Little Support for Most Specific Deficit Options

Source: Pew Research

 

Lots of people like to talk about deficit reductions. No one really wants to do anything about it.

That is not an  exaggeration. Despite all of the back and forth over the fiscal cliff and the deficits, when you get specific about deficit reduction, the majority of Americans are not supportive.

 

Source:
Little Support for Most Specific Deficit Options
Pew Research Center December 13, 2012
http://www.people-press.org/2012/12/13/as-fiscal-cliff-nears-democrats-have-public-opinion-on-their-side/

Category: Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

65 Responses to “American People Are Against Reducing the Deficit”

  1. D. Harmon says:

    If you would poll the American people if they wanted to go to war, with few exceptions they would oppose it. Polls are not going to “see the way” on tough decisions. That is why we need “leaders”, people that do the right thing despite the unpopularity of the decision. Leaders that are willing to seek compromise. Our spending on Medicare and SS is not sustainable with the current rules. They need logical adjustments that people will have many years to adjust to.

  2. DeDude says:

    I guess anything that is “stick it to the 2%’ers” get over 50% support, whereas anything hitting middle class or poor people get less than 50%. Not a good sign for the GOP.

  3. drtomaso says:

    How about this deficit reduction scheme?
    (1) Raise taxes: income taxes on those making over $250k; tax capital gains over a certain amount as income. Eliminate tax incentives for job exporting.
    (2) Increase spending (on infrastructure projects, education, technology) to grow the economy and increase tax receipts.
    (3) reduce long term deficits by reigning in unrealistic health care costs (which are the bulk of projected deficits via medicare) by instituting single payer health care

  4. Moss says:

    Too bad they did not ask about Mary Jane.

    1. Medical
    2. Decriminilization

  5. rexx18 says:

    The other research poll they did showed Americans love free lunches and using credit cards to live beyond their means, too.

  6. Joe Friday says:

    BR: “Despite all of the back and forth over the fiscal cliff and the deficits, when you get specific about deficit reduction, the majority of Americans are not supportive.

    Of course not, because the vast majority of Americans are not responsible for the federal deficits & debt and did not benefit from the creation of the federal deficits & debt.

    Those that are responsible for the federal deficits & debt and benefited from the federal deficits & debt should be forced to pay down the federal deficits & debt.

  7. The Window Washer says:

    Per the LA Times Article,
    The writer should have just said pointed and yelled “Christie is a big fatty fatty bombilaty. We all know fat people are stupid!”
    I was talking to a lifetime democrat yesterday, Christie has them scared. He said “Message wise making fun of Christie’s weight is the same as Romney’s 47% comments. And the progressive side of the Democratic Party hates fat people more than anyone else.” Then he pause and said if the dems run someone like Obama in 16 against Christie he’d think long and hard about voting Republican for the first time.
    This should be interesting:
    Christie can be the next president by doing one thing. If he loses a hundred pounds in 2 years he’ll impress every out of shape American and eliminate the progressive side of the Democratic Party.

  8. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Moss:

    You forgot the tax/revenue benefit.

  9. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Who knew that our entire debt/deficit problem could be solved by one man shedding 100 lbs. of fat?

    Who knew?

  10. The Window Washer says:

    Moss & Petey
    From Colorado:

    Marijuana legalization doesn’t do anything to move the needle on budget issues. It’s just the right thing to do.
    Long term it’s good for the institutionalization issue but the pension costs of law enforcement will suck up those funds at the same rate as the run down.

  11. James Cameron says:

    Generally, what receives a thumbs up affects someone else . . . the polling on defense spending eludes me . . . defense spending is filled with immense waste, forget the spending relative to that of other nations. In any event, at some point down the road most people will be giving up something whether they like it or not.

  12. AHodge says:

    as average respondant is inconsistent and not real smart at consequence followthrough
    you should ask
    “to reduce the deficit and the prospect of a debt crisis and possible loss of your job and savings
    should we …..”
    A
    b
    c
    d
    asking what medicine you want to take
    w/O saying what good it will do will get answers like these….
    they only like medicine for that guy over there

  13. rj chicago says:

    Basic addition and subtraction ought to be a requirement AGAIN in our public screwel system.
    Amazing this post by BR.

  14. AHodge says:

    ask
    we need to save X trillion
    we can do these things with a price list
    please supply your list that adds up?

