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Julie Garber

How Do We Really Want Congress to Reduce the Deficit?

By November 26, 2012

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With U.S. income taxes and estate taxes set to increase sharply in a month and the federal debt topping $16 trillion, last week a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports asked the following five questions regarding how Congress should work to reduce the deficit:

  1. In looking for ways to cut the federal deficit, should Congress and the president consider only tax increases, only spending cuts, or a mix of spending cuts and tax increases?

  2. If a mix of spending cuts and tax increases is proposed, should there be more spending cuts or more tax increases?

  3. Regardless of what you think should happen, is the debt reduction agreement reached by the president and Congress likely to propose more spending cuts or more tax increases?

  4. If the agreement includes spending cuts, how likely is Congress to actually cut spending?

  5. If the agreement includes tax hikes, how likely is Congress to actually increase taxes?

And the survey says: 68% of voters want to see tax increases coupled with spending cuts to help reduce the federal deficit, 24% want to see spending cuts only, and a mere 4% want to see tax increases only.

But what the voters want is not what they expect they will get, since they anticipate Congress and the president will strike a deal that will offer more tax increases as opposed to real spending cuts. In addition, while voters expect that what they are lead to believe will be a tax increase will actually result in increased taxes, they are not so sure that what they are lead to believe is a spending cut will actually result in a cut in spending.

Comments
December 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm
(1) MARVIN NASSES says:

Any deal made will be of marginal value. I find it astounding that all calculations are made over ten years. The impact on 2013 will be minimal. We will continue to spend and increase the deficit. Sometime in the future, the United States will no longer be able to borrow at today’s terms and rates. The real pain will begin at that time. Draconian measures will be needed. If we only had the courage to make meaningful changes in the next 28 days and continuing in 2013, the end game might be delayed for a long time.

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