Jul 16, 2011

Gallup asks a stupid question

If they asked me, how the hell would I know what they mean by "spending cuts" and "tax increases"? They don't specify the baseline (status quo). Is letting the Bush tax cuts expire a "tax increase"? Is not doing another "doc fix" (or doing a partial one) a "spending cut"? Asking such a vague question almost guarantees that everyone who understands it will refuse to answer, and hence only those who don't know what they are talking about will participate in the survey. Maybe that explains the scary answers given.

A lot more people say they prefer spending cuts than tax increases. That's crazy by any interpretation, but it is even worse if people tend to understand those terms the way I think they do, which is that anything that causes taxes to go up from where they are today is a tax increase (i.e., it doesn't matter that the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire; when they go up, it's a tax increase). In that case, even equal shares of tax increases and spending cuts would require radically shrinking the government.

And only 11% of respondents prefer mostly or exclusively tax increases. Heck, only 20% of Democrats prefer mostly or exclusively tax increases. We have found the enemy, and it is us.

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