Teabaggers Not Listening to “The People”

Americans are conservative in the abstract, but liberal in the specific.

That’s the message from a Pew Research survey released today. While 53% say the abstract notion of “deficit reduction” should be a “top priority,” most also want to INCREASE spending on nearly every type of government endeavor, and don’t want to cut anywhere.

Despite the growing deficit, the survey found that a plurality of Americans want to spend MORE, not less, on health care, energy, education, veterans’ benefits, Medicare, military defense, assistance for the unemployed, combating crime, and environmental protection (in order of most support to least).

The survey found almost no support for the more libertarian viewpoints expressed at Tea Party and Ron Paul rallies. For instance, just 6 percent support cutting spending on the massive Medicare entitlement program, or “government-run health care.”

The only two areas in which a plurality of Americans didn’t support more spending were 1) international humanitarian assistance and 2) funding for the State Department and American embassies. But even in these least popular areas, those who wanted to keep funding the same or increase it still overwhelmingly outnumbered those who wanted to decrease funding.

The Pew findings indicate that conservatives who blame government spending on “politicians who don’t listen to ‘we the people’” are themselves not listening to the people. According to this surey, the politicians supporting more government spending are representing the will of most Americans. If the Tea Parties want a smaller government and a democratically responsive government, they should be shouting down their pals at home, not their pols in DC.

– Loveland

25 thoughts on “Teabaggers Not Listening to “The People”

  1. Newt says:

    I don’t take issue with this poll or your interpretation of it.

    It’s confirmation that the America has developed a dominant dependency class incapable of weening itself from the giant mammary we know as Washington.

    I would further argue that the most rogue and flagrant abuses of taxpayer money now favor institutional, corporate and global interests (versus plain old individual constituents).

    In a just society, a dozen of America’s top political leaders would be jailed for corruption. Now we only have closed-door proceedings for such life-altering legislation such as healthcare, finance and pollution control. Out of view, done for us, in our name.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      “Giant mammory” is the nicest thing Washington has been called in quite some time.

      If the government initiatives don’t benefit individuals — only big institutions — why do you suppose individuals overwhelmingly support the government initiatives?

      1. …because everyone wants X, but wants someone else to get taxed for it.

        I don’t buy the liberal/conservative/libertarian labels on the poll results, because the fact is better grounded in the difference between what people WANT and what they are WILLING to pay for.

        That said…

        Roll Tide.

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        Feels better to conclude that the plurality is duped, dumb or selfish than to conclude that they disagree with you.

        I went to The University of Texas, so I need to counter with a hearty “hook ’em horns” here.

      3. Joe Loveland says:

        Congrats on the Tide, Ike. Great team, great year. As soon as the Colt broke his limb, I knew the race was over. My horns are droopy.

      4. Joe Loveland says:

        Newt and Ike: I agree with you that a lot of the people supporting more government services would prefer to tax someone else – rich people, people with different habits (smoking, drinking, sugar soda drinking), etc.

        But lots of citizens are willing to pay more themselves, particularly if they see that all classes are participating in the sacrifice. I think you overestimate how many “I oppose every tax all the time” folks there are in America. Just because their top choices are options that tax others doesn’t mean they oppose any taxation on themselves.

        After all, in the last few years Minnesota voters have twice voted to dedicate sales taxes, which everyone pays, to the environment/arts and transportation. And the level of support for those tax and spend measures was higher than any other statewide candidate received.

  2. Mrs. Fay says:

    I’ve always been curious about how each individual taxpayer would distribute the Giant Tax Pie. I’d love to see a study done giving average people a pie chart to fill in in whatever way they chose, selecting from and using all of the specific categories that the government must spend money on.
    I realize this would be fairly complicated, and you could have many layers, Federal, State, Local…but I think it would be very interesting to see where people would really prefer their tax dollars be spent and how they would allocate them, as compared to how those dollars are actually being spent.
    I would be especially curious to see the break down regionally, and by ideology.

      1. Mrs. Fay says:

        Sounds very State Fair. Mine would have a nice flaky crust with a heavy filling of human services, a bit of toffee on top.

  3. Mike Kennedy says:

    How true. But that bastard with the bomb in his Fruit of the Looms has put into play 300 new full body scanners, prompting me to up my P90X workouts and order male enhancement pills so as not to embarrass myself at the scanning machines.

  4. PM says:

    Personally, I am simply biding my time until after the next few failed bombing attempts, when the new security measures will in effect turn the airlines into flying nudist colonies.

    Naturist of the world, Untie!

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    Hey Prof:

    I’m taking that as a compliment, whether it was intended to be or not. I think PM is on to something though. Imagine how many weight loss programs would be out of business once we all fly in the buff. The upside is that we might be the fittest flyers in the world.

  6. Ellen Mrja says:

    yeah..you mean instead of being people who have to pay for TWO seats? 🙂 (and it was a compliment…)

  7. Ellen Mrja says:

    I wish that plow would clear out the damn street. I can’t wait for the kids to get back to school. I wish they’d fix this pothole. I can’t believe it took the cops 15 minutes to get there. I want my Social Security check. I think it’s disgraceful how the Veteran’s hospitals treat our vets. I think we oughta bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. I think the government should look out for the little guy and not the fat cats. I helped my mom apply for Medicare last week. I’m helping my son fill out his student loan forms. I don’t know where that damn mailman is. I wish that pool were still open. I don’t think we need another school. I applied for unemployment.

    I wish that plow would clear out the damn street so I can go to the Tea party…

  8. Ellen Mrja says:

    Thanks for the comment, Dennis. I certainly don’t resent the right of Teabaggers to protest; that’s a cherished right. But I do question the “organic” nature of these protests, wonder if the protesters understand what it is they’re protesting and feel a wee bit uncomfortable with the hints of possible racism and violence that seem to creep into the edges of some of these get-togethers.

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