Government Spending

Reason-Rupe Poll: Americans Want to Cut Spending—Q&A with Emily Ekins on new Reason Rupe Public Opinion Survey


Reason's Matt Welch, coauthor of the new book, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, talks with Emily Ekins, Reason's polling director, about what the new Reason Rupe Public Opinion Survey tells us about how Americans think about federal spending, and debt.

Ekins argues that Americans primarily want to cut spending, not raise revenue, to deal with the debt crisis. 

"[Americans] believe that [cutting spending] will…do more to help the economy than hurt," Ekins says. "Fifty-seven percent believe that, where as only 20% believe that it would mostly harm the economy."

The Reason-Rupe survey is online here and here (pdf).

This Reason Foundation project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. 

Shot by Jim Epstein and Joshua Swain; edited by Epstein. About 7 minutes.

Go to for downloadable versions, and subscribe to's YouTube Channel to recieve automatic updates when new material goes live.

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  1. I’m old, gimme gimme gimme.

    1. Sorry for the threadjack, but check out this happening-now slander at

      “Why libertarians apologize for autocracy” by Michael Lind

      1. I posted this in the morning links — you’re late.

    1. Only in Government can you fail your way up the ladder.

    2. …and golden shower on the plebes beneath you.

    3. Hey wait, can’t we stimulate the economy by breaking more glass ceilings? I thought that’s how this worked.

  2. But they say I’ll lose my [insert welfare program here]!!!!!1111one

  3. What we need is an Emily Ekins montage. Feel free to add anything she’s commented on, I’ll probably just have the sound off anyway.

  4. Related: No links yet, but it looks like the Fed is heading towards more QE. Third times a charm.

    1. When you try the same exact thing twice with the same exact results, don’t you start to believe that perhaps what you’re doing isn’t having the desired effect?

      1. Not when your job depends on “just do *SOMETHING* already” can-do spirit… that and you won’t suffer from any adverse consequences of your actions.

        1. What do you expect, Name Nomad? They can’t just stand there!

        2. I think it’s more sinister than that. I sincerely believe that this is a move calculated to inflate GDP so that everyone can point and say “Hey look, no double dip recession!” Meanwhile, all he’s doing is stalling any meaningful recovery.

          Of course, I could be wrong, and Bernanke could simply be as dumb as he portrays himself.

          1. Plenty of lefty Keynesian notables are explicitly calling for more QE to create a higher inflation rate so nominal GDP looks better.

            How this is supposed to help anyone whose job doesn’t depend on what the nominal GDP number looks like is a little mysterious to me.

            1. It will also help debtors out quite a bit, as the true value of their debt is diminished.

              1. And thereby reduce the effective amount of capital available for investment.

              2. Of course as buying power decreases, so do profits, investments, and JOBZ!!!. And the ever downward spiral of madness continues.

              3. Zero-sum game, Baked P. The help for debtors is offset by the harm to creditors.

                As inflation rises, so does the cost of capital. Which makes this a net loss for everyone.

            2. You don’t really need all these contortions. Just redefine how GDP and inflation is calculated and you can easily manipulate the numbers. Isn’t this how it’s usually done?

      2. You mean removing money from the economy, taking a bunch off the top to pay a burdensome bureaucracy, then distributing that reduced amount back into the economy to politically favored friends will not have a stimulative effect?
        It’s intended to be stimulative.
        I thought all that mattered was good intentions.

        1. No no no no! You have it all wrong! We’re printing money to give to our politcally favored friends, thereby reducing the general public’s wealth while lining our own pockets. It’ll eventually stimulate the economy. Promise.

          1. You’re talking about when the Fed buys bonds and pays for them with funny money.

            Selling bonds to investors removes money from the economy.
            There is also the opportunity cost when that money is not invested in a business or not deposited into a band to be made available to be borrowed by a business.

            But those people wouldn’t have invested in the right things.
            Only government can do that.

            1. Somehow I knew the evil INVESTORS and SPECULATORS were behind this! We should illegalize speculation and have $200 loaves of bread during the winter!!

            2. Through the looking glass indeed. Sad that so many people really believe that government can make the right investments and the people can’t. The exact opposite is the reality. Power to the people.

