Good grief…

New High: 73% Say Government Should Cut Spending to Help Economy

Half of all Americans want more government action to deal with the economy. But the action they are looking for is to cut government spending.

38 Responses

  1. Rasmussen Reports…there you have it…absolute bullshit.

    Rasmussen is a right-wing outfit that, except for presidential elections where it has to be right to maintain credibility, just makes shit up.

    Move along, nothing to see here…although the lemmings are probably thinking along these lines because that’s all they hear on the news and God forbid they actually engage in any critical thinking on the subject. I just wouldn’t trust Rasmussen’s numbers.

    Spending = Income, except when the government does it apparently.

    If it weren’t for government spending the economy would not be a functioning system at the scale necessary for the majority of citizens to have access to it. GDP would likely be 1/10th or 1/20th of what it is now. That, my friends is simple arithmetic.

    1. @paul,

      Rasmussen is not a right-wing outfit. It is a for-profit business which will commit suicide if it starts undermining its credibility by producing bogus polls. It is a pioneer in robo-polling, and there are some issues with selection bias there because robo-polls cannot call cell phone numbers, and there are many people who have an aversion to answering a robo-poll. Gernally, though, Rasmussen is considered a credible pollster. It did not do well in the last election because its likely voter model was a blend of the 2010 and 2008 electorates, and the turnout in 2012 was very close to 2008. But it has nailed prior presidential elections, and it seems to outperform in mid-term and special elections.

      That being said, I don’t trust polls with squishy questions. There are only two kinds of poll questions which can actually be tested, and those are “are you going to vote?” and “who are you going to vote for?”

      Squishy questions, in particular, are subject to different interpretations, and they require more nuanced answers as well.

      For example, if I were asked the question “should the government cut spending to help the economy”, I would answer “yes.”

      1. @ESM, Rasmussen was off on the last several presidential elections during most of the election but tightened up at end. What I mean, is it was an outlier, with a Republican bias, from most other pollsters (not result of election but what other pollsters were showing at the same time) through most of the polling season but then got closer to other pollsters at the end.

        The question is (1) was that random and polling error that followed the same path each election or (2) was he trying to sway public sentiment by posting bogus polls through much of the campaigns but then showed actual polling results toward the end because that is what is remembered?

      2. @Roger,

        That is a well-understood systematic bias of Rasmussen’s, and there is nothing nefarious about it. Rasmussen uses a likely voter model throughout the polling season. Other pollsters only start using a likely voter model around Labor Day. It is the other pollsters who converge to Rasmussen, not the other way around.

      3. @ESM,

        “For example, if I were asked the question “should the government cut spending to help the economy”, I would answer “yes.””

        That’s fine, you are an enlightened person, one out of 100.

        The questions are being asked are of people that literally have no clue how the (any) economy works so their answers are irrelevant. Their answers are of course based on endless repetition of bullshit from “experts” that define incompetence.

        The results of this poll will then be featured by media outlets as “proof” that the electorate wishes to commit suicide err share in the sacrifice. To cut spending by any significant amount would be economic suicide for those questioned, so 73% of those questioned are in favor of hurting themselves. Bizarre, but not surprising.

        If TPTB had not contributed so much to the economic ignorance that pervades the entire world population maybe these kinds of questions would have some meaning. For now polls like these merely illustrate how poorly educated the population is, and I can see Warren is disgusted also.

        Rasmussen isn’t doing these polls as a public service, he’s being paid to do it by people that wish to game the outcome. This is simply a part of our pay-to-play system, corrupt through and through.

        At any rate, there is little reason to trust anyone disseminating this kind of information because we (the people) have been betrayed at every opportunity, there is no one left to trust but ourselves. In fact, if we’re smart we should assume the opposite of what we are being told is probably the truth.

        It’s guillotine time for anyone, including Dem’s that buy into this propaganda.

      4. @paul,

        His point is that the syntax of the question implies that cutting spending helps the economy, so the question was not really asking about cutting spending it was just asking if the government should do something to help (the reader was basically forced to accept the premise that cutting spend would help.)

      5. @paul,


        Besides that, I misread his statement, which I read as opposite of what he actually wrote…i.e., he is NOT an enlightened person (hits head against wall)…but maybe like you say he was just making a point about how the question was framed.

        The point of my rant was that this was a push-poll designed to sell the idea of cutting spending as a good thing…something we should expect from Rasmussen.

    2. According to this Rasmussen page, the poll questions were as follow.

      National Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters
      Conducted December 12-13, 2012
      By Rasmussen Reports

      1* In reacting to the nation’s current economic problems, what worries you more…that the federal government will do too much or that the federal government will not do enough?

      2* In reacting to the nation’s current economic problems, should government increase spending or cut spending?

      NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

      1. @Nihat,
        Given the question and given the current understanding
        of economic policy the answers make plenty of sense.

        how they are used by policy makers is another worrisome matter ..

      2. @Nihat,

        “2* In reacting to the nation’s current economic problems, should government increase spending or cut spending?”

        Given my libertarian leanings I would prefer to cut taxes than increases government spending. The question then becomes which tax cuts provide the best bang for the buck?

