As the Senate prepares to take up the new House-passed budget that undoes sequester cuts and increases spending, a clear bipartisan majority of American voters—65 percent—“firmly disagree[s] that ‘there are no more cuts to make’ to federal spending,” according to a recent poll conducted by the Tarrance Group.
The poll, which presents several indicators that “voters throughout the country are highly negative toward the direction of the country and President Obama,” demonstrates that yet again, lawmakers have failed to implement long-term cuts that voters want—and the nation desperately needs.
Budget conferees should have paid more attention to the 88 percent of voters who wanted the deal to produce a “longer-term fiscal plan to reduce the national debt.” Spending cuts are favored not only by Republicans: The majority of Democratic voters (55 percent) also support further cuts, as do 59 percent of independents, according to the Tarrance poll.
The Murray–Ryan deal may be a compromise, but that does not make it a good deal. It eschews enacted spending caps, delays savings into the future while increasing current expenditures, and does little to address the real sources of spending growth. The deal is bound to disappoint this near totality of voters, as it focuses on distributing savings to short-term spending increases and deficit reduction far off in the future, failing to make a long-term impact on the national debt.
In order to make real strides toward reducing the nation’s long-term debt, Congress should put entitlement programs—the greatest contributors to the future deficit—in their crosshairs and pull the trigger on systematic reforms.
Continuing to procrastinate on meaningful spending reforms, as the Ryan–Murray agreement has, will never produce a long-term solution and ensures that the U.S. will continue down its path of uncertainty and fiscal irresponsibility.
Michael Sargent is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.