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Opinions on the Federal Budget Among U.S. Adults

Americans age 18 and older are concerned about the current budget deficit and have strong opinions about how they think federal dollars should be spent. Of those surveyed by AARP, there was more support (74%) for increasing spending for education than for any other item.

The majority of respondents (71%) said they are either very or somewhat concerned with the current budget deficit. When asked about eight possible methods for reducing the budget deficit, most favored keeping the estate tax on assets over $2 million (69%) and raising income taxes for households earning over $100,000 (61%). Most of those surveyed also felt strongly that neither Social Security benefits (92%) nor Medicare and Medicaid spending (87%) should be cut.

Interestingly, respondents under 50 did not differ in their support of Social Security or Medicare and Medicaid compared to those age 50 and up. However, more younger respondents (43%) than older respondents (30%) were in favor of a national sales tax, while more older (38%) than younger (24%) respondents were in favor of cutting farm subsidies.

Undertaken for the AARP Bulletin in whose February 2006 issue the findings are reported, the national telephone survey was conducted by International Communications Research between January 4 and 9, 2006 with 1,026 age 18+ respondents (502 ages 18-49 and 524 age 50+). Further information may be obtained by contacting the report’s author, Jean Koppen of AARP Knowledge Management, at 202-434-6311. (6 pages)

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