Sunday, November 21, 2010

New York Times Readers Balance the Budget

The Times has a compendium of the ways 6,000 online readers balanced the budget, using their online budget toy. Sadly, the number one choice was the one thing we are probably least likely to get, a rapid withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. And one of the least popular options, chosen by only 7%, was letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people with incomes under $250,000. Pain is ok for everyone else, Americans say, but keep my taxes low!


David said...

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but it doesn't look to me like the #1 choice is a rapid withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, but a reduction of the military to pre-Iraq levels. Reducing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is lower down.

A significant minority--the 509 people, at least 75% of whose balancing comes from tax increases--are willing to suffer pain, since their favored taxes include things like carbon emissions and a national sales tax. I wonder where an expiration of the Bush tax cuts for those making, say, above $100,000 would have ended up on the list; perhaps some folks didn't realize that letting the cuts expire for those making below 250,000 doesn't actually mean taxing the poor.

One very striking thing is how unpopular pain for the elderly was. Increasing the ages for Medicare and Social Security came way down near the bottom.

John said...

Yes, and as the Times notes, people who used their Twitter gadget are probably younger than the population as a whole.