Polls show the public wants spending curbs and tax increases

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Most Americans want the so-called “fiscal cliff” talks to include spending curbs, and most would blame both political parties equally if resolution talks go sour, according to two new polls.

That’s good news for the GOP, which is under heavy pressure from President Barack Obama, the media and Democrats, to abandon its ideological opposition to higher tax rates, as Washington tries to avert the economic damage expected from its 2010 and 2011 budget decisions.

A poll released Dec. 12 by NBC and the Wall Street Journal showed that 56 percent of Americans would blame both parties for any breakdown. That majority bloc likely includes most independents and swing voters.

Both parties’ base voters tended to blame the other party; 19 percent of respondents would blame the Democrats, and 24 percent would blame the GOP.

The poll of 1,000 adults — not registered voters — also showed that 65 percent of respondents want a compromise that curbs spending and boosts taxes.

A Dec. 12 Fox news poll reported that 61 percent of voters say major spending cuts are needed to curb the $1 trillion annual deficit, and 89 percent said that any tax increase should be accompanied by spending cuts.

That 89 percent includes more than four out of five Democrats, and more than nine out of 10 of independents and Republicans.

The Fox poll also showed that 53 percent of respondents believe that President Barack Obama will use any tax-increases to boost government spending, rather than to reduce spending and borrowing.

Democrats, however, also got good news in the polls.

Fox’s poll showed that 69 percent of the respondents favor tax increases on people earning over $250,000, and 45 percent favor cuts to defense spending.

That’s strong support for President Barack Obama’s push to raise taxes on wealthy investors and entrepreneurs.

Forty-two percent of the 1,012 registered voters in Fox’s poll consider themselves Democrats. Thirty-seven percent consider themselves Republicans.

The WSJ/NBC poll showed that 65 percent of respondents believe Obama’s 2012 election gave him a mandate to simultaneously increases taxes and cut spending.

The “fiscal cliff” negotiations are intended to avert the economic impact expected from the scheduled cuts to Pentagon and civilian agency spending, and from the scheduled end to tax-cuts established in 2001 economy.

Together, they’re expected to suck $500 million from the 2013 economy.

GOP legislators want to fix the problem by keeping the tax cuts and curbing long-term spending over the next decade.

Under current projections, the federal government will borrow another $9 trillion by 2022, boosting the national debt to $25 trillion. The interest due on that massive debt is unclear, but is widely expected to severely affect the economy.

President Barack’ Obama’s proposed 10-year solution to the crisis is a tax-boost that would transfer $1.4 trillion from the private sector to the government, and a spending cut of roughly 1 percent to the planned $45 trillion in 10-year government spending.

His plan would increase federal spending and trim borrowing by only $400 billion over the decade, said GOP analysts.

Obama’s plan would leave the nation with a national debt of roughly 24.5 trillion in 2022.

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