Neither the budget plan of the House of Representatives or the Obama administration reflect the priorities of the majority of Americans, according to a study by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation.
The study [PDF] found that the public supports deep cuts to the defense budget, but is in favor of increased spending on job training, education and environmental regulations. In addition, the public showed a greater readiness than the House or the Obama administration to reduce overall spending and increase taxes.
“Clearly both the administration and the Republican-led House are out of step with the public’s values and priorities in regard to the budget,” University of Maryland School of Public Policy researcher Steven Kull, who conducted the study, said. “Our respondents would more than double funding for job training and cut deeply on defense.”
In the study, a representative sample of 793 Americans were presented with the discretionary budget and allowed to make changes. Researchers at the University of Maryland then compared the results with the budget proposals of the House and Obama administration.
In contrast to Obama’s proposal to increase defense spending by four percent and the House’s proposal to increase it by two percent, those surveyed proposed cutting defense spending an average of 18 percent.
On average, those surveyed also cut overall federal spending by $146 billion, more than either the House or Obama administration, and increased revenues by $292 billion.
According to the survey, 61 percent of Americans prefer increasing taxes on the wealthy as the first step to balancing the budget. By comparison, only 20 percent chose the second-most popular option — cutting defense spending.
According to the independent Moody’s Analytics, the Republican budget proposal to sharply cut federal spending would cost 700,000 jobs through 2012.
The numbers challenge the GOP’s philosophy that government spending cuts help create jobs and grow the economy, a view that puts the party at odds with Democrats.
Eric W. Dolan
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