  15. AtlasRocked says:

    I find a lot of conservatives and libertarians support a balanced budget amendment, but not many of the specific proposals.

    Votes in congress agree with this finding, Party Y voted heavily for, and Party X heavily against, a balanced budget:

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/1995/roll051.xml
    1995_BBA________FOR_____AGAINST
    PARTY Y_________228_______2
    PARTY X__________70_____128
    Senate, WHERE IT FAILED, all PARTY X’s but 1 against it:
    PARTY Y__________51______12
    PARTY X _________1_______34
    All but 25 PARTY X voted against the BBA in 2011.
    2011_BBA________FOR___AGAINST
    PARTY Y_________235_______4
    PARTY X _______25_____161

    When a party votes in such overwhelming numbers for a balanced budget, their constituency is strongly aligned on the idea.

  16. mad97123 says:

    I don’t understand why having the Federal Reserve just print the money is not on the list. Nobody seems to care one bit about that, and Wall Street loves it. It’s kind of like creating off-balance sheet debt that never has to be paid back since the Fed can do whatever it wants with no strings attached.

  17. BennyProfane says:

    I know it may sound unrelated at first, but, I’d like to see “How many want to see a banker or two put in jail?” added to that list. You know, before they take my Social Security and, you know, privatize it. Or, just eliminate it, you know, in the spirit of “shared sacrifice”. I’ll bet it gets the most yeas.

  18. The Window Washer says:

    Petey Whoops meant to post that under the morning reads,

  19. techy says:

    Are we now saying that majority of people are informed and educated??
    America maybe the only democracy where due to the fairy tale people aligning with the elites. People keep voting against their own benefits.
    Deficit only matters when democrats are in white house.

  20. BennyProfane says:

    @ The Window Washer

    I’m sure Christie has been told by many that his weight is a serious impediment to his presidential aspirations. He’s even talked about it a few times openly, and claimed that he was doing something about it. The fact that he looks even fatter than the day he was elected is not a good sign. He has a serious food addiction problem, which will soon manifest itself in nasty health issues, if not already, if he doesn’t drop at least a hundred pounds very soon. Seriously, not the kind of man I would elect to the White House, a job that robs years from the healthiest of men. Well, his VP running mate would require a lot of serious scrutiny from here, too, considering that Christie is a prime candidate for heart failure. One wonders if he can even handle the rigors of a modern campaign.

    That said, As a sort of liberal, I have been impressed by his leadership during the hurricane crisis, and obvious willingness to compromise his politics for the better good of the people of his state. I like that. I wish he would learn to control his temper around critics a bit more, though. We’ll see. Taking off a few might mellow him.

  21. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    The Window Washer Says:
    December 14th, 2012 at 1:44 pm
    Petey Whoops meant to post that under the morning reads,
    ____________

    it was in response to your comment, so maybe your comment should have been under morning reads.

    Oh well.

  22. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    WW:

    Missed the “Whoops.”

    No harm.

  23. Iamthe50percent says:

    I wonder how many surveyed realized that once you turn Social Security into a welfare program, “high income” becomes $14,400?

  24. mappo says:

    It’s interesting that the euphemism “defense” has so successfully replaced the term “military” that even entities that aren’t trying to spin still use it.

  25. VennData says:

    ROVE SAYS THIS IS BUNK, CHECK WHAT PEOPLE IN OHIO ARE SAYING.

    – Jack Welch

  26. GuinnessFan says:

    Given the understanding of the federal budget by the general population (and for most part the MSM) it’s certainly not surprising to see these results. Unfortunately if one tried to have a substantive explanation it would undoubtedly put the masses (probably including me) to sleep. Sadly we don’t have representatives with the fortitude to provide equitable solutions. “Kick the can” and blame the other guy / constituency is far easier.

    Interesting speculation about Chris Christie, but Marco Rubio is already the likely anointed one of the Republican party, barring some kind of Todd Akin moment or if he finally decides to specify the age of the earth incorrectly.

  27. 873450 says:

    Pity Poor Mitt Romney

    Mitt’s annual tax payment on $24 million income may go up $950,000 from $3.25 million (13.5%) to $4.20 million (17.5%).

    That works out to Mitt paying an additional $2,630 daily tax on his $65,753 daily income.

