For nearly four-out-of-five U.S. voters, the problem is not their unwillingness to pay taxes. It’s their elected representatives’ refusal to cut the size of government.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of voters say the bigger problem in the United States is the unwillingness of politicians to control government spending. Just 14% say the problem is that voters are unwilling to pay enough in taxes, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
These findings parallel results in California just before voters there rejected several ballot initiatives aimed at raising taxes. After that vote on Tuesday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested the state might need federal financial help, but voters nationwide oppose any bailouts for California and other economically troubled states.
Just 28% of all voters say, generally speaking, that increases in government spending help the economy, down seven points from February. Fifty-three percent (53%) now believe spending increases hurt the economy, and seven percent (7%) say they have no impact.
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 61% of unaffiliated voters believe increased government spending hurts the economy. Democrats tend to hold the opposite view--49% of those in Barack Obama’s party think more government spending is good for the economy, while just 27% say it hurts.
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As is frequently the case, the gap between Mainstream America and the Political Class on the question is wider than that between political parties. While 90% of Mainstream Americans see the bigger problem as a failure to cut government spending, the Political Class is evenly divided over whether voters or politicians are more to blame.
When it comes to the economic impact of increased government spending, the Political Class is once again out of step with the rest of the nation--83% of the Political Class believes such spending helps the economy.
Most voters believe that tax cuts are good for the economy. When Congress was wrestling with the president’s $787-billion economic stimulus plan in early February, 62% of voters said the plan should include more tax cuts and less government spending.
In fact, 52% of voters now believe they pay more than their fair share of taxes.However, 54% of the Political Class disagree.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans had a favorable opinion of last month’s “tea parties,” while just 33% disapproved.
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