A majority of Americans would rather see higher taxes on the wealthy before cuts are made to public services such as food safety and border security, according to a survey released Monday by a large federal employees union.
“Some political rhetoric would have you believe that Americans today have an ‘austerity at any cost’ view of the federal budget,” Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement. “The fact is that most Americans, when asked about specific services, believe the government should invest more in providing such services.”
Two-thirds of the respondents in the survey by the polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs said they agreed with the statement, “Congress should raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans before cutting funding for public services such as food and drug safety and border security.”
According to the survey, 86 percent of respondents want to see more federal resources committed to veterans assistance, 72 percent supported more funding for border security, and 69 percent wanted more resources for food safety.
“Regardless of party affiliation, respondents believe in the importance of adequate resources and manpower for vital public services and the need for the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share to retain those services,” Kelley said.
The survey was done as part of an NTEU public education campaign to bolster the image of federal employees at a time when budget cuts loom.
Only 40 percent of survey participants were aware that federal employees have already been forced to contribute to deficit reduction through a two-year pay freeze and increases in retirement contributions by new hires.
The survey was conducted during the first week of August with a randomly selected sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and older across the country who were interviewed by telephone using landlines and cell phones. The margin of error of the survey was +/- 3.0 percentage points.
The NTEU represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.