Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, February 28, 2010 9:33 pm

And Congress is a bunch of crooks, but MY congresscritter is OK.

Filed under: More fact-based arguing, please — Lex @ 9:33 pm

Conservatives aren’t nearly as opposed to government spending as they say they are (or as the media think). At least, in the anonymity of a poll, that’s what they’re telling pollsters.

In 2008, the American National Election Study asked some people who identified themselves either as “conservative” or as “very conservative” whether they’d be in favor of cutting or eliminating federal spending on 12 programs, most of which usually are thought to be popular targets for conservative anti-spending types. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the least popular program was child care, with 75% of conservatives opposing cuts or elimination of spending for it. Even higher percentages opposed spending on the other programs:

So if large majorities of Americans favor spending on all these programs, can we please be mature grownups and talk rationally and intelligently and honestly about how we’re going to pay for them? Here’s a hint: bailouts for bankers, tax cuts for billionaires and a defense budget larger than the rest of the world’s combined aren’t going to do it.

UPDATE: This Jonathan Rausch article makes basically the same point:

[L]ike Wallace and his supporters 40 years ago, today’s conservative populists are long on anger and short on coherence. For Wallace, small-government rhetoric was a trope, not a workable agenda. The same is true of his Republican heirs today, who insist that spending cuts alone, without tax increases, will restore fiscal balance but who have not proposed anywhere near enough spending cuts, primarily because they can’t.

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