Americans Want Politicians to Tackle Debt

August 27, 2015


A new poll by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation finds that 80 percent of Americans think that rising federal debt should be a top priority of policymakers. The poll also finds that:

… an overwhelming majority of voters (85%) are now calling for the President and Congress to spend more time addressing our nation’s long-term fiscal future. More than two-thirds (68%) say their concern about this vital issue has increased over the last few years, including nearly one-half (46%) who say it has increased “a lot.” Majorities of voters across party lines, including 53% of Democrats, 69% of Independents, and 84% of Republicans, say that their concerns about the debt have deepened in recent years.

The spokesman for the Peterson Foundation said that Americans “…want candidates to put forward plans to address our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges … Americans understand that putting our fiscal house in order is vital to ensure a growing, prosperous economy and are calling for more action from their leaders.” I agree with that, and so does the centrist group “First Budget,” which is trying to pin down candidates on fiscal specifics.

Presidential candidates should propose specific plans to cut spending. Spending cuts are good economics, and they are also good politics, at least for Republican candidates. So it is disappointing how few of them have proposed budget plans so far, let alone discussed overspending and rising debt in any detail.

Candidates interested in fiscal reform can start with these proposed cuts. A particularly good target for reforms would be terminations of state aid programs, as Emily Ekins and I discuss here.

The full Peterson poll results are here.

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