Americans polled by Bloomberg News want Congress to delay steep spending cuts to give the economic recovery more time to take hold.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports that when Washington does confront the deficit, Americans back a compromise that includes more tax revenue and fundamental changes to Social Security and Medicare — a deal that would require give-and-take by both Republicans in Congress and President Barack Obama, according to the Bloomberg National Poll.
Fifty-four percent of poll respondents favor postponing the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to kick on March 1 and extend over the next nine years. That’s compared with 40 percent who say Congress should act now before the deficit gets out of control. The telephone poll of 1,003 adults was conducted Feb. 15-18 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
“The across-the-board cuts that they’re planning to do would do more harm to the general population than trying to wait and pick and choose which ones we really need,” poll respondent Mark Seeger, a school psychologist from Valparaiso, Indiana, said in a follow-up interview. “Right now, a lot of
people are holding on by the skin of their teeth — they’re opting whether to go to the doctor or have food — and I just think we need to wait until the economy gets back on its feet before we just go in and cut without thinking.”