    Adding insult to Mitt’s injury, his wife’s $77,000 hobby horse expense may no longer qualify for a tax deduction.

    Poor Mitt may be forced to feed his family horse meat dog food.

  28. techy says:

    mad97123 : printing money is not a problem as long as deflation is a threat. Only if all the wealth and income were not cornered by 5%, we would not be in the current state. All they do is inflate assets not much of helping job creation.

  29. danm says:

    When talking about taxes, everyone seems to argue in terms of percentage of income when it should be collected on wealth…. how about taxing the 1% on their wealth above say 10 million and use the proceeds to fund health care.

  30. DeDude says:

    @danm;

    Great idea in particular if applied to corporate people. Those un-American corporations who refuse to recycle cash into the economy where it can get to work should instead lose it by a wealth tax used to fund infrastructure improvement. If they don’t want to spend it we the people can spend it for them – as long as it is not sitting idle and hurting the economy.

  31. johnester says:

    My highest priority cuts:

    education
    defense
    funding program for low income earners

    raise taxes on:
    capital gains

  32. steveh18 says:

    we could grow our way out of the deficit, but that’s so 20th Century

  33. newulm55 says:

    Generally, I dislike how the questions are framed… they are leading folk to believe we must spend the same amount to get the same service.

    If regulatory monopolies were removed in many case you could have the same of better services for less spend. For example, road improvement / building costs have greatly outpaced inflation, by removing davis bacon and “prevailing” the highest wages we could get a ton more for our dollars. Same with health care it has protections on drug and prices that would be ILLEGAL of not codified into law via exceptions.

    On the plus side nice to see reduction in military spending is getting greater acceptance, it about time we stop play cop to world. A 35% reduction over 5 year would be great w/out loosing any ability to DEFEND ourselves, but this would limit was of aggression.

  34. romerjt says:

    Christie can not RUN for president (kind of a play on words) at his weight because the campaign rigors would just be too much and how, if elected would he be able to say anything about health care?

    There is no real deficit / debt progress without changing Medicare, especially fee for service. Without considering patient outcomes and prevention the system just bleeds money.

    On taxes, we’re more like Greece where the tax collection / evasion process was as much a cause for the problem as spending only in our country it is disguised as taxing capital gains and dividends as something other than regular income and the tolerance of off-shore havens. “Carried interest”, give me a break (that is sort of another pun).

    As a matter of principle I would like to see everyone with income actually pay taxes. If they are too poor to eat, pay for day care, buy a house, send kids college or what ever, provide aid for that upfront and not through the tax system.

  35. beaufou says:

    No one really wants to do anything about it because those who actually could don’t represent the majority of the country (in more than one way).
    As Joe Friday pointed, if the majority of the population had profited so much from the deficits, how the hell do we still end up with 45 million people on food stamps and a disappearing middle class. We all know where the money went and goes but it’s class warfare to talk about it.
    The main reasoning these days is how to prosper personally in this crisis not fix anything important like…fixing the economy long term.

  36. rhkaplan says:

    Looked at the preliminary 2010 individual income tax data from the IRS http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Income-Tax-Returns and topic named Individual Income Tax Returns: Selected Income and Tax Items. If I understand the data, 142.8 million tax returns and 107.4 million with taxable income and 88.4 million with a tax liability. So instead of polling random Americans, how about only polling those who actually pay income taxes for all questions not related to Medicare and Social Security.

    Side note: For those with AGI over $250K, 2.7 million returns, $1.85 trillion in AGI out of $8.045 trillion in total AGI (23%) , paid $440.9 billion in income tax out of $986 billion in total income tax collected (44%).

    By the way, total defense outlays in FY2009 were $697 billion, peaked in FY 2010 at $721 billion, down a little in FY2011 to $717 billion and estimated to have been $677 billion in FY 2012. Eliminate all defense spending and your still $300 to $400 billion in the hole. Why didn’t the Dems slash Defense spending with their first budget in October 2009 and then in 2010??? Oh I forgot. All of us that are not as smart as all of the economists (who missed the budget financial disaster of their lifetime) don’t realize that government must spend and spend and spend to keep the economy out of recession. My bad.

    BR and fellow libs have complained about Bush – defense spending, unfunded wars, tax cuts…. Why did they give the Dems a free ride with Obama and his reckless spending.?

