Voters dislike “government,” like what it does

Last year, U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) shared a story from one of his town hall meetings. A constituent stood to demand that Congress keep “government out of my Medicare.” Inglis reminded the constituent that government created and runs Medicare, a truth-telling affront which may help explain why Inglis was defeated by a rightwing tea-party type in the Republican primary a few months ago.

In any event, the constituent’s comment illustrates something I’ve long believed: “government” is just a word for those things voters don’t like. A strong “anti-government” sentiment doesn’t really illustrate that voters want to cut those government programs which benefit them. Alaska, which prides itself on its frontier independence, is the nation’s biggest welfare state.

Now, a new poll has shown just how contradictory voter attitudes are about the role of government and just how difficult it will be for Congress to make significant cuts to government spending. From the WaPo:

A new study by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University shows that most Americans who say they want more limited government also call Social Security and Medicare “very important.” They want Washington to be involved in schools and to help reduce poverty. Nearly half want the government to maintain a role in regulating health care.

The study suggests that come January, politicians in both parties will confront a challenging and sometimes contradictory reality about what Americans really think about their government. Although Republicans, and many Democrats, have tried to demonize Washington, they must contend with the fact that most major government programs remain enormously popular, including some that politicians have singled out for stiff criticism. . .
Even as Americans generally hold Washington in low regard, they still like much of the work it does. Support for government action on such issues as national defense, health care and fighting poverty remains high, in some cases just where it was a decade ago.

Nearly six in 10 say they want their congressional representatives to fight for additional government spending in their districts to spur job creation; fewer (39 percent) want their member of Congress to cut spending, even if that means not as many local jobs. This is a turnabout from September 1994, when 53 percent said they wanted their representative to battle against spending and 42 percent were on the other side.

This oughtta be interesting.

315 comments Add your comment

I Report :-) You Whine :-( mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 11th, 2010
7:04 am

They want Washington to be involved in schools and………to maintain a role in regulating health care.

They as in…….dummycrats?

Another day at the AJC, another baseless allegation against Nathan Deal, another vulgarity against the vast majority of the United States, the puppets of the DNC/White House busy themselves trying to influence the coming election-

You’re right, not every Baptist is stupid, not every Catholic priest is a child molester and not every Muslim is waging a jihad against you. Or does that just make too much sense for you tea baggers to fathom?-Urinal

Lying, cheating, stealing, dividing, hating, all in the service of the democrat party, is this what we want for our future?

Bob

October 11th, 2010
7:23 am

Some people want less gov, some people want more. The latter group wants more gov paid for by the first group. People with the sense of responsibility would never invest in a no return, no ownership, no access PONZI. People that could care less, well, they could care less, that is why we will hear of them being on a limited income. They felt it was govs job to handle their retirement, and they got a gov run retirement, limited retirement.

granny godzilla

October 11th, 2010
7:24 am

Oh Whiner! Bless your heart!

Thanks for starting our Monday off with a funny.

Ranting about baseless allegations and vulgarity while calling your opposition dummycrats and quoting a “vent” for heavens sake to support
your line of thinking and assigning the quote to the men’s room fixture you’ve long shown an obscession for!

Did you have a rough weekend? Cause you’re starting off real weak this morning.

Kamchak

October 11th, 2010
7:28 am

You’re right, not every Baptist is stupid, not every Catholic priest is a child molester and not every Muslim is waging a jihad against you. Or does that just make too much sense for you tea baggers to fathom?

You drag out a quote from The Vent and attribute it as what—editorial policy?

Moderate Line

October 11th, 2010
7:30 am

People don’t like paying for government programs but they like their services.

I imagine one of the problems for government is their is no direct connection between taxes and the services received. Most products you make a decision for X at a cost $Y and ask is it worth it. With government services that doesn’t happen. Plus the largeness of our govt also creates a disconnect between people and their government. For example, Canada has 30 million people the United States has 10 times that. Our government is larger and hence more bureaucratic.

Tommy Maddox

October 11th, 2010
7:34 am

Folks get mad because they pay and pay and pay into Social Security their entire life only to find that the Government has been borrowing from the piggy bank with no hope of their money being replaced or the specter of their money not being paid back to them.

