Poll: Americans want cuts in government, but the cuts they want would not make dent in national debt



American voters would rather see lawmakers cut government spending than increase taxes, but new poll results show the cuts voters want would have little effect on the nation’s $33.17 trillion in debt.

The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that 65% of registered voters would opt to cut federal spending to address the growing deficit. Only 14% would rather increase taxes than cut spending. The rest were either unsure or wanted to deal with the deficit in the future. 

Of the registered voters who favor spending cuts, 75% would cut services for people in the U.S. illegally, 55% would cut diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, 32% would cut environmental protections, 23% would cut transportation spending and 23% would cut social safety net programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The poll surveyed likely and registered voters. Non-citizens, including permanent legal residents, cannot vote in federal, state, and most local elections.

“American citizens tend to think that the government should spend money on American citizens,” said David Byler, chief of research at Noble Predictive Insights. “So the percentage of Americans who are willing to spend on foreign aid or on undocumented migrants is going to be low.”

Some 6% of registered voters would cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. About 12% would cut health care spending other than Medicare and Medicaid, and 21% would cut spending on national defense and the military. 

You can clearly see in the polling why there’s such a logjam in Washington on this,” Byler said. “Because people say they want to cut spending, but say ‘hey, don’t cut spending in any of the areas that are the biggest expenditures.'” 

About 51% of annual federal spending in fiscal year 2023 was for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The biggest drivers of the national deficit are spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs.

“There is a little bit of a chicken and egg situation happening here,” Byler said. “People wonder, why is it that Congress can’t rein in spending and can’t cut the budget deficit and won’t cut entitlement programs? The reason is that their constituents don’t want that.”

Of the voters who want to raise taxes, most want the wealthy and corporations to pay more. Seventy-five percent of registered voters said they want people making more than $200,000 a year to pay more in taxes, and 69% said they want corporations to pay more in taxes. About 10% said they want individuals and businesses to pay more through a higher sales tax.


    • Ben; I agree.
      It would also be nice if billionaires would pay at least some taxes, for example president Trump paid 0 taxes in 10 years and whom I also voted for twice and albeit he is one of many.
      My fellow business men and I seem to have to pay more taxes every year.
      The over seas grants to foreigners should be cut and the successful grantees audited so middle men do not run away with the loot 😉
      We should not sunset social security but we should scrutinize what a nonprofit organization’s hidden salary’s profits should be.

      • 3rd, I get that you are jealous of others success, but let’s set the record straight:
        Top 1% of taxpayers paid 40% of the federal tax burden. In 2021 57% of taxpayers paid NO federal taxes! (as reported by cnbc)
        How is that fair?
        You assert that certain individuals paid no taxes, however there is really no proof for that assertion, it just sounds good.
        The only solution for this problem is a personal income Flat tax that ALL pay. Every citizen should contribute and a simple tax code allows all to know exactly what they pay. A similar tax structure for businesses, that can not be manipulated by “new’ regulations to benefit one industry or another. The next step will be a balanced budget amendment to curtail run-away spending. Seal of social security funds, so lawmakers can not “borrow” from it and turn Medicare over to the private sector as health savings accounts.

  1. The problem is that too many voters are being supported by the government largesse. Social Security belongs to those that contributed, not to every illegal alien or indigent individual that comes along. Welfare should be there to keep a person form starving, not to bring them up to a level of living that a working individual provides for themselves. Subsidizing companies that are not viable economically is a non starter, as is subsidizing large corporations that are just getting what they can from the government. Supporting the UN is a fools mission, as is the foreign policy that plays patty cake with dictators through other countries. The solutions exist, the political will does not. The voter is not what is required, the congress with the backbone to do what is necessary is what is required.

    • Start with not spending money on the UN and WHO. Then all foreign aid to countries that pass people through in illegal immigration ploys or similar actions that harm the US. Then cut welfare to the able bodied. I am in favor of a window for vocational training or health care degree programs, like basic nursing, rad techs, PT etc. We need to eliminate all defined benefit public sector retirement programs and replace them with defined contribution programs with the eventual goal of reducing social security and to a degree Medicare. Medicaid benefits need to be very basic as the goal is to produce taxpayers with their own insurance.