    Look at it another way, without Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, we could reduce taxes, and pay down the deficit. All depends on your perspective.

  37. James Cameron says:

    On the subject of deficits . . . Karl Rove loves his tax expenditures just as much as anyone else, as it turns out.

    “The group’s application for recognition as a social welfare nonprofit acknowledged that it would spend money to influence elections, but said “any such activity will be limited in amount, and will not constitute the organization’s primary purpose.

    “The tax code allows groups like Crossroads to spend money on political campaigns — and to keep their donors private — as long as their primary purpose is enhancing social welfare.

    “That statement of proposed activities does not seem to align with what they actually did, which was to raise and spend hundreds of millions to influence candidate elections,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, who reviewed the group’s application at ProPublica’s request.”

    Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Promised IRS It Would Spend ‘Limited’ Money on Elections

    http://goo.gl/VF7yL

  38. rd says:

    The biggest single problem of Grover Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes is that it has reduced discussion of a very complex set of issues into just a couple of bullet point talking points.

    The best single thing that could come out of the Fiscal Cliff would be the loss of power of Norquist so that rational discussions can be had with real compromise arising from them.

    If the pledge signers are adamant about not raising any taxes (although apparently revenue does not necessarily come from taxes even though it comes through taxes), then it is time to see specific recommendations on how to eliminate annual deficits through spending cuts. Let’s see what they are really preapred to cut.

  39. drtomaso says:

    Who else thinks the questions are ridiculous?

    Repeat after me- we do *not* need to reduce deficits. As with all questions about taking on debt, what must be asked is (a) can we afford to service this debt, and (b) what do we get for our debt?

    In this case, the answers are (a) yes and (b) a functioning economy and a lack of starving unemployed people. Money well spent in my mind.

    We only have a “debt crisis” (in 50 or so years, btw- lets see that in a clock on CNBC) if the explosion of health care inflation goes unchecked.

  40. AHodge says:

    or you could ask
    these are the main features of Simpson-Bowles
    (list the good things above it would do)

    do you support this?
    if not name the two measures you most dislike and why?
    i bet 75% would just say they support S-B
    it all depends on the ask…..
    you can get folks to agree(or disagree to dam near anything
    laid out the right way with the right adjectives and consequences.

  41. capitalistic says:

    Nobody is against reducing the deficit. But remember, there’s a large number of Americans dependent on social services, not because they’re slackers, but because they actually need these services. The best way to reduce the deficit is for more people working.

  42. Joe Friday says:

    rhkaplan,

    So instead of polling random Americans, how about only polling those who actually pay income taxes

    That’s goofy.

    BR and fellow libs have complained about Bush – defense spending, unfunded wars, tax cuts…. Why did they give the Dems a free ride with Obama and his reckless spending.?

    WHAT “reckless spending” ?

    Not only is non-defense discretionary spending during this administration at the lowest levels since Eisenhower was in office, but the massive federal deficits & debt was caused by a massive decline in federal income tax revenue as a result of the numerous rounds of tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited the Rich & Corporate enacted by Chimpy Bush and the Republican Congressional Majority.

    Look at it another way, without Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, we could reduce taxes, and pay down the deficit.

    Nonsense.

    * Social Security is self-financed and not part of the federal budget.

    * Half of Medicare is self-financed, and in general is far more efficient that the bloated for-profit inefficient private-sector healthcare industry it purchases medical care from.

    Not to mention, NONE of those three are the drivers of our current federal deficits & debt.

    All depends on your perspective.

    Or your lack of facts.

  43. HowardA says:

    Maybe this is too idealistic, but I think that the country would be closer to a consensus if the citizenry was better informed. There is too much political extremism on all sides. I am optimistic to believe that Obama is a reasonable person. Assuming he is in touch with the real issues, I would encourage him to give regular talks to better inform the citizenry. Possible topics: impact of demographic trends on the economy; generational change in distribution of incomes; historical effective tax rates at different income levels; sectors of the economy where prices have outpaced general inflation for a generation: health care, higher education, real estate (yes, despite recent correction); areas of government spending that have outpaced the growth of the economy: education spending, medical spending, military (not so much); actual cost of the “safety net” and potential adjustments. Obama is reputed to be a teacher, and he is a lame duck president, so it seems like an appropriate time for him to devote effort to make the populous better informed, hopefully in as un-political way as possible. Note that I listed topics that are favorites of BOTH the liberals and conservatives.