Aquagirl

October 11th, 2010
7:43 am

The voting booth is no place to pitch a tantrum. I really don’t see any way back from this abyss of idiocy that’s taken hold of the electorate. Obama is elected by racial fiat and the under 25 set while older voters whine about getting government out of their medicare while they suck the country dry.

It won’t be long folks—enjoy the sunset of the Republic. That’s about all we can do now.

Bubba

October 11th, 2010
7:47 am

Are SS and Medicare “very important?” It’s a very vague question if that’s how it was asked. I don’t think anybody would deny that SS and Medicare are “very important.” I’m opposed to the concept of both of them, but since they’ve taken about $100,000 of my money over the years, I’d say they’re “very important” too.

Peadawg

October 11th, 2010
7:48 am

It’s not that we dislike gov’t. Some of the regulations are good, some are bad. But it’s mainly the entitlement mentality that they’ve created….where’s is peoples’ motivation to do better when the gov’t is paying for everything?

jt

October 11th, 2010
7:49 am

“A new study by ………………………………………………………and Harvard University”

nuff said. Propaganda.

” also call Social Security and Medicare “very important”

Forced participation at the point of a gun IS important. That doesn’t mean we approve.

The tsusami cometh.

I scoop ;>/ You leak :>o

October 11th, 2010
7:52 am

I am not a witch. I’m a PC.

Can you make an idiot of yourself by spending way too much of your life on a blog? Would a wealth-denying Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?

“I’m not witch. I’m you.”

granny godzilla

October 11th, 2010
7:53 am

“Forced participation at the point of a gun IS important”

Morning Melodrama.

Booger Sandwich

October 11th, 2010
7:59 am

Seems dislike of the current inept govt would be a more fitting statement.

ctucker

October 11th, 2010
8:02 am

jt@7:49, Is that your best argument, to cast doubt on the messenger? I haven’t heard of a single retiree rejecting Social Security or Medicare, no matter what they think of government spending.

ctucker

October 11th, 2010
8:03 am

Peadawg@7:48, Is someone forcing retirees to accept Medicare?

ctucker

October 11th, 2010
8:03 am

Aquagirl@7:43, Can you please explain “elected by racial fiat”? Sounds like an oxymoron.

Peadawg

October 11th, 2010
8:05 am

“Peadawg@7:48, Is someone forcing retirees to accept Medicare?”

No(dumb question). Why would they all of a sudden stop accepting free money? That’s the point…where is peoples’ drive these days w/ all the handouts?

Bubba

October 11th, 2010
8:08 am

“I haven’t heard of a single retiree rejecting Social Security or Medicare, no matter what they think of government spending.”

Well, of course not. They’ve been forced to pay into them, haven’t they? Did any of the Democrats who opposed the Bush tax cuts turn them down once they were enacted?

Peadawg

October 11th, 2010
8:09 am

“Did any of the Democrats who opposed the Bush tax cuts turn them down once they were enacted?”

I doubt it.

David S

October 11th, 2010
8:11 am

The fallacy that voters have been conned into believing is that the “services” they wish to have can only be provided by government. The truth is that government is just people, just like companies. There is ABSOLUTELY no service that government provides that a private, competitive free market could not provide better and likely cheaper. More importantly, without a violence-enforced monopoly on service provision, only those services that everyone paid to support with their voluntary exchange of money for serive would go away and if poor performance were the norm with one service provider, others would pick up its customers and do a better job.

Cynthia, you are correct that voters like some of the services that government provides (there are also plenty they would not voluntarily support).

The problem is that government is a monopoly – first on the use of force – and everything derives from that. The same poor performance, abuse of power, corruption, etc. that everyone condemns in supposed private monopolies (there really are none, and any that are close are only that way because of how government has helped them get there), they tollerate in government for some stupid reason.

Government knows that nobody would voluntarily pay for many of the things it does. It also knows that nobody would pay for government provision of a service if a better, cheaper alternative were available. It knows that it could not compete if the playing field were level and it had to actually EARN its money rather than just STEAL it as it has always done.

What voters hate is the MONOPOLY. Government cheerleaders like yourself just don’t get it.

