that a larger majority of the population would favor cutting Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs, especially those that might benefit your neighbor but not you

This poll was actually taken by "The Economist," a somewhat conservative-leaning but usually surprisingly impartial publication.

If it was done by Mother Jones, you might suspect some bias in their choice of people to interview; as it is, though, I find The Economist basically trustworthy and am somewhat impressed with the results.

BTW: I'm not surprised that things like foreign aid, the environment, agricultural subsidies, etc. are among the areas most favored for cuts.

Foreign aid doesn't benefit most of us directly; many of us are not farmers, and the environment is always being kicked down the road.

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 02:02 PM
Very interesting read. Thanks for posting. Here are the categories and their percent people would cut, in case anyone is interested and didn't want to click the link:

Social Security - 7%
National Defense -22%
Medicare -7%
Aid to the Poor - 17%
Medicaid - 11%
Veterans Benefits - 6%
Health Research - 13%
Education - 12%
Highways - 12%
Mass Transit -27%
Foreign Aid -71%
Unemployment Benefits -19%
Science and Tech -22%
Agriculture -27%
Housing -27%
The Environment - 29%
None of the Above - 12%

Personally I think the categories are too broad and the results lend to inaccuracy without the ability to drill down further into each category. For example, we hear about multi-million-dollar programs to study "cow and pig flatulence" in agriculture, but obviously not all agriculture research is as useless.

I am more inclined to think that there are programs that are nothing but wasteful spending in every category and should be be eliminated without cutting back on spending for all programs in a category.

Cut spending with a scalpel, not a battle axe.

[edit on 8-4-2010 by sos37]

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 02:15 PM
Yes, unless I can read the wording of the poll it is pretty worthless.

I bet if people were asked if they would want to shut down any of the over 700 foreign bases, people would have said WHAT! There are that many bases overseas? WHY?

One of the largest expenditures in Government is GOVERNMENT. How bout cutting that.

Pffft. Blame it on the people YEP, typical government obfuscatory tricks.

I bet another question if asked would have gotten a resounding 100% agreement, until the government balances our budget, would you agree that the government's pay should be cut to 50% of present levels? And with each additional year to be cut at 10% increments until the government cost nothing to operate?

I would agree with that one. Either cut government or raise taxes America, which one do you want?

[edit on 4/8/2010 by endisnighe]

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 02:31 PM

Originally posted by sos37

Cut spending with a scalpel, not a battle axe.

Agreed. Absolutely.

posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 09:21 PM
reply to post by sos37

i agree. A lot of the arguments against the "ridiculous" science funding is based on context. For example, Palin stated during the campaign that we are currently funding XX million dollars a year in funding research focused on the fruit fly. Oh the humanity!

Well, if taken in context one would realize that almost everything we know about human genetics and therefore genetic diseases, can be traced back to the studies conducted on the fruit fly.

In my opinion, science and technology funding always pays off in the long run, and rewards very productive members of society. Like another poster has already said, use a scalpel and not a battle axe.

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