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Poll: Americans Want to Reduce Deficit, Without Harming Benefits

Many leery of cuts to Medicare, Social Security

For many Americans, cutting federal spending is the right approach to reducing the federal deficit. But don’t reduce the benefits they’ve come to rely on — and don’t raise their taxes.

This may seem like a dichotomy, but the polling fits right in line with what many lawmakers are asking themselves: How do you reduce federal debt with the least amount of harm?

In a New York Times/CBS poll, 70 percent polled agreed that the U.S. deficit is a "very serious" problem, but didn’t think it was necessary to raise taxes to solve the budget crisis.

The poll, which was conducted Jan. 15-19, surveyed a random sampling of 1,036 adults nationwide. Eighteen percent of respondents were retired, 54 percent were currently employed, 16 percent were out of work and 12 percent were not in the market for work.

The survey also showed that 62 percent preferred the spending-cut approach to lowering the deficit.

Yet when asked about specific cuts, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they would rather pay higher payroll taxes than reduce either Medicare or Social Security benefits.

David Leonhardt, Economix blogger for the New York Times, noted: "We want to cut spending. We just don't want to cut the benefits that the spending pays for." … Back to Article

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