Aquagirl

October 11th, 2010
8:13 am

CT, I mean “the enormous numbers of African-Americans who voted on the basis of his skin color.” It’s certainly benefited white candidates in the past. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the one-shot Obama crowd saw his candidacy as a reason to get involved in civic matters, it was way too easy to run like lemmings to the polls and pat themselves on the back.

Georgian

October 11th, 2010
8:14 am

CYNTHIA,

Even though you dont come out and say it, this is a direct slam on the Republican Party for their ideas for getting this country back on track.

Pulitzer = Charmin Extra Soft

October 11th, 2010
8:16 am

Yet another warticle where C. Tucker writes a few paragraphs of nonsense and then shows her copy/paste skills. It’s not the spending that is the problem, it’s the strategy used by Dems that spend. I wonder if the day will come when the Libtard nation will admit that Obama has been a disaster. I admit that Bush was a disaster. The first of the twelve steps is to admit you have a problem. That has always been something that Democrats could never do.

tennisman

October 11th, 2010
8:18 am

How about smart government? That would be a nice start. I get to pay into SS and have the right to earn 1% on my money? The only government that has a chance to work is the local variety because the officials have to live with their constituents. The congress and Senate should only meet in person one month a quarter and require the congressmen to reside in their district the other two months. During those two months work could be done using the advances of modern technology. THis would create more accountability.

ctucker

October 11th, 2010
8:21 am

Georgian@8:14, The Republicans have ideas?

ctucker

October 11th, 2010
8:22 am

Aquagirl@8:13, ninety percent of black voters cast their ballots for Al Gore. Was that because of his skin color?

quod erat demonstrandum

October 11th, 2010
8:24 am

Regarding Social Security – I have been paying for 50 years – thats right I can elect to start drawing on it.

If I had been allowed to invest it myself – even in Savings Bonds – it would be worth more today. I call that a lousy investment – this is the best Congress can offer? I guess it would rob them of another place to rob.

Regarding Medicare – Ever see what happens when you become Medicare eligible? Your regular insurance goes up. What a nice surprise.

Here is another place I and the government disagree – Government employees get pensions. In the real world, pensions are a thing of the past and “Call Balances” are all the rage. The traditional pension was a drain on business (as a long term liability) and Cash Balances are not. I guess the Federal Government doesn’t worry about long term liabilities.

Yes, less Government and less Government intrusion in our lives – Let Government go what it is allowed by the Constitution to do and not what it wants to do.

Justin

October 11th, 2010
8:24 am

Can you picture the government trying ot manage UPS, FedEx, or even a 10 cent lemonade stand ? LOL

Bob

October 11th, 2010
8:25 am

Golly Cynthia, never heard of someone refusing to take their own money ? That is a tired lib line, try asking if we would opt out before we dump in 12.4% of most of our income. That like saying that anyone that complains about the cost of health insurance should not file a claim if they get sick. Could you imagine haw bad SS would be if responsible people would be allowed to opt out of the biggest PONZI scam ever ? And how is it that liberals say this is a pact between generations, I guess it’s like the pact we have made with the debt, we spent it and our grandkids pay it. Usually a pact is enetered into with both parties in agreement, this is no pact.

quod erat demonstrandum

October 11th, 2010
8:26 am

ctucker,

They voted for AlBore because he had a “D” after his name. No other reason, blind devotion to the party that has kept advancement from them.

Roekest

October 11th, 2010
8:26 am

@ ctucker:

“ninety percent of black voters cast their ballots for Al Gore. Was that because of his skin color?”

Yes, and 91% of black voters still support Obama when an overwhelming majority of EVERYBODY ELSE is losing confidence. I’m pretty sure that has to do with skin color. Saying it doesn’t is a bald-faced lie.

Good Grief

October 11th, 2010
8:26 am

As much as I wish it weren’t so, I have to agree in part with Aquagirl. The last numbers I saw stated that 90% of blacks approve of Obama’s policies, while only 35-40% of whites approve. It’s realyl easy to just call the whites racist for their disagreement, but that trivializes the issue.

