Americans are Confused, Part 895

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Via Bruce Bartlett, here are the results of a Harris poll that asked people various questions about deficit reduction. Americans, it claims, are strongly in favor of spending cuts instead of tax increases and believe, by a 73% margin, that “public spending cuts are necessary to help long term economic recovery.”

OK then. Spending cuts it is! And just what should we slash? Well, that’s shown in Table 5, to the right, and the answer is…..

Aid to developing countries! Which currently accounts for something south of 1% of the entire federal budget. Aside from that, there was no appetite for cutting anything. Even defense spending, bloated by two unpopular wars, was favored for the chopping block by fewer than a third of respondents. “Healthcare” got only 18%, and since my guess is that this was mostly people who want to cut spending on healthcare for poor people, this means that Medicare cuts are favored by virtually no one. And Harris didn’t even bother to ask about Social Security.

Bottom line: Americans say they want to cut spending, but they pretty plainly don’t want to cut any actual spending. Just fantasy spending. Sort of like being in a rotisserie baseball league.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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