Poll shows Nightmare on Sequester Street a flop

posted at 10:01 am on March 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

It goes by many names — crying wolf, Chicken Little, or just plain hyperbole.  What happens to a politician who insists that the world will end unless his policies are implemented, only to have the globe keep on turning as usual with little impact?  Barack Obama may be finding out, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll (via Jim Geraghty):

The budget cuts in Washington have not hit home in America, at least not yet.

A plurality of Americans think federal spending cuts will have no effect at all on them or their families, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. At the same time, as many Americans think the cuts will have no effect or a positive effect on the overall economy as think the cuts will hurt the economy, the survey found. …

President Barack Obama has not yet convinced the majority that the cuts will be bad for them and their country as he has tried. He has hoped the country would rise up in anger at the spending cuts and force Republicans to agree to an alternative plan to curb the deficit that includes tax increases and fewer spending cuts.

Of course — that’s always the reason for hyperbole and demagoguery.  It’s to incite people outside of rationality into action.  The only real way to combat that strategy is to call its bluff, and that’s what Republicans did with the sequester.  Despite the fact that the defense cuts were widely despised by the GOP (and not just the GOP), Republicans swallowed them to prove a point, which is that Obama and his Cabinet lied about the impact of what amounts to a 2.3% reduction in federal spending that has grown by nearly 15 times that amount since 2007.

Now that the world hasn’t ended because we didn’t raise taxes rather than cut spending, voters aren’t in much of a mood to try Obama’s preferred policy:

Generally, voters by 53-37 prefer to reduce the deficits by mostly cutting government programs and services rather than mostly by raising taxes. Working Americans just had a tax increase in January when Obama and the Congress decided to let a temporary cut in the payroll tax for Social Security expire.

“Voters are not in a mood to increase taxes,” said Miringoff.

I suppose it’s a Sisyphean task to remind McClatchy and Marist that the payroll-tax holiday was always supposed to be temporary, and that at least theoretically it reduced contributions to taxpayers’ own benefits, but that’s only theoretical.  The PTH was a bad idea from start to finish, whose inception didn’t stimulate growth, whose expiration didn’t reduce growth, and which didn’t even start to address the long-term problems in either the tax code or the structure of entitlement programs.

On that point, though, the news isn’t all good for budget-cutters:

-by 60-33 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Social Security;

-by 57-36 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicare; …

-by 50-42 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicaid.

Higher taxes won’t keep those programs afloat, but politically it might be impossible to fix them without trading something in revenues.  If the GOP can convince Democrats to overhaul the tax systems at the same time Congress addresses entitlement structure, everyone can get a win — but that’s going to take a lot of convincing on both sides of the aisle.  The best news is that the bad reviews and ticket sales for Nightmare on Sequester Street should be enough to ensure we won’t get a sequel in the near future.


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The budget cuts in Washington have not hit home in America, at least not yet.

What budget cuts?

Feds Spend $1.5 Million to Study Why Lesbians Are Fat

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/feds-spend-15-million-study-why-lesbians-are-fat

Pork-Chop on March 12, 2013 at 10:04 AM

You don’t get the strategy, he is convincing potential future voters that the Democrats are inept and can’t even cut 2% spending and do it right. Just imagine you’re the kid from Nebraska, coming to Washington D.C. for the first time, and you had YOUR White House tour cancelled, not to save the country money, but so the President could personally show YOU how the sequester is going to affect you. Then you see Michelle Obama have a lavish birthday party, that would more than cover the cost of the tours for many weeks, and you have to wonder, is it personal?

bflat879 on March 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

The only question is over which Government programs to cut. There’s a wide chasm here, with Democrats preferring Defense (20% of the budget) and Republicans preferring Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (60% of the budget).

Just imagine what you could do if you had the payroll taxes you and your employer must contribute (which, if you are self employed, is considerable given that you have to contribute both parts…). And just imagine what the economy would do if you could do it — even if all you were doing was depositing your money into a retirement account…

unclesmrgol on March 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Big Grifter has had to cut back on imported butter for the lobster tails, and her retinue of personal assistants has shrunk from 43 to 41; I’d say the sequester has been pretty brutal so far.

Bishop on March 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

The nightmare sequel occurred Nov 6th.

hillsoftx on March 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

The only poll I care about was already taken back on November 6th, 2012.