  2. We could start with the money laundering and theft from politicians then cut every fed program by 50% then eliminate the FBI CIA homeland security FDA DOJ EPA and all other departments that do little good at spending tax dollars with no check and balance. Quit giving money to other country’s and quit feeling like we need to give every illegal alien money, so phones, medical food roof over their head transportation.
    That’s a start and cut Congress pay and benefits down to poverty level.

    • The article said its Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and other entitlements taking the lions share probably because of health care explosive costs not government personnel payroll matter.

        • they’re not entitlements they’re a reverse funnel system. I would happily pay out you boomers (the most spoiled generation) if they ended and my children were free of this pyramid scheme.

          • “The most spoiled generation” ??
            That’s pretty rich AK4L coming from those, who expect a participation trophy for everything and need a “safe space, teddy bear, hot cocoa and a blanket” to handle life, when things don’t go the way they want. I read an article the other day, where employers designated Gen Z as the MOST difficult generation to deal with, because they have not only unrealistic expectation, but also a self-centered attitude. Take that for what it is worth.
            At some point you too, God willing, will be advanced in years. I hope you get more respect from those younger, than you give us.
            To quote one of our contributors here on MRAK:
            Our generation put a man on the moon. Yours can’t even figure out the difference between a boy and a girl”

          • Yeah I’m in my late 60s now and running a business and paying lots of taxes. Been working since I was 8 years old and big enough to throw hay bales, helped milk a herd of Holsteins by hand twice a day, lug milk jugs to the water trough, run tractors and equipment when I so young that I had to have wooden blocks on the pedals so I could reach them and still went to school. Served my country, served the public of my state, ran businesses, worked for crappy bosses, gone through hell and back, lived life to the fullest, lost, grieved, picked up and carried on, raised a conservative Jesus-loving saved by Grace family, trusted our government officials to abide by their sworn oaths like I did. Can I turn in my “spoiled” card now? I’m tired.

      • Yes but the government took the money by law now they need to pay but everything else is on the table. These politicians have had lots of time to fix this spending problem but they will never do it until we are bankrupt. So cut the crap out of the budget.

  3. Social security and Medicare are also an income to the government thru payroll tax. What is the net impact of both to the deficit?

    • The problem is more beneficiaries than contributors – no benefits to illegal aliens, period. That would be a giant start. Restore medicaid to pre-obaminator levels. Get rid of “free” health care and college education. Cut benefit programs that subsidize unemployment so people want to work – this also means allowing the marketplace demand to bring down prices. Lastly, ALLOW AND ENCOURAGE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, INCLUDING ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.

  4. I’m reminded of a guy I saw at a Trump rally once with a sign that said “keep your government hands off my Medicare.” That pretty much sums everything up right there.

  5. Nobody wants cuts that affect them. Additionally the government is so bloated little short of a complete reset will help.

  6. We almost need a full melt to start from scratch. Every aspect of government and related entities are compromised. We Americans have been spoiled and have lost our compass point in the world, as have many other countries. We have all been asleep at the wheel and are slowly realizing ‘we ain’t in Kansas anymore’. Each of us need to make a concerted effort to change our course before it’s too late. Grassroots-do not wait for the ‘bought and paid for asssmbly member, local politician or school board’ to change. Starts at the local level and moves up. YOU change!

  7. We should eliminate every single Federal Governmental function NOT written specifically within the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Applicable unto the three branches of Federal Governmental as directed unto the document that controls them, and nothing more than that.

    Everything after said edict, is NOT controlled by the Federal Government, but by the individual State governments, each unto themselves, and spending therein as their constituents see fit, through their States voting process.

    Alas, this action would create a huge number of ‘nearly’ unemployable bureaucrats and government workers, but it would also solve another issue, as they all could be employed as unskilled American workers rather than those employed as unskilled illegal aliens.

  8. Government scams such as Social Security and Medicare/aid needs to be summarily removed. Don’t produce any value? Then why should the value I produce be stolen from me by the government and given to you? I chose to give charitably, with MY time and resources, and is none of the government’s business.

