Americans have no idea what they're talking about when discussing the federal budget. Stop the presses.
.... when it comes time to get specific, the cuts that Americans are by and large in agreement on don't add up to much. While they want Congress to drastically reduce spending overall, they overwhelmingly oppose doing so by scaling back some of the budget's biggest pieces.
Essentially, Americans want to have their budget cake and eat it too.
For instance, foreign aid is one of the only areas that most Americans are willing to squeeze for savings....
.... So how much money do Americans think could be slashed from international aid?
In a World Public Opinion poll conducted last November, respondents guessed, on average, that foreign aid spending represented 27% of the federal budget. To trim spending, the same respondents suggested that, on average, foreign should make up a slimmer 13% of the total budget, surely delivering massive savings.
The problem? Foreign aid is actually a minuscule 1% of the total budget. Even eliminating it altogether would do little to balance the budget or reduce the deficit...
.... When it comes to defense spending, Americans generally oppose cuts and wildly underestimating how much is already being spent.
In the previously-cited Gallup poll, nearly six in ten respondents opposed cutting defense spending. Meanwhile, a Rasmussen poll released last week found that 37% of Americans thought defense outlays were fine at their current levels, while 32% thought defense spending was too high, and 27% thought it was too low.
Yet the Rasmussen survey also asked this question:To ensure its safety, should the United States always spend at least three times as much on defense as any other nation?
Only 25% of respondents agreed with that statement, compared to 40% who disagreed.
In reality, though, the U.S. spends more than that -- much, much more...
...In effect, that meant that the poll's participants contradicted themselves in the span of a few questions, both opposing cuts to defense spending, while also -- unknowingly -- saying the U.S. already spends too much on its military.
Simplistic and fact-free bloviations of the teabagger variety -- the idea that balancing the budget requires no more than eliminating PBS and aid to Israel, that it can be done without raising taxes -- go largely unchallenged by the legitimate media (and actively promoted by the illegitimate ones). And the result is an uninformed public, easily lied to and led into fantasy beliefs. It's no way to elect people willing and able to get things done.