The Spending Problem

by Andrew Stiles

As most Republicans know all too well, when it comes to the federal budget, the country’s problem is not that we spend too much, but also the American public’s consistent aversion to real cuts to real programs. A Pew poll released Friday is just the latest of its kind to illustrate this stubborn reality, and while it would be wrong read too much into these findings, they are certainly worth a look.

Out of the 19 federal programs identified in the poll, respondents said the government should spend less money on just one: “aid to the world’s needy.” Majorities preferred an increase in spending on education (60 percent) and veterans’ benefits (53 percent), and a plurality (38 percent) said spending on health care should increase, with the consensus on other programs such as Medicare, Social Security, defense, and unemployment aid being that spending should stay the same.

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