News Columns & Blogs

Congressmen, public want pain-free deficit reduction

Though reducing the federal deficit was one of the biggest concerns during this past election, the co-chairmen of President Obama's deficit-reduction commission are having trouble getting much support for their proposal from other commission members, particularly those who are members of Congress. The public also opposes most of the specific spending cuts and tax changes proposed, according to a CNN poll. By large margins, those surveyed said that avoiding cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, college loans, and aid to farmers and unemployed workers was more important than reducing the deficit. Those surveyed also overwhelmingly opposed eliminating the mortgage-interest deduction or increasing the federal gasoline tax. "When you put it all together," noted Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, "you're left with the real problem: Americans' preferences for spending and preferences for taxes don't add up."