Much of the criticism of federal spendings is directed not at the validity or purposes of these outlays, but at what is preceived to be the waste of taxpayers money.
In fact, the public judgment is that as much as half (48 cents) of every tax dollar that goes to the federal government in Washington is wasted. This is a median average of all responses in a recently completed nationwide Gallup Poll.
The closer government is to the people, the less critical they are. For example, when the cross-section of adults was asked how many cents of each tax dollar received by the government of their state is wasted, the median average response is 32 cents. And in the case of one's local government, the comparable figure is 25 cents.
Of particular interest is the fact that for all three levels of government, the figures cited by Democrats are nearly identical to those offered by Republicans.
Following are the questions asked 1,543 adults nationwide Oct. 27-30, and the results:
Of every tax dollar that goes to the federal government in Washington, how many cents of each dollar would you say are wasted? (TABLE) (COLUMN)Median average National(COLUMN)48 cents Democrats(COLUMN)49 Republicans(COLUMN)42 Independents(COLUMN)48(END TABLE)
And how many cents of each tax dollar that goes to the government of this state would you say are wasted? (TABLE) (COLUMN)Median average National(COLUMN)32 cents Democrats(COLUMN)33 Republicans(COLUMN)31 Independents(COLUMN)31(END TABLE)
And how many cents of each tax dollar that goes to your local government would you say are wasted? (TABLE) (COLUMN)Median average National(COLUMN)25 cents Democrats(COLUMN)24 Republicans(COLUMN)25 Independents(COLUMN)25(END TABLE)
In a survey reported this summer, an overwhelming 75 percent of the public said the federal government spends too much money. Just 5 percent said federal outlays were too small and 11 percent felts spending was at about the right level.
As with views on tax dollar waste; criticism of government spending did not fall evenly on all levels of government. Fifty-three percent felt spending by their state government was too high. And in the case of local government, 38 percent held the same view.
That survey also showed that by a 7-to-1 ratio (81 to 11 percent), the public favored amending the Constitution to require balancing the federal budget each year.