81 Percent of Independents, 59 Percent of Democrats Say the Federal Government Spends Too Much


As Congress heads towards a possible government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30,  the new Reason-Rupe poll finds 76 percent of Americans believe the federal government spends too much money. Just 11 percent say the federal government is spending the right amount of money and 6 percent of respondents think the government isn't spending enough money.

Overwhelming numbers — 90 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents, and even 59 percent of Democrats believe the federal government is spending too much money. 


Nationwide telephone poll conducted September 4-8 2013 interviewed 1013 adults on both mobile (509) and landline (504) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results found here. Full methodology can be found here.

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  1. Is this a change?

    Did Dems and Indies use to believe that it wasn’t spending enough?

    If this is a change, when did this change?

  2. Well of course they do. Some facts:

    JFK’s federal budget in a nation of 180 million Americans: $100B, over half of which was for defense at the peak of the Cold War.

    Today in a nation of 330 million: $3800B. We can population adjust JFK’s $100B (330/180) and we can adjust for inflation (x7.5). Let’s be generous and call population (x2.0) so JFK’s $100B adjusts to maybe $1500B today. We’re at $3800B. That is not ‘a little’ more, that’s ‘alot more’ — and remember, over half of JFK’s $100B was for defense. We are at 71% of JFK’s adjusted defense spending; indeed the Cold War is over. Yet we are at over 250% of his adjusted total spending, including defense. Our federal overhead is over $2.3T above JFK’s adjusted spending. Feel stimulated yet? Because it was JFK’s economies that roared, not ours. Compare the outlook of the graduating class of 1963 vs the graduating class of 2013. What species does -this- to their young?

    JFK’s AMerica paid for its SS obligations.

    JFK’s AMerica built IKE’s Interstates.

    JFK’s AMerica went to the Moon.

    JFK’s America righted old Civil Rights Wrongs.

    JFK’s America had economies that roared.

    JFK’s AMerica did all that with JFK’s $100B of federal overhead.

  3. We wish, but normalization to GDP as defined is a political assertion; only in a nation with centrally planned command and control ‘the’ economy would it be reasonable to scale government spending to GDP. In a free nation, the sign of an efficiently running government is an every year decreasing % of federal overhead as a fraction of GDP, not constant or God forbid, increasing.

    JFK’s era was 3 years before the introduction by IBM of the 029 keypunch; why should we expect increases in productivity only in the private sector? We assumed a -decrease- in productivity by scaling JFK’s $100B by population and inflation, and still came up $2.3T/yr in short in explaining the current out of all control federal gluttony.

    Consider all of the great accomplishements of federal government; Land Grant Teachers Colleges, Panama Canal, Hoover Dam, TVA, WWI, WWII, Korea, Mercury/Gemini/Apollo, Interstates, Civil Rights Acts.

    Each and every one accomplished contemporaneously with or prior to JFK and his $100B in federal overhead.

    Name one thing that this current federal government is doing with an extra $2.3T/yr in spending that will be thought well of in five months, much less five decades.

    Too much? Ya think?

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