A recent Rasmussen poll (subscription required) found that 65 percent of likely voters want the government to cut spending to help alleviate the country’s economic woes.
Four years after the official end of the recession in June 2009, the economy is growing sluggishly. As The Wall Street Journal reports today, the economy lately has grown at about 2.2 percent annually—one-third slower than the 3.3 percent average rate in past decades.
Government meddling has not helped. Massive federal stimulus helped send federal budget deficits soaring, and the repeated threat of tax hikes—followed by actual tax hikes on businesses, more affluent Americans, and all income earners (remember the payroll tax hike?)—has hindered an economy desperately trying to improve. Whenever government raises taxes, it takes more money out of the private sector, where it can be used more efficiently by businesses, investors, and families.
The country’s $16.7 trillion-plus national debt and its upward trajectory are not helping, either. As Heritage Foundation experts Alison Acosta Fraser and J. D. Foster wrote recently:
“The U.S. economy is slowly recovering, but President Obama’s massive deficits, soaring debt, and tepid support for reforms to render America’s entitlement programs affordable pose a grave economic threat.”
Yet Washington keeps ignoring the fact that spending cuts, not tax hikes—and certainly not more spending—is the solution. To tame the national debt, Congress should cut spending and implement programmatic reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security so that these programs can work better for Americans today but still be affordable in the future.
The Rasmussen poll suggests that Americans think Washington should repurpose those big scissors used for groundbreaking ceremonies and start cutting federal spending. The Obama Administration’s Keynesian economic policies are one costly, royal failure to “jumpstart” the economy. Now Washington should wake up and do what its constituents want: cut spending. It had better hurry, because the clock is ticking.