  44. Biffah Bacon says:

    @rexx18 I think this is factually untrue; even studies in primates show that there is a sense of fairness and balance that holds as long as each member feels like they are getting treated fairly. When it is obvious that there is gross inequality then there is disquiet in the ranks. If I failed at business as a worker I go home broke; if I fail at business as an executive/management I get to go home with the workers’ pension money as a bonus for my awesome performance.

    @Chris Christie-people don’t get that size because they are emotionally well balanced and healthy. That guy has issues and a lot of cognitive dissonance to hash out. GOP fighting for its soul between Southern Dixiecrats, cloth coat Republicans of the old order, and western welfare Objectivists.

  45. wrongtrade says:

    Amazing that 77% “disapprove” of reducing federal funding for education when education should not be funded at the federal level at all. We need to get back to the Constitution. Ron Paul and often Tea Party supporters often speak the truth and are mocked for it. I am saddened for our country when the truth seems absurd and can scarcely be uttered. Real solutions require such radical course corrections that policies to implement them are nonstarters.

  46. SecondLook says:

    A thought about how to educate the public about exactly are government expenditures:

    Some decades ago California used to have a small inventory tax, think of it as a form of property tax on certain assets.
    One of the consequences was that large retailer warehoused much of their inventory in neighboring states, mainly Nevada, and shipped in as needed; smaller retailers were, of course, stuck – but the tax was was quite small, so not that great a financial burden per se.
    The tax was eventually repealed, in part because the revenue was relatively slight, and in larger part because it was felt to be counter-productive in the long run.

    However, there was one, almost unique feature: California would send an annual statement out that itemized, to the penny, how each retailer’s inventory tax had been allocated specifically by the legislature (this revenue didn’t flow into general accounts, but was targeted to various programs).

    Imagine the Federal government (and States as well), sending to each taxpayer a similar statement. This is how much you paid for defense, for the national debt interest, the total contribution you and your employer paid towards SS, down to how much you paid for the prison system, farm subsidies, foreign aid – that last would be real eye opener, as most Americans seem to vastly overestimate how much is spent on foreign aid.

    It wasn’t difficult for California to do that back in the 60′s and 70′s, and nowadays it would be very easy for governments in general to implement.
    Why isn’t it done? I suspect because it would be too educational. Having a better informed electorate could create all sorts of problems…

  47. victor says:

    Everybody with a certain amount of general culture has or should have taken Latin, right, here we go, not trying to impress just a bit of “kultura”:

    BR: are you implying that “Vox populi vox Dei”? The voice of people is the voice of God?

    If so please be mindful of Alquin’s letter to Charlemagne (who was illiterate for much of his life btw) in the 8th century AD:

    Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.

    Translation, mercifully:

    And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.

    ~~~

    BR: No.

    Deficits are what the party out of power focuses on until they get back into power.
    Its an inside the beltway issue.

  48. Syd says:

    The most straightforward interpretation of these poll results is that the public wants tax increases, especially on high income households, not spending cuts. The PTB though (including Obama and many other Dems) seem to prefer spending cuts.

    I’d like to see investment income taxed the same as wage income, and much higher effective rates on those making more than $1M and $5M. I’d also like to see gradual but deep cuts to military spending, with the dollars shifted to domestic investments. (JamesC: I don’t get why the public supports our bloated, wasteful military budget either.)

    The relentless, decades-long push for cutting taxes comes from an influential minority, who continue to offer the same tired, discredited supply-side arguments Jack Kemp used back in the 80s. The Reagan and Bush Jr tax cuts did not lead to more financial security or prosperity for the majority, or sound investment. Rather, they led to ballooning income inequality and speculative bubbles.

  49. Joe Friday says:

    wrongtrade,

    Amazing that 77% ‘disapprove’ of reducing federal funding for education when education should not be funded at the federal level at all.

    Why ?

    John Adams wrote into the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

    It shall be the DUTY of the government to educate everybody“.

    The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the oldest written constitution in existence that is still in use in the world today. It was the model for the U.S. Constitution, and it’s objectives are embodied in our Preamble.

