Panic! 1/2 say spending cuts will lead to violence

I suppose this was inevitable, really. It happened in Greece. (For sure.) It happened in London. (Well, sort of.) And now, according to some new figures from Scott Rasmussen, nearly half of Americans think that spending cuts here in the U.S.A. could lead us to scenes of mayhem and madness in the street. (The odds on zombies appearing were not given in the cross tabs.)

Nearly one-out-of-two Americans (48%) think that cuts in government spending are at least somewhat likely to lead to violence in the United States, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. But that includes just 13% who feel it’s Very Likely.

Nearly as many Adults (44%), however, believe violence as the result of spending cuts is unlikely, but only 12% say it’s Not At All Likely.

Of course, reading between the lines, we’re not talking about cuts to foreign aid, or defense, or subsidies for llama farmers here. This all boils down to cuts to entitlement programs. There are a few differences between the situations in Europe and those in America, though. The majority of the spending in these programs goes to those who are arguably the least likely to take a cricket bat and begin knocking out the windows at Walgreeens: the elderly. If the deeper cuts start affecting unemployment insurance payments, food stamps and other programs which cut across all demographics, the picture might change.

Interestingly, further down in the survey results, we find that more than 40% of Republicans and self-identified Tea Party supporters think that violence in the streets might erupt in the event of tax increases. Given that the most likely tax hikes will be on “the rich,” though, it could significantly cut down on the number of rioters. On the other hand, they’d probably be considerably better armed.