Public Supports Increased Spending in Key Areas

It’s not just taxes. A large part of the current fiscal showdown in Washington, D.C. is the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that will occur if Congress can’t come to an agreement to avoid sequestration. The public, however, doesn’t want cuts—they want spending to actually go up in key areas.

In a postelection Democracy Corps Economy Media Project poll, the public supported:

  • Spending $55 billion over the next three years on rehiring teachers and modernizing schools (65 percent to 30 percent)
  • Enacting a one-year, $53 billion tax rebate for low- and middle-income households to offset the expiring payroll tax cuts (56 percent to 33 percent)
  • Restoring 99 weeks of emergency unemployment benefits over the next three years (52 percent to 41 percent)
  • Investing $234 billion in infrastructure, along with creating an infrastructure bank (51 percent to 43 percent)

Conservatives may be allergic to spending on the unemployed and our social needs but the public clearly is not. Let’s hope conservative policymakers in our nation’s capital remember that fact as the fiscal showdown heats up.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.