        Going back to whether the government should either increase or decrease spending, this question makes no distinction about what type of government spending gets the best Return on Investment (ROI). It’s not hard to see why taxpayers would object to wasteful spending on items like $120 million in retirement and disability benefits for federal employees who have died. A small amount perhaps, but the list is long. Why for example should farmers by subsidized not to grow crops? Spending for infrastructure makes sense and personally I’d like to see a lot more spending to develop thermonuclear fusion energy which seems to be an investment that the private sector does not want to make. Point is that the bias should be toward government spending produces real assets that create future income streams.

      3. @Nihat,

        In other words, idiotic questions. Rasmussen has never been impressive to me. Its projections on state-by-state elections in the 2008 cycle were sub-standard. 538 did a far better job, or Poblano as I knew him then.

      4. @MRW,

        538 does not do polling. It aggregates polls and weights them based on historical accuracy.

        Saying that 538 does a better job is a little like saying that the Lakers are better at winning basketball games than Kobe Bryant.

      1. @WARREN MOSLER,

        Warren, just to be clear, I wasn’t disagreeing with the intent of your post…reading it threw me into rant mode instantly, which I guess is obvious. 🙂

        As I noted above, this was nothing more than a push-poll, and it pissed me off.

  2. @ESM,
    I addressed this out of the chute, the only time their credibility is at stake is when a presidential election keeps them honest, because there is an actual election to measure against. In other circumstances their results are skewed from polls I consider credible, of which there are only a handful.

    Rasmussen is part of the pay-to-play apparatus, and I’m not saying only right-wingers are guilty, it goes on for both sides, but modern Republicanism does not deal at all in reality in my view. YMMV. (FD, I was a Republican until 2007, and I’m 66 now).

    1. @paul,

      I’m not sure what you’re accusing Rasmussen of exactly. If you think that he has actually manipulated data to get the result that his clients want, I think you’re wrong. Rasmussen has a valuable franchise, and I just don’t see him jeopardizing his reputation (and business) for any single client.

      If you think instead that his clients are taking advantage of any systematic biases in either his polling or his likely voter model to get the result they want, then that’s certainly possible. Another possibility, which I think is more dishonest (but not Rasmussen’s problem per se, nor exclusive to his firm), is that his clients commission several polls at the same time, vary the phrasing of the questions, and then only publicize the poll which gives their desired results.

      A couple of years ago, Markos Moulitsas commissioned a poll to show how crazy Republicans were. It started out with ridiculous questions that only a nutjob Republican would sit through, and then started asking even crazy questions. The questions were designed to select out only the craziest Republicans, so that Kos could claim that Republicans in general were crazy. As it turns out, the pollster itself was a complete fraud (literally making up the numbers, and not even in a clever way which could pass the simplest statistical tests), but the poll would have been worthless regardless.

      1. @ESM,

        ESM, the way the questions are presented puts this in push-poll territory…this is not a behavior of a legitimate polling outfit. It’s prostitution. It is important how a question is framed.

        You continue to ignore the fact that the only credible polling by Rasmussen is for Presidential elections, where they have to be professional or else, in every other case they tend to be an outlier or engage in push-polling. This isn’t rocket-science, Rasmussen is a bought-and-paid-for right-wing operative, as are most folks involved in our system of governance and academia are or they wouldn’t be allowed to play. The message is controlled by money and power.

        I’m not saying there aren’t other pollsters on both sides that do the same thing…this post is about Rasmussen.

        In any case, reality need not apply.

        re Markos original pollster, when he realized the guy was falsifying data he fired him instantly. I don’t know what Markos’ motivations were, I haven’t read anything at DKos for a long time but I don’t need a poll to tell me how crazy Republicans have become…I figured that out on my own 5 or 6 years ago…which is why I no longer am one…I don’t wish to be associated with anti-democratic nuts.

        25 years ago these people were confined to a ranch in Montana or Idaho, now nearly every one of them has a microphone on the mainstream networks. If David Koresh were around today he would likely have his own talk show.

        If the majority of Republicans are not like this you could have fooled me. I live in an pretty conservative area (went 60/40 for Romney), nearly all of my friends are conservatives (or at least Republicans), and when they began expressing their views in response to Obama’s ascendance I couldn’t believe the crazy stuff that was coming out of their mouths, they seemed otherwise normal. Their ignorance of anything real is breathtaking, their entire worldview is based on a foundation of talking points, myths and untruths. They really do live in a fantasy world with no connection to the real one. Their only connection to reality is through gravity.

        The good news is most of these people are over 65.

      2. @paul,

        Paul, I live in a very liberal area (75/25 for Obama in 2008, 70/30 for Obama in 2012). Everything you experience with your Republican friends, I experience with Democratic friends (or former friends, LOL).

        There is a difference, though, although perhaps you disagree. For the most part, I find that conservatives think liberals are misguided. But I find that liberals think conservatives are either stupid or evil, or both.

        My intermediate goal in any political discussion with liberals is to convince them that conservatives are not stupid or evil, only misguided. It takes some work, but I get there usually.

