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Deficit Commission Proposals Give Most Americans the Shivers, Poll Says

3 years ago
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The sweeping plan put forward by President Obama's bipartisan deficit commission last week, with its calls for deep spending cuts in sacrosanct programs as well as tax increases, has drawn howls of protest from across the political spectrum. The New York Times observed that one of the things the panel hoped to accomplish by proposing measures such as ending the home-mortgage-interest deduction was to "jar the public into recognizing the magnitude of the nation's budget deficit and some of the drastic steps that might be needed to close it."
The commission has at least succeeded on the "jarring" part if the results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, conducted Nov. 11-15, are any indication. But the outlook for convincing the public to get behind many of the proposals does not look encouraging.
Erskine Bowles and Alan SimpsonThe Journal/NBC poll summed up the commission's draft this way:
"The commission recommends 75 percent come from spending cuts and 25 percent come from increases in tax revenues. Spending reductions include cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and defense spending. The tax increases include higher gasoline taxes, lowering the corporate tax rate but limiting business tax deductions, and placing a limit on the tax deduction for homeowners with mortgages over five hundred thousand dollars."
When it asked those surveyed what they thought, 40 percent called it a bad idea, 25 percent said it was a good idea and 30 percent had no opinion, with 5 percent undecided.
Getting more specific, the poll asked about the comfort level with cuts to Medicare, Social Security and defense spending. Seventy percent said they were very or somewhat uncomfortable with those actions, while 27 percent were somewhat or very comfortable with them. Three percent were not sure. Only 6 percent described themselves as "very" comfortable.
Fifty-nine percent were not comfortable with increasing taxes on things like gasoline and limiting the home mortgage interest deduction compared to 39 percent who were very or somewhat comfortable seeing that done. Only 10 percent were "very" comfortable. Two percent were undecided.
Fifty-seven percent expressed discomfort at increasing the age at which Social Security recipients could get full benefits, while 41 percent had some level of comfort.
Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the survey for Journal/NBC with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, made this unsurprising observation to the Journal: "Everybody wants to cut the deficit and cut the spending. But at the end of the day, everybody wants a choice that doesn't affect their well-being."

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Filed Under: Polls, Poll Watch, Deficit

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41 Comments

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rick & donna

i am on ss and retired military. we have not had a cost of living for 2 years and probably won't get one the next year. has it hurt? yes. the federal government may be giving me a tax break(NOT) but the city and county are taxing and feeing me right into the shelter. i have heard some things i like in this new plan. eliminate the mortage deduction but lower my tax bracket to 20% or lower. my house is not worth $250,000 so i come out with more money in my pocket

December 03 2010 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RUCB_Alum

1968 - GDP was $912B, average hourly wage $3. 2008 - GDP was $14,500B, average hourly wage $18. So the economy grew by 16 times and hourly wage by six times - slightly less than inflation. If average wages had grown with the economy, average hourly would be $48! You've got to tax the folks with the dough. They're the ones with portfolios and a lower propensity to spend it. The Bush tax cuts, financed through more borrowing, are a continuing theft from the Treasury.

November 30 2010 at 6:45 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Michele

Doesn't anyone believe/know that there are federal workers who are middle or in the lower income bracket just trying to stay afloat like other americans? My supposedly stable job is going no where -- granted I'm VERY grateful to have a job, but when my health care is going up 7.8% it's tough to say it's fair. I'm going backwards in my budget and looking at foreclosure. So federal employees ARE feeling the pain too. Everyone in my household are unemployeed except me. My children have had to move home because they didn't have jobs. We ARE the american tax payer too...we just call ourselves Civil Servants, not indentured slaves.

November 29 2010 at 6:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michele's comment
bob

How much do you make a year Elves? Uh, EVERYONE'S healthcare is going up by the way.

November 30 2010 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

It is a good idea. The rich and powerfull can either give it up on there own or wait until you cant throw any more poor people in jail that are forced to be accountable for their lives that feed this nation. You fat cats have enough and if your that stupid to think you dont, then keep screwing up this nation with your bad ideas and wants and see where you end up.....

November 29 2010 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lowrider

If you took Nancy's Peelossie Jet away from her that should save a billion a year

November 29 2010 at 1:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
howwil

Good idea on Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, to reduce the deficit radically, let the tax cuts expire for the top 2% and then raise their taxes further. Return to the sane level of marginal taxation on these people that we had under General Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald Ford. We had 40 years of almost uninterrupted growth in the economy, strong infrastructure, and PLENTY of jobs. The idea that continuing tax cut after tax cut is good for the health of the nation as a whole is a big fat lie propagated by those very people. They were spoiled rotten by Reagan and rottener by Bush, and now they rake in one out of every four dollars made. If the tax cuts are extended for them, in another decade it iwll be one out of every three dollars. This ia bad for the country ans unpatriotic, because the framers did not want a landed gentry running this country. That is what Reagan and Bush have gotten us.

November 22 2010 at 9:02 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
ktevent2

Start by getting out of Iraq and Viet Nam.... I mean Afghanistan. That should save a few billion. Every week. Anyone see on today's AOL home page the picture and story of the cold war B1 Bomber, originally designed to fly under and through detection to deliver the Big Kahuna to the Soviets? It's now being used to bomb the rag-tag, rock-throwing, rifle-carrying oh-so-bad Afghanis. Why are we spending money and spilling blood in that worthless land? Next, eliminate the proposed defensive shield that will protect our goooood friends in Europe against any nuclear attack. Hugely expensive and the technology doesn't work.

November 22 2010 at 8:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ingfp

If you could lift the state mandated health care plans, keep the tax cuts, implement term limits, privatize public school, close the borders, make DC politicians have the same health care plans as we have would be a good start. Oh, one more thing...elect a new BUSINESS oriented president 2012.

November 22 2010 at 7:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ingfp's comment
dcfixer

oh, sure. Lets get more corporatists in our government. That will solve everything.

December 02 2010 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mukarrib

America is, by other polls, a center-right nation that wants low taxes and high gov't spending. Can't have it both ways, but, as the average american is going to relearn once again, we will try and fail. And that paradox is at the heart of the BIG problem in America. We live by wishes and exaggerations and when those wants can't happen, then we go through the whole gyration again, blame somebody else, revert to the same pipe-dreams and see the bright future that, in all reality, will not occur. The problem in the country is the American people, not the politicians-who we elect, not the eviromentalists, not the immigrants, not anybody but the American people. Gridlock exists in Washington because the American people want it both ways, and it can't happen that way-the mathematics won't support it. And the answer, I feel, is to bite the bullet, cut the programs deeply, raise taxes, and listen to the screaming and hope some air of reason finally sinks in and we won't do it again.

November 22 2010 at 12:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judi

I've not read all of the proposals. But from the ones I have read about, this sounds like it's on the right track toward weaning us off of government dependency and reducing it to a managable size. If you've upset everyone equally, you're on to something.

November 21 2010 at 6:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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