Poll: Majority Want Action on Deficit Now
Public wants spending cuts ... just not to Medicare or Social Security
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2011 4:48 AM CST
The National Debt Clock is shown in New York.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Some 56% of Americans want the massive federal budget deficit dealt with now instead of when the economy improves, according to a New York Times/CBS poll, and 62% say they would prefer the deficit be addressed through spending cuts, rather than higher taxes. That preference, however, changed when respondents were asked about specific cuts to Medicare or Social Security—the two government programs that touch the most people, and are expected to be the biggest causes of future deficits.

Some 55% of respondents said that if Medicare, Social Security, or the military needed to be cut, they would prefer the ax falls on the Pentagon. The findings highlight the difficulty President Obama and Congress will have reaching a consensus on ways to reduce the deficit. House Republicans have called for slashing $2.5 trillion in spending over the next decade, but their plan hasn't specified where most of the cuts will come.