Poll: Voters favor balance in cutting deficit

posted at 4:05 pm on September 20, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Nearly half of all voters favor an approach to deficit reduction that combines spending cuts and tax hikes, according to a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll.

Twenty percent of respondents said they would like any deficit reduction package to rely “about three-fourths on spending cuts and one-fourth on tax increases,” while another 26 percent said proposals should rely “equally on spending cuts and tax increases.”

The president would like us to believe the proposals he unveiled yesterday — which called for $1.5 trillion in tax hikes — take the sort of balanced approach the American people would like to see. And by pledging to veto any deficit reduction package that doesn’t include tax increases, he’s done all he can to make Republicans — who are transparent about their opposition to higher taxes — appear intransigent and lopsided in their approach to deficit reduction.

But, unfortunately for the president, his plan is as unbalanced as it could be. As I alluded to yesterday, GOP analysts for the Senate Budget Committee have come out with some pretty important research regarding the president’s plan. Essentially, the data shows the president’s deficit proposals will not cut spending by one penny. That fact is not surprising, but it is the essential corrective for the president’s poisonous professions of “balance” — professions unwitting voters might otherwise swallow. More from the Senate Budget Committee GOP:

[Yesterday], the president finally provided a fiscal plan on paper that reflects his latest vision for the country. Relative to the administration’s current policy baseline, the president claims his plan would increase the fiscal year 2012 deficit by $300 billion but reduce deficits over the next 10 years by $3.2 trillion.

However, this claim is overstated by $1.8 trillion because of three gimmicks: (1) taking credit for savings from a reduction in war spending that all parties agree will occur, (2) hiding spending for the annual Medicare “Doc Fix” that should be offset, and (3) counting interest savings as spending reduction even though debt service savings are not a policy.

Properly accounting for the effect of the president’s proposed policy changes, the actual amount of net deficit reduction proposed by the president is $1.409 trillion, consisting of $146 billion in spending increases and $1.555 trillion in tax increases.

So, what’s the popular support for a deficit reduction plan that’s all tax hikes and no spending cuts? The lowest it could possibly be. Just 16 percent favor “relying mostly on tax increases with smaller spending cuts.” Republicans might not have majority support for their spending-cuts-only approach, but they have more support than that: 28 percent are OK with just spending cuts.

Given the SBC GOP’s analysis, National Journal’s reporting of its own poll is a bit misleading. This is how writer Matthew Cooper spins the results:

When asked if the congressional super committee that is charged with recommending at least $1.2 trillion in reductions from the deficit should rely “entirely on spending cuts without any tax increases,” only 28 percent of voters said yes, according to the new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. The cuts-only position is basically the one offered by the Republican leadership in Congress and by the candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Congressional Democrats and President Obama have offered what they call a “balanced approach” of tax hikes and spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit, and voters overwhelmingly favored such an approach, albeit to varying degrees. When he unveiled his deficit-reduction plan on Monday, the president insisted that tax hikes be a part of any deficit solution. That would seem to be in sync with voters. “Relying about three-fourths on spending cuts and one-fourth on tax increases” was the choice of 20 percent of respondents.

The president’s rhetoric might “be in sync with voters,” but his actual plan is not. But that’s how it’s been from Day 1 with this president. If reality matched his words, we’d be sitting pretty. But, unfortunately, right now, reality is ugly and the president just wants to apply more of the same garish make-up in a futile attempt to hide the underlying flaws.


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BINO:

Balanced-In Name Only.

ted c on September 20, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Stimulus money goes to state and local governments. They use it to support public union employees who, in turn, pay union dues, and those dues are then used for campaign contributions to Democrat coffers. A beautiful circle.

a capella on September 20, 2011 at 4:12 PM

They like the word “balanced”. Who doesn’t?

faraway on September 20, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Why would anyone agree to higher taxes until the government has demonstrated that all wasteful spending has been eliminated? Washington has proven over and again they will spend every dime the confiscate from us and then borrow another 40%. Who are these idiots that trust politicians with their money?!

stvnscott on September 20, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Really? Voters want tax hikes? To accomplish what, exactly?