And CT, please don’t fall into this trap of “The Republicans have ideas?” Yes, they do, but because these ideas don’t radically expand government the Democrats have ignored them.

cliff zeider

October 11th, 2010
8:26 am

Hey Cynthia,, Porch monkeys all like big government, they never have to work, just sit on the porch and wait for a hand out. cz

Kamchak

October 11th, 2010
8:27 am

I admit that Bush was a disaster.

Brilliant observation there, Captain Hindsight.

Are you always late to every party?

granny godzilla

October 11th, 2010
8:28 am

“the enormous numbers of African-Americans who voted on the basis of his skin color.”…..except for the fact that most African Americans
supported the white female candidate at first…..

granny godzilla

October 11th, 2010
8:30 am

Kamchack

Late to the party and expecting us to think his judgement has improved ….

Kamchak

October 11th, 2010
8:30 am

The traditional pension was a drain on business executive compensation…

Fixed your typo.

quod erat demonstrandum

October 11th, 2010
8:34 am

Kamchak,

Sorry – another wrong liberal leftie – go back and take business 101 – it is a liability(debt) on the books – you know – that thing called a general ledger.

lynnie gal

October 11th, 2010
8:35 am

I say, let’s take medicare away from the old people–they make up the bulk of the teabag crowd fighting against healthcare for everybody else. Let’s take social security away from them, too. Let ‘em get a job! Old age is no excuse, deadbeat! While we’re at it, let’s take away police, teachers, firemen, libraries. Who need em? Let’s let the roads and bridges go to hell. Let’s take away money for defense and especially to those awful poor people who just want to take advantage of the rich people claiming they need food, jobs and help when they’re sick. To hell with government! Republicans Rule!

BlahBlahBlah

October 11th, 2010
8:36 am

Of course they love big government when they don’t have to pay for it. And with a $1.3 trillion annual deficit and $13 trillion debt, there’s a lot that’s not being paid for.

Let’s see how much they love it when the bill comes due.

JKL2

October 11th, 2010
8:37 am

Why am I hearing all the libs whine about cutting medicare? Obamacare is going to get rid of that on it’s own. Remember that $500B in savings from cutting the program that makes obamacare so affordable?

Georgian

October 11th, 2010
8:37 am

Cynthia,

They sure do. Its spelled out in their Pledge to America.

What ideas do Democrats have Cynthia?

Good Grief

October 11th, 2010
8:38 am

QED – Remember when arguing economics with liberals that in the liberal mind making a profit is evil. I refer you to the story Neal Boortz is taking flak for (and I don’t care if you love/hate/or don’t care about Boortz). He linked to a story from a college student in Athens who said that Wal Mart was evil because they sold goods for more than it cost to produce said goods.

Aquagirl

October 11th, 2010
8:39 am

I must be using forbidden phrases since my last post went nowhere. I’ll re-phrase and try again.

Kamchak

October 11th, 2010
8:41 am

Sorry – another wrong liberal leftie – go back and take business 101

Yeah, it was such a bad idea that policies like that ushered in the greatest period of middle class growth that this country has witnessed.

But don’t let history get in the way of your business 101 alchemy lessons.

coachx

October 11th, 2010
8:41 am

How does this bimbo have a job ?

Is the AJC really that hard up ?

Kamchak

October 11th, 2010
8:42 am

I refer you to the story Neal Boortz…

There’s your sign.

granny godzilla

October 11th, 2010
8:43 am

The Pledge to America, written by lobbyists does contain GOP ideas.
The same old GOP ideas that got us into this mess in the first place.

No new and improved. No better formula. No 15% more for the same price.
No BOGO.

Same old, Same old.

kayaker 71

October 11th, 2010
8:43 am

Our government does not want us to invest our own money derived from SS because if we do, that would less that they could abscond with for government waste. This is a cash cow that they can depend on for funding of countless projects that get them re-elected. It’s not so hard to figure out.

Good Grief

October 11th, 2010
8:44 am

Okay, Kam, so referring to a story from Boortz, not even something he said but a story he referenced, is bad. Yet blindly quoting Think Progress and Media Matters and MoveOn are okay? The hypocrisy of some people simply boggles the mind.