    We need to get back to the Constitution.

    That would mean only land-owning White men could vote.

  50. jbegan says:

    Odd… I looked several times and couldn’t find “More Jobs” anywhere on the list….More jobs equals more income and that reduces the necessity to hack the lively hood of Americans. I’d also suggest if people knew how much or Military Budget really was compared to the relatively small Medicare or Social Security (both of which are funded BTW), maybe they’d wake up to what really is killing us financially. It isn’t people that worked and paid into the system their whole lives..It’s our untouchable and over-fed military..Which I might add saves us from nothing. When did we last win a war? Hello-o-o-o? Hello-o-o-o? ..Bueller?

  51. wrongtrade says:

    Joe Friday, the tired argument (popularized on The View, by Whoopi Goldberg) that getting back to the Constitution “would mean only land-owning White men could vote” is a straw man. The Constitution is a revolutionary document that gave a foundation to the (formerly) greatest nation in the history of the world, for which visionaries risked their lives and fortunes. I know you are a thoughtful man, so don’t feign that you can’t put things in the proper context.

  52. Joe Friday says:

    wrongtrade,

    Joe Friday, the tired argument (popularized on The View, by Whoopi Goldberg)…

    Never seen the program, never heard her mention it, and a fact is not a “tired argument“.

    that getting back to the Constitution ‘would mean only land-owning White men could vote’ is a straw man.

    A) No, it’s a historical fact.

    B) You obviously do not comprehend the meaning of “Straw Man“.

    The Constitution is a revolutionary document that gave a foundation to the (formerly) greatest nation in the history of the world, for which visionaries risked their lives and fortunes. I know you are a thoughtful man, so don’t feign that you can’t put things in the proper context.

    I ain’t feignin’ nuthin’.

    Don’t use code words and then expect not to be called out on them. And you can’t have it both ways, you’re either using code words or you’re simply ignorant of the U.S. Constitution.

    Neither is very flattering.

  53. Joe Friday says:

    jbegan,

    To put that in context, almost two-thirds of every dollar one pays in federal income tax goes to just two places: the military industrial complex and interest on the Reagan/Poppy Bush/Chimpy Bush federal debt.

    The only so-called ‘Welfare State’ we got is the Corporate Welfare State.

  54. CSF says:

    Here are the facts you requested, Joe Friday, from the S.S.A.

    “The deficit of non-interest income relative to expenditures was about $49 billion in 2010 and $45 billion in 2011, and the Trustees project that it will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply as the economy slows after the recovery is complete and the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers.”

    You can count “interest income” if you want, but we both know that there’s nothing in the Social Security trust fund except IOUs, and to make good on those IOUs the Treasury needs to sell more debt to the public. And we both know that Medicare’s predicament is worse than Social Security’s, and both programs grow worse each year. No worries, of course, because the Fed will be buying all that newly issued debt….

  55. CSF says:

    Joe Friday, here is 2011 spending (% of GDP), from the Huff Post:

    SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, EITC, etc – 13.4%
    Military spending and interest on the debt – 6.2%
    Everything else – 4.3%

  56. Joe Friday says:

    CSF,

    You can count ‘interest income’ if you want

    Reference ?

    but we both know that there’s nothing in the Social Security trust fund except IOUs

    Don’t include me, as only fools believe “there’s nothing in the Social Security trust fund except IOUs“.

    and to make good on those IOUs the Treasury needs to sell more debt to the public

    Why is it that so many people have such trouble comprehending how a bond functions ?

    You care to explain how your scenario is any different than all the treasury securities held by mutual funds, banks, insurance companies, brokerage houses, pension funds, and ordinary Americans ?

    And we both know that Medicare’s predicament is worse than Social Security’s

    That’s not hard, as there is no “predicament” with Social Security.

    and both programs grow worse each year

    False.

    Social Security is just fine and the savings to Medicare with the enactment of the ACA extends the trust fund by almost a decade.

    here is 2011 spending (% of GDP), from the Huff Post

    Social Security is self-financed and not part of the federal budget. Half of Medicare is self-financed.

    Your offering up examples that are not funded out of general revenues, which is overwhelmingly funded by federal income tax revenue.

    Therefore, two-thirds of every dollar one pays in federal income tax goes to just two places: the military industrial complex and interest on the Reagan/Poppy Bush/Chimpy Bush federal debt.

