Reducing government benefits unpopular with recipients

While Americans are unhappy with the level of government spending, a new poll shows that recipients of popular and expensive programs don’t want their benefits cut and highlights the problems that lawmakers are facing in reducing the deficit.

A Rasmussen poll released Wednesday showed that 63 percent of Americans receiving government aid “are not willing to consider any benefit reductions” in order to balance the budget. Of the people surveyed, 23 percent said they received government aid.

Seniors and low-income Americans are the largest demographic groups receiving federal aid. The three major entitlement programs – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – take up a large portion of the annual budget and cutting any of them will be hugely unpopular with beneficiaries.

Nonetheless, 83 percent of Americans believe that it is “at least somewhat likely” that government spending will need to be reduced in the next decade, and a majority of Americans suspect that one such program, Social Security, will not “be able to pay out all their promised retirement benefits during their lifetime.”

Voters, unsurprisingly, are not keen on the idea of paying higher taxes, even if it means having a budget deficit. Forty-one percent of Americans, a plurality, said that they would not have a problem with a budget deficit if it meant reducing taxes.