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Yes.

People are always okay with tax hikes on “them”. As long as they don’t fall under the same bracket as “them”.

ButterflyDragon on September 20, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Yes.

People are always okay with tax hikes on “them”. As long as they don’t fall under the same bracket as “them”.

ButterflyDragon on September 20, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Unfortunately you are right.It’s always the other guy who should be paying the higher taxes…

sandee on September 20, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Balanced.

They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

BobOfTexas on September 20, 2011 at 4:18 PM

This is talk and wishful thinking. The reality is there will be a crash, and the poor and those dependent on the government will be particularly hard hit. It doesn’t matter what adjustments we make. Our course is unsustainable. There must be a crash.

Paul-Cincy on September 20, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Why would anyone agree to higher taxes until the government has demonstrated that all wasteful spending has been eliminated?

Name one government in the history of the world that has no wasteful spending. You’re dreaming- not even a useful thought.

bayam on September 20, 2011 at 4:23 PM

OT: Solyndra Execs to plead the 5th

ConservativePartyNow on September 20, 2011 at 4:29 PM

What’d you call it ‘wasteful spending’? (imitation voice)

To some, it is their bread and butter.

Sir Napsalot on September 20, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Twenty percent of respondents said they would like any deficit reduction package to rely “about three-fourths on spending cuts and one-fourth on tax increases”

I don’t have a problem with tax increases as long as …

1. The balance of “cuts” to “taxes” is skewed in favor of CUTS – because this is a spending problem overall – not one of revenue.

2. The cuts come simultaneous with the taxes. You raise taxes by “y” amount in a single year – you cut by “y X 3″ – if we’re going to do this at a rate of 75% cuts to 25% taxes. In other words – none of this “cut $1T over the course of one hundred years” bullshirt.

3. The taxes go to pay down the debt – which the Dimmocrits and the Meghan McCain wing of the GOP won’t go along with. But I can certainly accept the taxes if it means we’re taking some of the debt burden off our kids and putting it on our shoulders – where it belongs.

HondaV65 on September 20, 2011 at 4:31 PM

I’d like balance too. A flat tax applied to everyone.

darwin on September 20, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Name one government in the history of the world that has no wasteful spending. You’re dreaming- not even a useful thought.

bayam on September 20, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Right. I forgot to dumb it down for you. How about “most of” or “much of” the wasteful spending.

But I’m sure you’re one of those who don’t care about $16 muffins or $9 coffee for government employees, aren’t you? You don’t care how much our awesome and magnanimous government spends as long as the rich get soaked for it, right?

stvnscott on September 20, 2011 at 4:35 PM

When I look at Obama’s proposal, it’s the little things that stand out, like:

- The $100 per trip fee for private jets.

The whole proposal is filled with little specific fees/taxes that just smack of being nothing but soundbites for campaign commercials.

“THE EVIL REPUBLICANS EVEN VOTED AGAINST A MEASLY $100 TAX ON A 5 MILLION DOLLAR JET — DA DA DUM”

It’s like they just pre-scripted bits of their future campaign ads for targeted appeal. It’s just so blatant when you read through the thing.

Jason Coleman on September 20, 2011 at 4:36 PM

The entire premise of the question is a fraud.

Try asking the question in real world terms.

like:

Do you favor raising tax rates to pay for the spending the Democrats have demanded for the last 4 years?

or maybe:

Should we tax the 50% of the people that pay no federal tax to pay for the spending the Democrats have demanded for the last 4 years?

Meanwhile, in the REAL WORLD, the Republicans and Democrats are nicely plowing forward with ANOTHER 1.6 TRILLION DEFICIT BUDGET for 2012. This is INSANE!

The real question is: How long until interest rates rise enough to destroy the viability of the US dollar?

Freddy on September 20, 2011 at 4:37 PM

This is like telling junkie that he needs a 1/3 increase in rehab combined with a 1/4 increase in crack.

Get off the damned crack already!

Laura in Maryland on September 20, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Our course is unsustainable. There must be a crash.

