(Politico) Poll shows Americans confused by budget

Americans have no idea where the federal government spends its money, a new poll suggests.

Among likely voters surveyed late last month by the Tarrance Group, “[t]here are widespread misperceptions about the state of the federal budget,” the Republican pollsters concluded. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said they believe the federal government spends more on defense and foreign aid than it does on Medicare and Social Security. In fiscal 2010, spending for those two social programs totaled more than $1.1 trillion, while the Pentagon’s budget was about $660 billion and the State Department’s total spending was just under $52 billion.

A majority of those surveyed by Tarrance also have “incorrect” views on how to cut the federal deficit, with 60 percent saying the federal budget’s problems can be ameliorated by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. The Government Accountability Office on Tuesday released a report detailing several billion dollars’ worth of “duplication” in government spending that could be cut. But even if the totals reach the tens of billions of dollars, they would still be a drop in the bucket of President Barack Obama’s proposed $3.73 trillion in spending for fiscal 2012.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

10 comments on “(Politico) Poll shows Americans confused by budget

  1. Capt. Father Warren says:

    And I would guess a vast majority of Americans will never ever be particularly educated about the Federal Govt Budget.

    But, it would be exceedingly easy to educate them about their participation in our bloated, inefficient, and unconstitutional Federal Govt and to build support for cutting that Govt down to the size it should be at.


    Abolish income tax and FICA withholding.

    Force people to send a monthly check to the IRS for income taxes and FICA out of their gross earnings…….like we used to before WWII.

    Let them see, experience, and inwardly digest the import of what they send in and what little they seem to get in return. Then let them start participating in the process to cut the Govt down to size.

  2. BlueOntario says:

    [blockquote]what little they seem to get in return[/blockquote]
    Sometimes that’s just as misperceived as the views on the budget. Now, I’m not going to say there isn’t some stupid stuff we spend money on. But it’s also true that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and things Americans take for granted today without even knowing who does them or how they are paid for may be sorely missed when they are dead and gone.
    There’s a saying about babies and bathwater that would good to remember.

  3. Paul PA says:

    Seems to me we would be a whole lot better off with lower federal spending and taxes and higher state/local spending and taxes. What would happen if education was only a state program? What about medicaid? What about roads? Since the red states – in general – send more of their $ to the feds than they get back they would be happy and since the blue states like smaller federal government they would be happy. it seems like a win -win….other than no one likes to give up the power they have

  4. MarkP says:

    “Since the red states – in general – send more of their $ to the feds than they get back they would be happy and since the blue states like smaller federal government they would be happy.”

    I think you’ve reversed your reds and blues here. Blue (Democratic leaning) states send more of their $ to the feds than they get back and Red (Republican leaning) states say they like smaller federal government. That said, interesting point.

  5. graydon says:

    Years ago my father was teaching me about budgeting. The first step was to simply understand where you spent your money. That is not just informational, but also reveals your values: what you commit money toward is what you value. Said another way, say what you want about what’s important, but if you are not willing to spend money on it, you’re fooling yourself. We will never come to grips with federal and state spending until we understand where we currently stand.

  6. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Coincidentally, I don’t think Congressmen are all that particularly educated about it either. Therein lies the problem.

  7. Capt. Father Warren says:

    [i]things Americans take for granted today without even knowing who does them or how they are paid for may be sorely missed when they are dead and gone[/i]

    At the top of that list will be the Departments of Education and Energy. Those will leave big holes in our lives for sure. And don’t forget all that money to the United Nations, that would bring tears to our hearts, yes?

    Other than national defense, national infrastructure, and border protection (as it is), and the Coast Guard, what is it that the Fed Govt does that each state could not elect to do on its own or not do as its people decide.

    The biggest problem is our out of control entitlement programs. They are unsustainable. We can either fix the problems now with some predictable pain that folks can prepare for, or we can wait for the system to collapse. That will probably be painful also.

  8. BlueOntario says:

    People like their services and even have grown dependent on some of the bureaucracy. I have no love for the Department of Education, but pulling it’s hand out of education all at once is going to leave a vacuum that will be filled with whining, and not just by the Left. Lots of voting Soccer Moms are looking forward to having a nice, neat process to prove their Jack and Jill are college prepared and better than the Joneses, and No Child Left Untested fills that role. Just expect the howl when it hits.
    Also, since we are considering major reductions in outlays to agencies responsible for national defence, national infrastructure, border protection (well, maybe not as big cuts) and the Coast Guard (which fits two or three of the other catagories), I think folks will notice some changes from those, too. And, I think there’s probably a baby in there, somewhere.

    I just wish someone had the sense to control the entitlement programs, that would take the pressure of some of the other areas; but, we’re going after the low-hanging fruit.

  9. Capt. Father Warren says:

    [i]I just wish someone had the sense [read; GUTS] to control the entitlement programs[/i]

    And here is why they should, but so far they won’t


    Next to Entitlements, add the words, “sacred cows”

  10. Larry Morse says:

    This is why true tax reform is necessary. We shouldn’t HAVE to understand a federal budget. The towns should tax their residents; the states should then tax the municipalities; and the US government should then tax the states. This would remove the IRS from a position at the right hand of God and limit its functions to reviewing the tax forms from 50 states. Larry