Macro CS Voters Back Tough Steps to Reduce Budget Deficit

Macro CS Voters Back Tough Steps to Reduce Budget Deficit -...

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Voters Back Tough Steps to Reduce Budget Deficit MORE IN US » By JONATHAN WEISMAN WSJ Aug. 16, 2010 RICHMOND, Va.—Frustrated voters, fixing on the $1.5 trillion federal deficit as a symbol of Washington's paralysis, appear increasingly willing to take drastic steps to address the red ink. Leonard Anderson, 56 years old, a Richmond, Va., drug-maker engineer and a Republican, said he would be willing to accept a national sales tax to raise revenues. Kimberly Moore, 46, a Richmond Democrat and bank information-technology analyst, said everyone will have to accept budget cuts. And at 67, Paul DesJardins, a Henrico, Va., Republican, said he would accept higher Medicare co-payments and deductibles. "As Americans, we're all going to have to cut back and take less," said Lois Profitt, a 58- year-old small-business owner and political independent from Chesterfield, Va. With the November midterm elections looming, voters appear ahead of Washington in grappling with the tough choices to come, according to national polling and a focus group commissioned by The Wall Street Journal in the bellwether city of Richmond. More
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That is a source of political peril for both Democratic and Republican parties, which are trying to talk about the deficit without addressing the specifics of how they would tackle it. Leaders on both sides of the aisle worry about being attacked if they produce a package of painful spending cuts or tax increases. And to reinforce lawmakers' anxiety, voters remain divided about what ought to be done. "It's a brutal predicament for politicians because the rhetoric of deficit cutting is enormously popular, but the details are incredibly unpopular," said Matt Bennett, a vice president at the Democratic group Third Way, which has polled extensively on the issue. For meaningful deficit reduction to happen, Republicans and Democrats likely would have to work together to slash spending or raise taxes. Instead, Republicans are attacking Democrats for planning to allow some Bush-era tax cuts to lapse. Democrats are accusing Republicans of plotting the privatization of Social Security. And neither party has convinced Americans it is serious about the problem. Republicans are seen as the party most trusted to reduce the deficit by 32%, compared to 24% for Democrats, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. But a plurality of 40% see no difference between the two parties on the issue. The White House professes to be relatively sanguine about the short-term deficits, half of which stem from collapsing tax receipts and rising spending on programs associated with the recession. The president has largely kicked deficit reduction to a bipartisan commission that will report back in December. "If Barack Obama wasn't serious about this, he wouldn't have set it up," White House
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Macro CS Voters Back Tough Steps to Reduce Budget Deficit -...

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