Paul-Cincy on September 20, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Yep. But there seems not to be a lot of creedence or urgency given to that around here.

Bat Chain Puller on September 20, 2011 at 4:39 PM

How many times does Lucy pull the ball out from Charlie Brown…?

Cut first…

… deep and painful so you can hear the squeals, the gnashing of teeth, the total unhingement, the blood letting, the complete hysteria, uncontrolled frothing of the mouth, and tears, yes tears from the Left.

Lock those cuts down, empty bureaucracies, sell off fleets of cars, buildings, departments whole…

… put out of work the political elite ruling class and their bureaucratic army.

Once that is done, then let us take another look at the issue…

… Maybe tax increases won’t be necessary.

Seven Percent Solution on September 20, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Crock…balance my ass…people want NOTHING to do with tax increases. But is a POLL!!!!!

winston on September 20, 2011 at 4:46 PM

And one more thing on entitlement cutting.

Hey, I’m all for it but I’ll tell you this …

If the retirement age is raised, then it should include the people already about to retire – or a good chunk of them.

Example … a man is 61 years old, plans to retire at 62 or 65 – and the retirement age is raised to 70. Everyone who talks about this says the 61 year old should not be “touched” and should be allowed to retire at age 62 – or 65, whichever he chooses.

I say BS – if a 40, 45, or 50 year old can work until they’re 70 then that 61 year old man certainly can too! And … he OWES us anyway – yes he does! He was a part of the generation that began this overspending journey – and he should rightfully sacrifice along with the rest of our sorry asses!

HondaV65 on September 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Just got off the phone with a lovely IRS rep. She was professional and courtious. It didn’t soothe my acid reflux but hey we all signed onto this republic and the Gub’mint says I owe so I owe. They’ll get their contract amount, it was my choice to play by the rules so the rules rule. That said….

SHUT IT DOWN.

Limerick on September 20, 2011 at 4:48 PM

People will tend to choose middle ground in multiple choice scenarios, especially when those choices are guided by positive reinforcement – such as using terms like “balanced” or “fair” or “reasonable,” all of which are extremely subjective in this context.

If Democrats are so convinced this is the case, they should definitely run on raising taxes. It worked out well for them in 1984, didn’t it?

National Journal is merely trying to convince Republican officeholders to commit electoral suicide, which is about the last hope to improve Democrats’ chances in 2012.

Adjoran on September 20, 2011 at 4:56 PM

We need to increase taxes by making sure Democrats adhere to existing tax laws.

cf Geithner, Daschle, etc.

malclave on September 20, 2011 at 5:03 PM

How do pollsters find so many stupid people?

Slowburn on September 20, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Barry LIED. The economy DIED.

GarandFan on September 20, 2011 at 5:05 PM

I don’t believe the “poll”. I cannot accept that 25-50% of Americans are so stupid as to not see that our government spending is the problem, not that they aren’t paying enough in taxes (their “fair share”) and want to pay more.

Now if the poll sample consisted primarily of the “99 weekers” who if Obama gets his way will become the “170 weekers” or the welfare queens with the handicap sticker on the new GM car, or government employees, oh yeah, and labor unions, then I guess they could get a result like this.

I take it all back.

ncjetsfan on September 20, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Anyone I know who works for a living thinks they are taxed
enough already.

This goes to show everyone how polls are rigged. Who did
they ask? A bunch of lazy fools who are on the public dole?
Of course, they would like MY and YOUR taxes increased so
they can continue to reap the gov benefits; heck, perhaps the
government can buy them a car, pay for the repairs, insurance and the gas; that’s next folks.

Amjean on September 20, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Damnnnnnn….. their smoke machine must be broken……and them mirrors must be kinda cracked tooooo

roflmao

donabernathy on September 20, 2011 at 5:21 PM

So, the Democrats run up trillions in excess spending, pack the bureaucracy full and give them all raises, and *then* call for balance?

How about no? Is no okay? ‘Cause I’m going with no.

Cut spending to 2006 levels and then, MAYBE we’ll talk about taxes.

