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PEW Research: How do Americans feel about government spending?

To people who think the government should fix "things", I say the following. Would you trust your alcohol-addicted uncle Earnie who's done three stretches in the joint to fix your family's problems? Of course not! He's a fricken incompetent idiot.

But you trust the government who brought you the Great Depression, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Opioid Epidemic (lack of regulation), the Welfare state, blah blah blah blah. It doesn't matter what the government should do; what matters is what it can do...which is not much.

The Easter Bunny isn't going to save your ass; that's up to you. Very unfair but sadly true. Or, as I also like to say, it isn't fair that the Lion likes to eat Zebra. But I'd rather be the lion! Just kidding, I'd rather be the Zebra with a fast pair of Nikes.

*Don't try to convince me that you don't have an Uncle Earnie.

6 facts about Americans’ views of government spending and the deficit


Here are six facts about Americans’ views of the government, spending and the deficit based on Pew Research Center surveys from this year.

The public remains split on what the government’s size should be. About half of Americans (49%) say they would rather have a bigger government providing more services, while a similar share (48%) would prefer a smaller government providing fewer services, according to a Center survey conducted March 27-April 2. These views have remained relatively stable since 2019. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are more than three times as likely as Republicans and Republican leaners to say they would prefer a bigger government (75% vs. 22%).

The public is also divided on the role of government. While 52% say government should be doing more to solve problems, 46% say government is doing too many things that would be better left to businesses and individuals. These attitudes are also deeply divided along partisan lines: While about three-quarters of Democrats (77%) say the government should do more to solve problems, a similar share of Republicans (75%) say the government is doing too many things.

Americans are more likely to want to increase than reduce the size of the U.S. military. About four-in-ten Americans (43%) say that the size of the U.S. military should be increased, compared with 17% who say it should be reduced; 38% say it should be kept about as is. The share of the public saying the military should expand has risen 6 percentage points since July 2021. Currently, military spending makes up about 12% of the overall federal budget but nearly half of so-called discretionary spending, which excludes entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans are far more likely than Democrats (62% vs. 27%) to favor increasing the size of the military. There also are age differences: Older adults are more supportive than younger adults when it comes to expanding the size of the military.

More Americans also favor increasing, rather than reducing, government aid to the poor. While 43% favor increasing aid to the poor, 26% say the government should provide less assistance, and 30% say the current level of aid is about right. Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say the government should provide more assistance to those in need, but Republicans’ views vary by age and income. Younger and lower-income Republicans are more likely than older and higher-income Republicans to say that the government should provide more assistance to those in need.

Majorities favor raising taxes on large companies and high earners. About two-thirds of Americans (65%) say that tax rates on large businesses and corporations should be raised. A somewhat similar share (61%) support raising tax rates on household incomes over $400,000. On both questions, Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say that tax rates should be increased.

Reducing the budget deficit is a higher priority for the public than it was last year. The share of the public saying that reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year has increased by 12 points since 2022, according to a January 2023 Center survey. Today, 57% say that reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority, compared with 45% in 2022. Both Republicans and Democrats are more likely now than in 2022 to say this should be a top priority, but Republicans are still much more likely to prioritize this than Democrats are (71% vs. 44%).

Note: Here is the question from the Jan. 18-24 survey used in this analysis, along with responses, and its methodology. Here are materials for the questions on taxes and government size and role from the March 27-April 2 survey, along with its methodology.

Topics Political IssuesGovernment Spending & the Deficit

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