The Public and the Deficit: Consensus in Principle, Resistance in Practice

The Public and the Deficit: Consensus in Principle, Resistance in Practice

In many respects, there is a broad public consensus when it comes to the federal budget deficit: seven-in-ten say it is a major problem that must be addressed right away, and roughly two-thirds say that the best way to reduce the deficit is through a combination of cutting major government programs and increasing taxes. These views cross partisan lines, with majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents saying we must deal with it now, and that the best approach involves both program cuts and tax increases.

Yet this general consensus evaporates when concrete deficit reduction proposals are tested. And the Bowles-Simpson commission's effort to package spending cuts and tax increases into a comprehensive package has met with far more public opposition than support. Among those who have heard of the deficit commission's proposal, 48% disapprove and just 30% approve.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5 among 1,500 adults, finds that most of the major deficit reduction proposals under discussion meet with public disapproval. Particularly unpopular are provisions that would tax the health insurance people receive from their employers (72% disapprove), raise the national gasoline tax (74% disapprove), and reduce federal funding to states for things like education and roads (71% disapprove).

Read the full report, Deficit Solutions Meet With Public Skepticism on the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press Web site.

National Homeownership Month

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.