Pew recently released the results of a survey in which respondents were asked whether they would increase, decrease, or maintain current spending levels across 19 different expenditure categories if they were writing up the federal government's budget. The following table shows the public appetite for spending increases (decreases) by category, computed by simply taking the percentage of respondents who indicated they would increase spending in an indicated area and subtracting from it the percentage who said they'd decrease it (and letting be the percentage who wanted to keep it the same). The first numerical column shows the broader public's predilections. The three subsequent columns show results by partisan affiliation:
|Spending up (down) on...||Total||Rep||Dem||Ind|
|Natural disaster relief||22||3||33||21|
|Roads and infrastructure||21||7||25||27|
|Aid to needy in the US||3||(40)||30||3|
Statism is alive and well in the US. Combined spending for unemployment benefits, the state department, and foreign aid--the three areas for which there is more desire for attrition than accretion--constituted less than 5% of all federal government spending in 2012. While there is some aversion to sending our pooled money overseas, the masses want it gathered up and spread around by a federal apparatus at home.
Even self-identified Republicans want spending increases in more areas than they want decreases, and more importantly, in the three gargantuan spending categories--social security, defense, and medicare--they want the federal government to spend more, not less, than it's currently spending. In 1980, Reagan's platform included abolishing the department of education. Today, only one in ten Americans (and barely one in seven Republicans!) say they'd like to see federal spending on education cut, let alone abolished entirely.
Leviathan loves the tacit agreement between Demopublicans and Republicrats to allow for increases in
I'm not qualified to proffer financial advice, but every day that passes sees me becoming more and more satisfied with the investment strategy I've been employing for the last few years--buying gold and silver, exclusively. In retrospect, I wish I would've started when I hit legal adulthood in 2002. Better late than never, though, I guess.