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As discussions on how to reduce the deficit and debt stall until the next Congress and the fate of tax proposals remains uncertain, AEI's political team examines polling data on how Americans view the federal government's programs and priorities:
- Record high numbers don't believe the government can solve the problems it tackles
- Most Americans give the government low marks on running its programs
- Twice as many think government performance is getting worse than better
- Twenty percent today, twice as many as in 2000, are angry at government
- Roughly 45 percent think government is a threat to their personal freedoms
- Taxes aren't the problem for most people. Nor for many people are the federal government's priorities. Nor do people believe our system of government is fundamentally flawed. Most Americans see the problem as waste and inefficiency.
- A plurality believe that the government can balance the budget just by cutting wasteful spending
- There is considerable evidence that Americans are hopelessly conflicted about what government should do. Americans think cuts in many popular program should be off the table. At the same time they say we will have to have cuts in popular programs
- Yet, even this comprehensive collection of polls about public views of individual programs cannot tell us how Americans will react to a reform "package"