              1. “Power to the people.”

                Except that those who say that the loudest honestly feel that that means giving power to the government.
                They feel that government represents them. The little guy. In the fight against the evil wealthy capitalists.
                Except that those very same evil rich people control the government.
                But never fear!
                If we give more power to the government that is controlled by rich people we can use it to control the rich people.
                Wait a minute.
                I mean. Government is us. We are government. We vote, right?
                So if we vote to have the government to control the rich people who control it, then it will…
                I mean…

                1. Don’t worry, that little logic loop will work its way out somehow. You just need the right people in charge of your thinking for you.

    1. I too think Matt is a very attractive man.

      1. Uhhhh… No?

        1. It’s OK to admit your Welch-lust. This is a safe place and free of judgment, sarcasmic.

          1. Matt Damon maybe. I’ve never been into the nerdy types.

            1. Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It.

          2. “Welch-lust” sounds like a beverage. Germanic in origin. Goes great with pork.

  5. Is this another “Americans strongly support cutting government spending on other people” poll?

    Because I think that’s pretty well established already. Probably should be spending your Reason-Rupe dollars on something else.

    1. A+.

      When the plebs realize that cutting spending means less for them (nevermind that it’s less of nothing) the freakout will begin.

    2. This is what I came to say, and RC Dean has said it. Thank you, RC.

      That is all.

    3. So let me see –

      no raising taxes = don’t raise taxes on me specifically.

      cutting gvt spending = take away the other guys apple pies.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we are screwed.

  6. “Fifty-seven percent believe that [cutting spending will help improve the economy], where as only 20% believe that it would mostly harm the economy.”

    No surprise, 20% of the American people receive some sort of stipend from government. So when they agree that “cutting spending” will hurt “the economy,” they really mean their!

  7. Off-topic, but as mentioned in the Morning links, another eye witness has come forward in the Fullerton police killing. And everyone thinks this is good.

    But here’s the thing, didn’t we just read here at Reason the something like 30% of eyewitness testimony is wrong?

    1. That was in the context of identifying someone in a lineup or from a picture.
      We know who the actors are in this play.

    2. something like 30% of eyewitness testimony is wrong

      Silly rabbit. It’s always “right” when it supports a libertarian hypothesis. What good is propaganda if it doesn’t skew an argument in favor of the propagandist?

  8. Too bad they don’t have things like recordings of the event in question.


    Why am I posting those?

    No reason.

    1. Que some idiot saying she needs a sandwich in 3… 2…

      1. Oh, not this one. Tiny redheads are the best kind.

      2. I stand by my saying the last chick needed sandwiches, though. There’s a difference between a girl who’s built to be tiny and one who starves herself into storkishness.

        1. LeAnn Rimes is tore up from the floor up. A sandwich really is the least of her worries. Country music’s own Lindsey Lohan.

          1. There was another recent one, where somebody linked to a blog that proclaimed that some chick was the hottest on the planet. I said that she needed to have some damn boobs before she could vie for that title. I’m fairly sure I linked to Unknown Hinson as evidence, which is something I really should do more often.

            “It’s a fact?womerns likes mens that shoots guns and sings Country Western music.”

        2. Aha. I was confused about the LeAnn Rimes bikini pictures, because to my untrained eye there wasn’t much difference between that and, say, a Victoria’s Secret model, plus or minus a few visible ribs/hip bones. The forced skinnyness vs. natural small frame makes a bit more sense.

          1. Victoria Secret also had Laetitia Casta as a model. Last I saw, she did not need a sandwich.

          2. Pettite is good. Emaciated is not so good.


    I could do this all day.

    1. fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap…

      1. So can Pip, apparently.

        1. There is no sandwich needed here, other than her and an equally hot friend of hers.

  11. But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

    Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law ? which may be an isolated case ? is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

    The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

    Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

  12. Perry ss. Obama @22-years-old:…..omparison/

      1. Are you saying that Rick Perry wasn’t in the SS at 22?

  13. 100% have a positive view of Emily Ekins.

  14. I tried it and it works ? thanks a million!

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