Meh.

Common Sense Floridian on March 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

-by 60-33 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Social Security;

-by 57-36 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicare; …

-by 50-42 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicaid.

Did the pollsters ask the majority if they even PAID taxes? Pretty easy to say you’re for increased taxing when you know you won’t be hit.

GarandFan on March 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

by 50-42 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicaid.

I wonder how many respondents confused Medicaid with Medicare or simply don’t know what Medicaid is?

forest on March 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

-by 60-33 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Social Security;

-by 57-36 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicare; …

-by 50-42 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicaid.

Why either/or?
Ask people if they would like to see government fraud and duplication, idiotic “studies” etc, cut to help fund, Medicare and Medicaid or raise taxes, and see what the percentages are.

Mimzey on March 12, 2013 at 10:34 AM

We need another Cash for Clunkers program.

Wildly popular (totally ineffective, but man, it sure feels good).

BobMbx on March 12, 2013 at 10:35 AM

If this admin runs true to form get ready for Sequester Street, The Sequel. Or maybe Sequester Street, The Series.

Comrade O is basically a simpleton. So most likely he will keep doubling down on this theme. At least until Valerie Jarret and the Mooch tell him to try something else.

farsighted on March 12, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Pork-Chop on March 12, 2013 at 10:04 AM

The answer is that lesbians don’t have any incentive to be attractive if they don’t have any interest in appealing to men.

BuckeyeSam on March 12, 2013 at 10:47 AM

-by 60-33 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Social Security;

-by 57-36 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicare; …

-by 50-42 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicaid.

Did they ask them whose taxes they “prefer” to raise? If not, the poll is little more than propaganda. Because everyone’s taxes must go up if something is not done.

BTW, I bet they didn’t they define “cut” either.

farsighted on March 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

I guess some Americans don’t realize that government, and the savior Obama, are the only things keeping us alive. It seems the media didn’t do a good job.

arand on March 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Good grief, are these questions ever posed with any context?

For example, if people prefer that taxes are raised rather than benefits cut then the following need also be asked:

1. On who should taxes be raised and by how much?
2. What if the necessary increases significantly (needs a measurable amount) reduce economic growth and therefore exacerbate the existing problems?
3. Would you support raising the retirement age rather than increasing taxes? If so, by how many years and starting when? If no, why not?
4. Do you support allowing people to opt out of Social Security and other mandatory programs? If no, why not?
5. Do you support means testing Medicare? If no, why not?
6. Would you support cuts or other changes to Social Security and Medicare if they only applied to those 55 and under and starting in 2020 (or later)? If no, why not?

I work as a consultant in logistics and drilling down into a business is what we do to find the real answers to problems. These stupid opinion polls are meaningless without deeper questioning.

You may as well ask “Do you want some ice cream?” Without asking, what flavor, how much, what if you had to pay for it and it was $20/gal. “Still want some ice cream?”

Charlemagne on March 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

The budget cuts in Washington have not hit home in America, at least not yet.

It will, when approx 800k civilian DOD employee’s lose a full month’s pay, between April and the end of September.

BillyPenn on March 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Did the pollsters ask the majority if they even PAID taxes? Pretty easy to say you’re for increased taxing when you know you won’t be hit.

GarandFan on March 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Anyone who works and earns money pays the social security and medicare taxes. Medicaid I think is drawn from a different pseudo fund.

Unlike Income taxes, where pretty much half the population gets away without paying much more than a few pennies and many get refunds of several thousands more than they ever paid in…

astonerii on March 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

We need another Cash for Clunkers program.

Wildly popular (totally ineffective, but man, it sure feels good).

BobMbx on March 12, 2013 at 10:35 AM

I still feel bummed when I think about those YouTube videos of perfectly good engines being destroyed during the C4C program.

Ward Cleaver on March 12, 2013 at 11:07 AM

1. On who should taxes be raised and by how much?

The poor low wage earners who benefit from the programs.

2. What if the necessary increases significantly (needs a measurable amount) reduce economic growth and therefore exacerbate the existing problems?

Tough shit, you want the benefits, its gonna cost you, nothing in life is ever really free. Even that breath of fresh air cost you caloric effort to suck in and breath out!

3. Would you support raising the retirement age rather than increasing taxes? If so, by how many years and starting when? If no, why not?

