Cutting Down the Forest But Keeping the Trees

Cutting Government Spending May Be Popular But There Is Little Appetite For Cutting Specific Government Programs:

“Cutting government spending often sounds like a good idea to many people, and it is a popular rallying cry for many Republicans and Conservatives, but a new Harris Poll underlines how difficult it is. When shown a list of 20 areas of federal government spending, a majority of the public supports cutting only six of them and these do not include the big ticket items that comprise most of the federal budget. Furthermore large majorities oppose cutting Social Security or federal health care programs, which many economists believe are increasing at unsustainable rates…

These results prompt two thoughts. The first is that the big picture – cutting government spending, in general – looks very different than the more detailed picture – cutting specific programs. Many people seem to want to cut down the forest but to keep the trees. The second is that this is not 1980, when President Reagan came to power. At that time there was a much greater appetite for cutting many government programs than there is today. Furthermore it should be noted that, in spite of his rhetoric, Ronald Reagan had great difficulty cutting government spending.”

(Via Harris Interactive.)

When will we be adults about this?

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