What the American People Want

The disconnect between what most Americans say they want, and what they’re getting from Washington, is wider than I ever remember it being. In a new Gallup poll, 60% of respondents say they want the new “Supercommittee” mandated by the recent debt agreement to compromise — even if that means a final debt reduction plan that those Americans disagree with. And that sentiment crosses party lines.

Also, a just-released CNN poll reveals that by wide margins Americans want Congress to include tax increases on high income earners, and do NOT want Congress to cut Medicare and Social Security, or change those programs in any significant way.

Yet another poll, this one from Reuters, came up with similar results: large majorities of Americans want any future debt reduction plan to include both spending cuts AND tax increases. In addition, this poll showed that Americans are holding the Tea Party and Republicans in general responsible for the disastrous deficit/debt ceiling situation. Greg Sargent has more on this:

Reuters released a poll today finding that Republicans and the Tea Party are “bearing the brunt of public blame” for the debt ceiling mess, after a period during which GOPers and conservatives refused to entertain any revenue hikes as part of the compromise. The Reuters poll also found that the public, in roughly equal numbers, wants to proceed with a mix of spending cuts (49 percent) and tax increases (46 percent).

Republicans, however, have got their ears tightly stuffed with cotton balls:

… today Republicans unveiled their choices for the “super committee,” and they are all conservative stalwarts. As Jed Lewison points out, all of them to a man have signed Grover Norquist’s pledge never to raise taxes.

That in and of itself is not surprising. It would be hard to field a slate of six Republicans who haven’t signed Norquist’s pledge. But consider the larger dynamic here.

Republicans announced super-committee picks who have pledged to hold firm on tax hikes on literally the same day that three polls came out showing solid public support for raising taxes as part of our fiscal solution. Meanwhile, last week, when Dems announced their choices, they explicitly cited public opinion as their reason for not appointing members who would draw a hard line on liberal priorities. Harry Reid lamented that he couldn’t understand why Republicans were not being more flexible about taxes; Nancy Pelosi confidently asserted that if Dems didn’t draw a hard line, they’d have an easier time persuading the public that Republicans were the ones being “obstructionists.”

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