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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira: Public, Conservatives at Odds on Cuts

Conservatives are about to launch their full-court press on budget cuts. But their problem is, the cuts they want are the diametrical opposites of the cuts the public supports, — and vice versa. As TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira explains in his latest ‘Public Opinion Snapshot’:

…Their proposed cuts leave the military largely untouched while taking a meat axe to nonmilitary discretionary spending–that is, spending on areas such as education, energy, the environment, and poverty. As usual, conservative priorities are backward when compared to public opinion.
In a fascinating new survey the Program for Public Consultation conducted, respondents were asked to make their own cuts (or increases) to a projected discretionary budget for the year 2015 with a $625 billion deficit. The top three areas for cuts were defense ($109 billion average cut), intelligence agencies ($13 billion), and Iraq/Afghanistan ($13 billion)–the very areas conservatives are going light on.

As for the budget items the conservatives want to eviscerate,

On the other hand, the public wanted to see spending increases in a number of other areas. The top four areas for increases are exactly the kinds of programs conservatives are ready to cut deeply in their current antispending frenzy: job training ($5 billion average increase), higher education ($5 billion), renewable energy ($3 billion), and elementary and secondary education ($3 billion).

It looks like Democrats who hold the line on social spending while cutting the military budget will be on solid ground with their constituents, while conservatives who stand for the reverse will have some explaining to do.

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