2 Different Approaches to Deficit Reduction

In order to reduce the deficit, conservatives want to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits and keep tax cuts for the rich. The public doesn’t like that plan.

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It seems conservatives’ first approach to reducing the deficit is going after Social Security and Medicare. And their very last approach is getting rid of tax breaks for the rich. But it’s always worth pointing out how diametrically opposed this is to the public’s approach.

A recent Washington Post/Kaiser poll asked respondents their views on various ways of reducing the deficit. By an overwhelming 65-33 margin, they favored raising taxes on households earning $250,000 or more as a way of reducing the deficit.

But respondents’ views were quite different on reducing Social Security or Medicare benefits. They opposed these approaches to deficit reduction by an 82-17 margin and a 77-21 margin respectively.

Figure 2

The public’s views could not be clearer: Tax cuts for the rich are on the table; cutting Social Security and Medicare are not. End of story.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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