Despite all the talk about Americans' appreciation for limited government, a new CNN poll finds that they have little appetite for spending cuts to actual programs that would be necessary to reduce the deficit.
The poll gave respondents a list of government programs and asked whether they would prefer to reduce the deficit, or prevent significant cuts to the programs. The response was discouraging: 79 percent said they'd prefer avoiding cuts to Medicare; 69 percent said the same about Medicaid; 78 percent on Social Security; 61 percent wanted to preserve aid to farmers; 65 percent said that about college loans; and 61 percent about unemployment assistance.
The only programs in which a majority favored cuts were funding to the arts, salaries and benefits for federal employees and "welfare programs in general." Defense spending was closely divided, with 49 percent wanting to prevent cuts, and 48 percent willing to cut defense to reduce the deficit.
As I noted in a pie chart recently, if you take entitlements and defense spending off the table, that makes 83 percent of the federal budget untouchable.
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