    • Some Guy; Social security retirement recipients get out of it what they put into it.

      You have your freedom which is ultimately protected by the armed services and you live in the best country in the world.
      Summarize; You know not what you write.

      • 3rd, you might be the one who doesn’t understand.

        Social Security recipients are certainly not getting what they paid into over the course of their life. What’s the average recipient get? $1,500? $2000? Over a 20-30 year career? That doesn’t include the taxes that come out of that. SS needs to be struck as a budget item, undoing what LBJ did in the 60’s so they’d stop using it as a slush fund.

        Truth of the matter is, when the income tax was first started it opened up with only 2% and that was on the highest earners before it ballooned into the 100k page monstrosity it is today. There needs to be a huge overhall of the federal government and its scope of work.

      • Well, not quite. Anyone who worked in government and received a pension winds up with about a 40% allocation of what they would typically have been qualified to receive for monthly SS benefits. Even though we paid all our quarters since old enough to draw a paycheck and in some case are still paying in and not collecting SS. Congress wanted equity. Not equality. Equity. Welcome to democratic socialism.

  9. Americans want cuts but not to their sacrifice. It’s just like the churches.congregations know they must tithe but not to their own sacrifice. Our own greed, corruption, immorality and idolatry will be to our own mistakes.

  10. No problem, the coming collapse of our monetary and financial systems will make those cuts automatically, and in FAR more draconian fashion than if they had been made willingly (and more intelligently).

    Sure, those on Social (In)Security will still receive their NOMINAL benefits — but with a dollar worth 10% or 1% of its current value, those nominal monthly payments may just buy one head of cabbage and not much else. Just ask the pensioners in the Soviet Union circa 1995 about how all this works out in practice.

  11. How are SS and Medicare entitlements? Money was taken from my checks for over 40+ years for SS if they had had invested wisely I should have millions for retirement but I don’t. Money is taken from my SS to pay for my Medicare. Entitlement is getting something you didn’t work for.

  12. This is green eyeshade stuff that hasn’t worked for 45 years (actually you can trace it back a century to the Coolidge administration. Cuts aren’t a 1:1 game. There is some spending that really punches above its weight in terms of damage to the economy. All things EPA are an example. DoE’s endless efficiency standard “improvements” are another. The Biden war on fossil fuel is a third. Add federal law enforcement to the list, especially the FBI and DoJ corruptocrats using investigations, prosecutions and other little games to target those of us on the political right. Any and all federal education spending can be zeroed out, as the states are doing those functions. Finally, we have the intel apparat, which has been waging war on those critical of their power while missing every single major international event since the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Stop funding damaging federal activity. Get the feds out of the way, and the economy will take off like a rocket. Cheers –

  13. What FDR and Kennedy left Americans (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) with it wasn’t very nice of them to get so many Americans dependent upon it.
    I also think the VA and IHS health care wasn’t very nice either to do to another groups of Americans. Perhaps if us adults (boomers, GenX, Millennials” had our parents raise us to see we have to make our own way through life because of we didn’t have things as unemployment, snap, ihs, va, Medicare, Medicaid, HUD, these living generations I think been less likely to be reckless and more likely work harder for our eye, teeth, body care, housing costs, and food if we recognized we had to pay for our expenses. I know I will had been better off if I saw my mother working twice as had to take me to my eye, dental, and medical appointments on her wallet instead of the SEARHC IHS which set me up that health care was “free” and we didn’t know how much we were taking away from our neighbors who paid for theirs and my classmates health care costs. Then I would had pushed myself harder through school and been stronger of a young adult worker when I started work recognizing earlier I need paycheck and learn how to make a living. Now Americans have a responsibility to pay for over 200,000 codependent Americans.

  14. Maybe folks were asked the wrong questions.
    Americans might have responded differently if given a choice to cut 34 government programs wasting $24,937,820,374 anually, listed at:
    Add $76B given to Ukraine, total annual waste comes to $100,937,820,374.
    And that’s only 35 examples.
    So… maybe not a dent, but a noticeable ding… for starters.

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