Americans Stand By Spending Cuts In Upcoming Budget Battles

September 4, 2013

Public Notice is out with a new poll this morning and despite the horror stories coming from Washington, Americans are not only standing by the bipartisan spending cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011, they also want more cuts conditional on any increase to the debt limit.  This is notable because that’s exactly where the lines are going to be drawn when Congress gets back in town.  Here are the key takeaways:


On the sequester:

  • Just 27% of voters report having been impacted by the sequester, while a majority (70%) have not.
  • A majority (61%) of voters support keeping in place the bipartisan spending limits put in place from the Budget Control Act.  Just 28% support abandoning the 2011 agreement and agreeing to a combination of spending and tax increases.
  • Voters believe cutting spending is good for the economy.  Given the opportunity to identify what helps and hurts the economy, majorities of Americans believe that the economy is harmed by increasing government spending (69%) and the nation’s debt (84%).


On the debt ceiling:

  • When it comes to the debt limit, a majority (58%) thinks that dollar-for-dollar cuts as part of a debt ceiling deal is just right or not enough spending cuts (34% say the cuts would be just right and 24% say the cuts are too little).  That’s almost six in ten who think an increase in the debt ceiling should be accompanied by at least dollar-for-dollar cuts.  Just 32% of voters say that dollar-for-dollar cuts as part of a debt ceiling deal are too much.


So, even after the spending cuts this summer, Americans think we can cut back even more.  What’s also significant is they view spending cuts as good for the economy, while increasing spending and adding to the national debt will hurt. They’re right.  Here’s what the CBO says:


JULY 2013“Although output would be greater and employment higher in the next few years if the spending reductions under current law were reversed, that policy would lead to greater federal debt, which would eventually reduce the nation’s output and income below what would occur under current law. Moreover, boosting debt above the amounts projected under current law would diminish policymakers’ ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected future challenges and would increase the risk of a fiscal crisis (in which the government would lose the ability to borrow money at affordable interest rates).” 


As the debate in Washington takes shape, it will be important to keep in mind what Americans outside the beltway think about government spending.  We’ve heard the arguments for the last two years and concern for our debt and deficits has only grown.  After years of trillion dollar deficits, the times have changed.


As lawmakers begin to draw lines in the sand, this poll shows that fiscal responsibility is still the winning message.  Click here for the full breakdown of the poll results.

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