No, in fact, I think, looking at the number of disabled people on the rolls, the retirement age should be lowered, maybe to age 55.

4. Do you support allowing people to opt out of Social Security and other mandatory programs? If no, why not?

No, I support making people, everyone, suffer equally. The problem with allowing people to opt out is that the tax losses will be made up from the general fund anyways, so you are going to be paying for other people’s welfare anyways!

5. Do you support means testing Medicare? If no, why not?

It is means tested already. Those with the means do not use it. Those without the means do use it.

6. Would you support cuts or other changes to Social Security and Medicare if they only applied to those 55 and under and starting in 2020 (or later)? If no, why not?

Charlemagne on March 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Nope, let it burn. The only thing that can improve the entitlement and welfare state is to let it be crushed under its own weight. Until people actually see the results, they will not change their answers to you questions.

astonerii on March 12, 2013 at 11:11 AM

I wonder how many respondents confused Medicaid with Medicare or simply don’t know what Medicaid is?

forest on March 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Good question. Many low information voters get most of their information from People Magazine, The View and the Jerry Springer Show.

bw222 on March 12, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Those preferring tax raises would be ok with that as long as it’s someone else’s taxes being raised. They never think it’s going to be their taxes being raised and are shocked when that happens.

Kissmygrits on March 12, 2013 at 11:20 AM

-by 60-33 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Social Security;

-by 57-36 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicare; …

-by 50-42 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicaid.

This is a marketing problem. Just as tax hikes are called revenue enhancements, cuts to the entitlement programs must be billed as sustainibility initiatives or some such thing.

And the devil is in the details. Just what taxes would these pro-parasite/takers want to raise?

Happy Nomad on March 12, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Community organizing is hard…

d1carter on March 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Those preferring tax raises would be ok with that as long as it’s someone else’s taxes being raised. They never think it’s going to be their taxes being raised and are shocked when that happens.

Kissmygrits on March 12, 2013 at 11:20 AM

History proves them right, time and time again. It is people who earn more than 50,000 a year that pay the taxes. I say raise the payroll taxes, double them!

astonerii on March 12, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I wonder how many respondents confused Medicaid with Medicare or simply don’t know what Medicaid is?

forest on March 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Good question. Many low information voters get most of their information from People Magazine, The View and the Jerry Springer Show.

bw222 on March 12, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Then put it in terms their tiny little greedy minds can comprehend.

Barbara Walters gets her free stuff from Medicare.

People who live like Honey Boo Boo’s family get their free stuff from Medicaid.

Happy Nomad on March 12, 2013 at 11:24 AM

The upcoming Obama vacations and birthday party might affect his popularity. He hasn’t given his champions in the media anything to champion. At least the Republicans look like they are doing something.

lea on March 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Remember the $1.2 BILLION that was spent on Obama’s vacations last year? The fear mongering is not gonna work again. Tell the King he’s not wearing any clothes. Wake up America.

karlinsync on March 12, 2013 at 11:41 AM

“Poll” shows 51% of low information America voting for this, anyway.

The only poll that matters.

MNHawk on March 12, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Though I thought the Erkel metaphors a bit discomforting, I can’t help but hearing Obama saying, in that same Erkelish voice, “Did I do that?”

Don L on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Higher taxes won’t keep those programs afloat, but politically it might be impossible to fix them without trading something in revenues.

Don’t play by their deliberately misleading rules. Higher taxes and more revenues are not necessarily the same thing. You should know better. Often, lower taxes produce more revenues.

The Rogue Tomato on March 12, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Positive or negative results, I really don’t care about polls that much because Americans are stupid. Maybe just ignorant, how else cant he constant contradictions be explained?

Daemonocracy on March 12, 2013 at 12:43 PM

It will, when approx 800k civilian DOD employee’s lose a full month’s pay, between April and the end of September.

BillyPenn on March 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Billy, with 8 – 12 million Americans looking for work, a four day work week for those government employees is not going to generate much sympathy for their plight.

Personally, I’d like to see every American working for the government from the White House and Congress on down forced to take a one day a week cut in their salaries. Trust me; it ain’t going to be that painful for them.

Next, I’d like to see some union pay cuts as well.

E9RET on March 12, 2013 at 4:26 PM