Friday, April 9, 2010

Cutting the Deficit

Suddenly, everyone is a deficit hawk. It's mostly those who supported the last administration's budgetary strategy of cutting taxes for the rich and spending tons of cash for wars and things, but nearly everyone agrees that lowering our debt load is crucial to sustained economic growth.

Perhaps we could just pay back China with slugs coated in lead.

Kevin Drum points to one of the common disconnects encountered when people are asked to provide areas where spending reductions make sense. As it turns out, everyone wants to cut expenditures, but few are willing to pull the financial trigger.


As you can see, there wasn't one single area that even a third of the country wanted to cut back on. Except — hold on there! Down in the middle of the table. There is one area that everyone's willing to trim: foreign aid. Good 'ol foreign aid. A category that, as Roger McShane dryly points out, "makes up less than 1% of America's total spending."

Beyond that, there were only four areas that even a quarter of the population is willing to cut: mass transit, agriculture, housing, and the environment. At a rough guess, these areas account for about 3% of the federal budget. You could slash their budgets by a third and still barely make a dent in federal spending.

Where are the tea baggers when you need them?

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