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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:33 PM ET, 09/19/2011

Obama deficit cuts popular in polls

President Obama announced several popular deficit-cutting measures in laying out how he'd pay for the sweeping American Jobs Act. Though the bill faces tough opposition in the Republican-controlled House, Obama staked out policies with majority support among Democrats, Republicans and independents in polls conducted over the past year or so. Still, Democrats stick out as the strongest backers of each proposal.


1. Withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan

“We save an additional $1 trillion as we end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

While this proposal is essentially a fait accompli, withdrawing troops from America’s wars in the Middle East continues to enjoy wide support. More than half of Americans said the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not been worth fighting in Post-ABC polls this June and in September 2010. And more than seven in 10 respondents in a June Post-ABC poll said the U.S. should withdraw a “substantial number” of combat forces in summer 2011, including 59 percent of Republicans and more than seven in 10 Democrats and independents.

2. Raise taxes on millionaires a la Warren Buffett
“People making more than $1 million a year should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.” From Obama’s memo to Congress on Monday.

Raising taxes on the wealthy was one of the most popular deficit reduction proposals during the debt ceiling negotiations. Fully 72 percent of Americans supported raising taxes on those with incomes over $250,000 in the July Post-ABC survey. Tax cuts on those making over $1 million likely hold at least as much support. Nationally, support for upper income tax hikes is much higher among Democrats (87 percent) and independents (73 percent) than among Republicans (54 percent).

3. Closing tax loopholes for businesses

“This plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations.”

More than six in 10 said closing tax loopholes for businesses “should play a major rule in deficit reduction” in a July Kaiser Family Foundation poll. More than three quarters of Democrats (76 percent) said it should play a major role, compared with 59 percent of independents and 54 percent of Republicans.

4. Cutting and changing Medicare payments

“This plan reduces wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments while changing some incentives that often lead to excessive health-care costs.”

Americans are quite skeptical of across the board Medicare cuts — 51 percent said reducing Medicare spending was a “totally unacceptable” method for reducing the budget deficit; 27 percent called this “mostly unacceptable” in an August NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. But the public gives majority support to more surgical cuts. Fully 64 percent in a 2010 NBC/WSJ poll said it is acceptable to cut Medicare and Medicaid payments to physicians and hospitals so they increase at a slower rate. At least six in 10 of Democrats, Republicans and independents say such cuts are acceptable.

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By  |  06:33 PM ET, 09/19/2011

Categories:  Barack Obama, Federal Budget Deficit

 
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