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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Walter F. Mondale was the last true deficit hawk

Americans like the idea of cutting spending rather than raising taxes, but we prefer not to cut any government program we like, which accounts for most of the budget.  See this recent CNN poll:
For each of the following federal spending categories, is it more important to make progress on reducing the deficit, or is it more important to prevent significant cuts to each of the following programs:
Program Reduce it for
deficit reduction
Avoid significant
reductions in this one
Medicare 18% 81%
Medicaid 29 70
Social Security 21 78
Unemployment ben’s 31 68
Defense/military 50 49
Welfare spending 56 44
Veterans benefits 14 85
Education 25 75
Govt pensions 61 39
Roads/mass transit 39 61
Foreign aid 81 18

Foreign aid, by the way, represents less than one half of one percent of federal spending. Depending on how you group programs, the other ten categories that CNN tested are the ten costliest categories.
The pie chart to the right validates Black's assessment of budget categories.

Since we can't agree what to cut, then the honest thing to do is raise taxes to pay for what we want.  And the last politician to be straight with America about taxes was Walter F. Mondale, in a presidential debate in 1984:
Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did.
And regarding Reagan, he was right.  Reagan signed several tax increases in his first term.  It was the right thing to do.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Why is social security ever spoken in the same breath as the deficit?