  3. This does remind me a bit of a poll I saw of the 2010 Delaware Senate race. One question asked “Of the two senate candidates who do you think is qualifed to hole the office: Chris Coons only, Christine O’Donnell only, both are qualified, neither are qualified?” The next question asked “Who do you plan to vote for? Coons, O’Donnell, Not sure.”

    If you totaled up all the number it worked out such that something like 8% of the state thought Coons was qualified and O’Donnell wasn’t, but they planned to vote for her anyway.

    1. @Brian,

      I don’t see anything wrong with that. Depending upon the office, I’d rather have an unqualified person who will vote the way I want than a qualified person who won’t. This is especially true of a legislative office versus an executive office. What harm can an incompetent boob do in a Senate seat? In fact, Delaware had one for 36 years, and he didn’t do much damage (at least to Delaware).

  4. Don’t blame the messenger even if he looks dodgy!

    Who elected the Congress bent on cutting the deficit and the fixed-wings president with a fixed agenda? Not the pollsters. They, The people (TM).

    Who brainwashed them? The brainwashing industry, the media, constantly fed with stories mass-manufactured by Peter G Peterson Foundation and the others. The buck stops there.

    In the light of the latest tragic mass shooting the following exchange of tweets occurred between R. Murdoch and Malcolm Turnbull (a popular liberal-conservative Australian politician):

    ‘‘Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy,’’ Mr Murdoch said.
    Mr Turnbull then observed: ‘‘@rupertmurdoch I suspect they will find the courage when Fox News enthusiastically campaigns for it.’’

    1. @Adam (ak),

      OT, and I admit this is a moral and possibly political reaction to the Sandy Hook killings, so if you want to ban this comment, Warren, I’ll understand. We rise in rage and mourning for 20 kids killed in Connecticut? Where are American voices over the 3,000+ civilians we’ve killed with drones in Pakistan alone in the last eight years. Children, babies, old people, at funerals and weddings. If a satellite can see me through my roof sitting on the john, these drones can identify a wedding party. 400 civilians killed there last month (BBC).

      We interrogated Imran Khan over his attitude towards US drones at the US border eight weeks ago, as if his reaction to the terror these things bring was suspect. Children in N Pakistan are screaming in the night when they hear airplanes approach, completely terrorized. Broadly reported.

      But the kicker is in my bar. I listen to the parents and grandparents of the Adam Lanzas whooping and hollering at the Fox News screens about getting those towel heads, make ’em fly food, liquify their sorry Muslim asses. “Kersplat!” one of them shouted before inhaling his shot and slamming the glass down during a news report on drones. And his friends roared approval.

      CT Rep John Larson released a statement over the weekend in which he said, “Of the 12 deadliest shootings in our nation’s history, half of them have happened in the last five years.”

      We all need to look in the mirror. I’m drawn to MMT because it emphasizes the public purpose. But my belief in that does not stop at the Treasury door. We have become a disgrace.

      1. @MRW,


        I agree, but we are no different than we have ever been. Human beings respond to what they see and hear directly. They do not respond to abstractions. The media has tremendous power to direct and shape our emotions, and technology has increased that power.

        If the media reported on civilian deaths and grieving survivors in NW Pakistan as extensively as they do mass shooting victims in the US, the drone attacks would come to a screeching halt.

        When the media focuses on shark attacks in a year when shark attacks are actually down from the historical average, people are afraid to swim in the ocean. When the media focuses on a massacre where children are killed, there are calls to action, and wringing of hands, and genuine fear, even though the homicide rate has been declining in the US for 20 years, and has declined especially fast for those which are gun-related (and even faster for gun-related deaths of children).

        “CT Rep John Larson released a statement over the weekend in which he said, “Of the 12 deadliest shootings in our nation’s history, half of them have happened in the last five years.””

        Not sure if this is true (doubt it is actually, if only because the Virginia Tech massacre was over five years ago), but even so, it is less meaningful than it would seem. I think it has less to do with the efficiency of the weapons or their ease of acquisition, and more to do with the increasing sophistication and skill of the perpetrator. Thanks to the internet and video games, the nuts seem to be better at picking a soft target, better at planning an assault, and probably have greater ability to practice/simulate an attack.

      2. @ESM,


        We are steadily and inexorably becoming a police state, and with each horrific crime committed by a private citizen, no matter how rare (and yet statistically inevitable), the ratchet moves another step.

  5. If people think that this will help would it not become self fulfilling?

    For example: wouldn’t people feel better and spend more (including the uber-wealthy).

    1. @marcello,

      So, we’re going to cut the number of dollars spent into the economy (thus reduce incomes)…and then people are going to spend more? The economy does not run on magic or expectations. Expectations is a second or third-order influence at best.

      Rich people’s spending is unconstrained by definition. Everyone else depends on government spending for their income.

      Businesses spend 2/3rds of the funds necessary to purchase their products into households…where does the other 1/3rd come from? And that doesn’t account for saving.

  6. What else would you expect? We live our lives with constrained budgets, it not supprising we apply those lessons to the Federal government. I’m personally encouraged the number is not larger.

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