Congress and Spending

April 04, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

Americans want government spending cut: 84% favor that, though many would not go as far as some Congressional Republicans who favor cutting $100 billion from the current budget. But, like Congress, those interviewed in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll continue to have a hard time deciding exactly what to cut to do that.

47% would cut $100 billion, and 37% would cut somewhat less than that.

The President’s budget does NOT cut spending on education, clean energy technologies, medical research, high speed rail and providing high speed internet to almost all U.S. households. Americans are willing to cut the latter two. High-speed rail improvements would help only some Americans, and many respondents probably already have high-speed connections. But many would increase spending on the other three.

President Obama has submitted a budget that freezes spending on most discretionary Federal programs (not making any changes to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security), reduces spending or even eliminates about 200 Federal programs, but protects Federal spending on a few priorities, such as:

• Education
• Clean energy technologies
• Medical research
• High-speed rail transportation
• High-speed internet connections to almost all U.S. households

Which if any, should have their budgets [cut]/ [maintained or increased]? Please check all that apply.

Cut Maintained or increased




Clean energy technologies



Medical research



High-speed rail transportation



High-speed internet connections to almost all U.S. households



None of the above



As for Congress itself, Americans don’t see much action: just 11% say it has accomplished more than usual in its first three months; three times as many say it has accomplished less than usual. Hardly any have a lot of confidence in either party’s Congressional leadership. And when it comes to evaluating Congress overall, just 13% approve. Republicans are only a little happier: 23% of them approve of how Congress is handling its job. Nearly half of Republicans disapprove.

Photo source: flickr ( seanmcmenemy )

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