Bad news for the Third Way, Fix the Debt, Kick the Can and all the other Wall Street and Pete Peterson-funded "think tanks" out there: they still haven't convinced the American public that the deficit is more important than, well, the American public and its well-being. The latest evidence comes from Pew.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 3-8 among 2,001 adults, finds majorities say it is more important to maintain spending on Social Security and Medicare and programs to help the poor than to take steps to reduce the budget deficit. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) say it is more important to maintain current Social Security and Medicare benefits than to reduce the deficit, while 59% prioritize keeping current levels of spending for programs that help the poor and needy over deficit reduction.Furthermore, if we really do need to cut the deficit, the public has strong ideas about how to do just that:
There is greater public support for cutting military spending in order to achieve deficit reduction. About half of Americans (51%) say reducing the deficit is more important than keeping military spending at current levels, while 40% say deficit reduction is more important.There are partisan divides when it comes to helping the needy: 84 percent of Democrats prioritize it, but 55 percent of Republicans say deficit reduction is more important than people being able to, you know, eat, have clothing, shelter. I know, you're shocked.
But when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, everyone agrees: "majorities of Democrats (79%), independents (66%) and Republicans (62%) say it is more important to continue current spending levels for Social Security and Medicare than to take steps to reduce the budget deficit." Yeesh, Third Way can't even convince Republicans. They've also failed in fomenting generational warfare: "On entitlements, the youngest Americans (ages 18-29) prioritize maintaining Social Security and Medicare benefits over deficit reduction by a 61%-30%."
What all of these D.C.- and Wall Street-centric organizations fail to realize, over and over and over again, is that the vast majority of the American people is invested in this country and in the well-being of their fellows. We're far more generous and expansive than the cynical deficit-hawks give us credit for. Smarter, too.