For nearly four-out-of-five U.S. voters, the problem is not their unwillingness to pay taxes. It’s their elected representatives’ refusal to cut the size of government.
Once again I find the California budget crisis to be the most interesting news story not being covered. I guess that the lack of national reporting on this issue is for the greater good of the population. The people who did make comments about the failure of the California referendums to raise taxes sounded amazingly juvenile. They acted like there wouldn’t be any funding for the poor, education, or the myriad of state programs. This is not the first time a government had to cut or downsize programs but their responses made them sound like a kid who did not get all of the Christmas presents they asked for. The reality of the California budget crisis is that they still have a lot money to work with but it is less than what they are accustomed to. Since there is going to be less money the legislators are being forced to do the hard work assigning priorities to the programs and figuring which programs to cut. Some programs will be reduced. Some programs will be cut. Since businesses and families deal with this all of the time when the money is tight, it is understandable if the general population does not sympathize with the problem the legislators are facing.
The interesting aspect of this Rasmussen poll is that the political environment appears to have changed. The people are increasingly placing the blame of budget shortfalls on the politicians. I think the poll skirts around the more serious governing issue. I think many people are comparing how they have already made adjustments to deal with the recession with how various local and state governments are not making any adjustments. For a family who has already undertaken a family budget in an effort to cut down their credit card debt, it is difficult to grasp how the federal government’s complex solution of spending more and borrowing more is the appropriate response to this crisis. The California referendum vote loudly proclaims that the voters are not satisfied with a complex set of fee increases and taxes as a solution to the budget crisis. I think that this simple versus complex solution issue is at the crux of the Tea Party demonstrations. The federal stimulus package is a complex solution. The debt from the stimulus package is very easy to understand. The longer we wait for the vagaries of the stimulus package to resuscitate the economy and job growth, the more appealing a simpler solution becomes to the voters. It may be unfair from the political class viewpoint to compare how a person handles their personal finances with how the government handles its finances but the people are increasingly voting to side with a simple solution they can understand. Get real, get simple, and balance the budget is the mantra at home. The question Rasmussen has not asked is, “If it works for me at home, why won’t it work for our government?” That presents a particularly thorny problem for a lot of politicians accustomed to selling the virtues of an increasingly complex set of government programs.