Californians object to increasing taxes in order to pare the state's massive budget deficit, and instead favor closing the breach through spending cuts. But they oppose cuts—and even prefer more spending—on programs that make up 85% of the state's general fund obligations, a new Los Angeles Times/USC Poll has found.
That paradox rests on Californians' firm belief that the state's deficit—estimated last week at nearly $25 billion over the next 18 months—can be squared through trimming waste and inefficiencies rather than cutting the programs they hold dear. Despite tens of billions that have been cut from the state budget in recent years, just a quarter of California voters believed that state services would have to be curtailed to close the deficit.
I remember reading a study which first asked voters if they believed foreign aid should be cut -- the answer being a resounding "yes". The next question was how much the respondents believed we spent on foreign aid -- an amount they overstated dramatically. Finally, when asked how much we should spend on foreign aid, they gave a figure that was something like triple what we spend currently.