Wednesday, July 07, 2010

This Is Not Surprising, But Will Washington LIsten?

As regular visitors to this site may know, I'm not a big fan of polls. But sometimes, they do state the obvious, and since so many people in politics and government seem to thrive on them, we can only hope they'll pay attention to this one:
Most Americans would not pay higher taxes for specific public services in their states, but they are more supportive of paying for education and staffing law enforcement than supporting state employees and entitlement programs.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults shows that only 19% would be willing to pay higher taxes to avoid layoffs of state employees. Sixty-nine percent (69%) say they would not be willing to pay more in taxes for this reason. Another 11% are undecided.

Adults feel similarly when it comes to funding entitlement programs. Twenty-two percent (22%) would pay higher taxes to prevent cuts in entitlement programs for low-income Americans. Sixty-three percent (63%) say they would not pay more to keep these programs afloat. Another 15% are undecided.

Americans are slightly less opposed to paying higher taxes for education. Thirty-four percent (34%) say they are willing to pay higher taxes to provide funding for public education, but 54% say they are not. Another 12% aren’t sure.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they are willing to pay higher taxes to increase the number of police and firemen in their communities. Still, 52% say they would not be willing to do so. Another 10% are not sure.
As always, we have no idea how the questions were framed in this survey. But the part where only 19% would be willing to pay higher taxes to avoid layoffs of state employees is telling, and it's unfortunate that only police and firefighters are cited. I'd be willing to bet that many people, when confronted with the phrase "layoffs of state employees," aren't thinking of police and firefighters--they're thinking of bureaucrats, many of whom absolutely should be laid off, and those who remain should have their salaries cut by 15% as an additional cost-cutting measure. (And let's not limit this to state employees, either; those at the federal level should be the first to go.) Many people in the private sector are feeling the pain of the recession right now, but it appears that many public employees are still getting fat and happy on our dime, and enough is enough; they need to feel the pinch as well. Why is this option never brought up when cost-cutting measures are proposed?

Many of us don't want the amount of government we have right now; even fewer of us truly need it, and none of us can afford it. It's time for someone to muster the political courage to let the budget axe swing freely in this area.

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