  57. AnnaLee says:

    I wonder if the respondents thought the “rich” recipients of Social Security and Medicare had incomes over $200K ($250K for couples)? If the line items reflect the granularity of the questions, I wouldn’t assume the responses seriously reflect the opinions that would be gathered by more explicit questions. You would think an outfit as experienced a Pew would know better than to leave definitions in the eye of the beholder.

  58. philipat says:

    Isn’t that why Obama got re-elected. It;’s the “Tyranny of the majority” and we have passed the tipping point where a majority have realised thay can vote to achieve Government largesse which is unsustainable. This is how all Democracies (And Constitutional Republics) collapse.

  59. philipat says:

    Isn’t that why Obama got re-elected. It;’s the “Tyranny of the majority” and we have passed the tipping point where a majority have realised thay can vote to achieve Government largesse which is unsustainable. This is how all Democracies (And Constitutional Republics) collapse.

    The Democrats, as a result of lax immigration ploicy and tax policy have managed to achieve an indefinite Democratic Government with a “Progressive” society whereby the 1% and the Government in colusion (aka Fascism) and to a lesser extent the top 20% screw the middle 30% to carry the bottom 50%.

  60. Joe Friday says:

    philipat,

    You’re confused.

    The only “Government largesse” we have is with massive Corporate Welfare and to the wealthy.

    Our massive federal deficits & debt are primarily from the tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited the Rich & Corporate, and two of our largest expenditures are the Military Industrial Complex and Corporate Welfare.

  61. philipat says:

    @JF

    Your comments are not inconsistent with mine if you would read them carefully.

  62. CSF says:

    “You care to explain how your scenario is any different than all the treasury securities held by mutual funds, banks, insurance companies, brokerage houses, pension funds, and ordinary Americans ?”

    Sure. If I sell a U.S. Treasury on the open market there is no increase to the national debt, since the original government obligation was created when the bond was first issued. When Social Security sells it non-marketable securities to the Treasury in order to pay its obligations, the Treasury pays for this transaction by selling an equal amount of new debt to the public. This increases the national debt on a one-for-one basis.

    You say Social Security is self-financed. The Social Security Administration says that the operating deficit will average 66 billion per year from 2012-1018, rising steeply after that point due to unfavorable demographics. These deficits add to the national debt each year as intra-governmental debt becomes public debt. The solutions are simple: means test, delay the retirement age, or recalculate the COLAs.

    By all means cut the Defense budget. But understand that the defense budget is presently only 1/3 the size of Social Security, Medicare, and the rest (see my earlier post for the #s).

    As for which tax pays for what, who cares? I can’t possibly keep track of all the taxes and user fees: Income, FICA, Medicare, Property, Sales, Fuel, Alcohol, and dozens of user fees. I give about half my income to several different governments, and they spend the money on different programs and services. What counts is national income, tax revenue, and spending. Hopefully the taxes are fair and transparent with the incentives targeted in product ways.

  63. CSF says:

    From the 2012 SSA Annual Report (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/index.html)

    “Lawmakers should not delay addressing the long-run financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare. If they take action sooner rather than later, more options and more time will be available to phase in changes so that the public has adequate time to prepare. Earlier action will also help elected officials minimize adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, including lower-income workers and people already dependent on program benefits.”

  64. Joe Friday says:

    CSF,

    Sure. If I sell a U.S. Treasury on the open market there is no increase to the national debt

    Eh, ALL treasury securities will be redeemed at some point.

    Try again.

    You say Social Security is self-financed.

    No, federal statute states Social Security is self-financed.

    The Social Security Administration says that the operating deficit will average 66 billion per year from 2012-1018, rising steeply after that point due to unfavorable demographics.

    The actuaries state the system is solvent through 2085, and they only do 75-year forecasts.

    By all means cut the Defense budget. But understand that the defense budget is presently only 1/3 the size of Social Security, Medicare, and the rest

    Gibberish.

    (see my earlier post for the #s)

    See my earlier response.

    From the 2012 SSA Annual Report

    As I’ve previously delineated here in prior threads, all of the trustees appointed by the Chimpy Bush administration advocated scrapping Social Security before they were appointed. Their pronouncements and projections have shown to be consistently wrong.