Merovign on September 20, 2011 at 5:21 PM

“The voters balanced stupidly.”
PBHO

Khun Joe on September 20, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Really? Voters want tax hikes? To accomplish what, exactly?

A Wall Street Journal story suggests the Buffet tax would have hit just 22,000 people in 2009, those households making more than $1 million annually and paying less than 15 percent of income in federal income taxes. According to the Tax Policy Center, doubling the tax burden of those 22,000 would raise just $19 billion a year. How silly is this?

Akzed on September 20, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Doesn’t matter. Even if it didn’t raise a nickel of new ‘revenue’, little Bammie wants to do this because it meets his definition of what is ‘fair’. Joe the Plumber taught us that.

slickwillie2001 on September 20, 2011 at 5:47 PM

I would like the question asked point blank—Do yousupport increased on yourselfto cut the deficit?

arnold ziffel on September 20, 2011 at 5:56 PM

increased taxes

my preview hasn’t been working right.

arnold ziffel on September 20, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Keith Hennesey has the goods on obama’s latest rhetorical trick….

http://keithhennessey.com/2011/09/19/balanced-misdirection/

Obama’s latest proposal is basically over a trillion in increased taxes to make up for cuts already enacted in the last six months.

He’s pulling a fast one.

MaggiePoo on September 20, 2011 at 6:03 PM

I’d like balance too. A flat tax applied to everyone.

darwin on September 20, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Yup. Let EVERY American have some skin in the game. And when the yahoos in Washington want more cash in the trough… they’ve got to answer to EVERYONE. Lets see how much they like that.

Murf76 on September 20, 2011 at 7:05 PM

No representation without taxation.

If you don’t pay federal income tax then why should you have a say in having taxes on others raised?

I’m all for ‘balanced tax increases’: on those who currently pay NO federal income tax. This is supposed to be a shared burden by ALL citizens, not leveraged upon one class or another shared by all of us. The rich already carry too much of the burden and it is time that all of those who wish to have a lovely and large government learn the cost of that government by paying for it. Remove all loopholes, waivers, and exemptions on income taxes and put in place a flat tax for all citizens.

You want more spending and higher taxes? Then be willing to PAY more for it out of YOUR own pocket and stop asking ‘the rich’ to pay for YOUR share of the burden.

ajacksonian on September 20, 2011 at 7:33 PM

BHO and his many dwarfs can bring any proposal to the table that they can dream up but the bottom line is unless the economy grows there is NO way in hell we will ever pay off our debt. We need the revenue from thousands, no millions of new tax payers to turn this thing around. If this mental midget thinks taxing the “Rich” is going to make the economy grow he is dumber than I thought. Do the math; there is no way to make it work without major economic growth. Here are the things that would turn on the turbos and make this economy take off. 1. Cancel Obamacare. 2. Make the Bush tax rates permanent for the next ten years. 3. Undo Dodd-Frank. 4. Stop the EPA from doing anymore harm. 5. Open up any and all types of energy for exploration with NO government subsidies. Build a border fence along the Mexican border and enforce E-verify with every employer. 6. last but not least Obama should resign effective January 1 2012. Is there even one liberal who would not agree with this?

inspectorudy on September 20, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Wait a minute.

“…voters overwhelmingly favored such an approach, albeit to varying degrees. When he unveiled his deficit-reduction plan on Monday, the president insisted that tax hikes be a part of any deficit solution. That would seem to be in sync with voters. “Relying about three-fourths on spending cuts and one-fourth on tax increases” was the choice of 20 percent of respondents.”

Okay. So 20% of respondents = ‘in sync with voters’

But in the preceeding paragraph:

“When asked if the congressional super committee that is charged with recommending at least $1.2 trillion in reductions from the deficit should rely “entirely on spending cuts without any tax increases,” only 28 percent of voters said yes…..”

So spending cuts without any tax increases is “only” supported by 28%, but voters who are “in sync” with tax increases is apparently an overwhelming majority of voters at 20%.

Maybe I don’t understand what a majority is.

Ripley on September 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM

More tax hikes? That’s soooo yesterday.

petefrt on September 21, 2011 at 5:50 AM