POST Online Media Lite Edition


Republicans and Democrats agree on deficit cut, don't like increase on defense

Staff writer |
A new survey finds majorities of Republicans and Democrats agreeing on cuts in spending and increases in revenues that would reduce the projected deficit by $52 billion.

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Neither Democratic nor Republican voters favor increases in spending on national defense.
In the in-depth "Citizen Cabinet" survey, respondents were presented the President's FY 2016 budget and sources of general revenues, and then given the opportunity to propose their own federal budget.

The probability-based online sample included nearly 7,000 registered voters, with subsamples for California, Florida, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. The results were released by Voice Of the People.

"Many members of Congress are quick to blame the public when they fail to make hard choices," said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland's Program for Public Consultation and the survey's director.

"However this in-depth survey shows that voters in both parties can make hard choices and that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground."

Majorities converged on $10 billion in spending cuts including cuts to subsidies to agricultural corporations ($3 billion), the space program ($1 billion), and cuts of $1 billion each to defense intelligence, operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, military aid, the State Department, aid to countries of strategic interest, and enforcement of Federal laws. No spending areas were increased by majorities from both parties.

The biggest deficit reductions came from revenue increases totaling $41.9 billion.

Sixty-five percent approved of a 5 percent increase in income taxes on income over $200k including 52 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents, yielding $34.1 billion in deficit reduction.

Seventy-six percent approved of taxing carried interest like ordinary income – repealing the special tax treatment that has benefited hedge fund managers – including 74 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents. This would yield $1.8 billion.

Seventy-seven percent approved of requiring large financial institutions (roughly the 100 largest firms) paying a fee of seven-tenths of a percent on their uninsured debt, including 67 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents, generating $6 billion.

Additional revenue increases totaling $28.4 billion were recommended by majorities overall, by Democrats and independents, and by half of Republicans.

These included another proposal from the President's FY 2016 budget to raise the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends from 23.8 to 28 percent (65 percent overall, 80 percent Democrats, 50 percent Republicans) yielding $22 billion in deficit reduction.

Increasing the alcohol tax to 25 cents per ounce was endorsed by 56 percent (Democrats 62 percent, Republicans 50 percent), yielding $6.4 billion.

While both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are planning for increases in spending on national defense, neither Democratic nor Republican voters favored such increases.

The majority overall, including Democrats and independents reduced it $38 billion while Republicans reduced it $1 billion.

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