Its a popular political tactic: Politician A gets elected on the promise of cutting spending and the ever popular political bitch, “waste, fraud and abuse” out of the system. Rochester, Monroe County, New York State and the Federal government all have lots of folks elected on just such a promise. That includes, of course, our current president.
And as popular as that campaign tactic is, it is no surprise that an equally attractive tactic is “holding them accountable”: insist that they tell you what exactly it is that they plan to cut out of the budget that will fulfill their campaign promises. Of course, more often than not, they have no answers. And the answers they do have generally involve cutting programs that don’t have anything to do with them or more importantly their constituents. Grossly irresponsible, isn’t it?
But hold on: what did you expect Politician A to say, exactly?
Two very interesting polls came to my attention today: the first is a national poll by Gallup where Americans express their support for program cuts. Social Security? Nope. Education? Nope. So what do they support? Cutting foreign aid, of course. The one thing on the list that doesn’t affect Americans and the only single budget cut that is supported by a majority of Americans. The second poll is a Quinnipiac University poll on New York State, where Empire State’ers support cutting state worker pay and pensions, but nothing else.
In short, we’re not up for making any sacrifices at all, at least according to polls. There is no answer to the question “what would you like to see cut” that won’t either piss off or at least alienate a significant part of the electorate. If that’s the case, then why are we messing around, electing politicians to cut things we don’t want cut?