Country Tunes Out Budget Cut Drama

Country Tunes Out Budget Cut Drama

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Maybe it has something to do with the term “sequester,” but a new Pew/USA Today poll shows a quarter of Americans have never even heard about $85 billion in budget cuts slated for March 1.The respondents who were familiar with the cuts said Congress should delay them, while 40 percent said they should go into effect.

The poll also found that 76 percent of respondents support a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit, while just 19 percent agree with the Republican’s current position that raising taxes should be off the table.  -  See the poll here

THE GOP SAYS SPENDING IS THE PROBLEM… Republicans are pointing to a new poll by the Tarrance Group that found 79 percent of respondents say spending is the problem, not taxes. But voters always say spending is the problem in the abstract. Their opinions change once the cuts get detailed, most political strategists note. So what you have is GOP strategy that depends on being vague, and a Democratic approach that hinges on being uber-specific.  - See the poll here

…BUT THE PRESIDENT IS WINNING THE POPULARITY CONTEST    The president is enjoying his highest rating since 2009 of 55 percent, while Congressional Republicans are sinking to their lowest approval rating of 35 percent in nearly three years, according to Bloomberg News.  The majority of respondents said they believe Obama’s proposals will create more jobs than the GOP’s call for cuts.  -  See the poll results here

PENTAGON SOUNDS ALARM A BIT TOO LOUDLY     The Defense Department’s widespread panic about the sequester—furloughs, less military training—is being a bit overstated. The Fiscal Times’ David Francis reports that the Pentagon was going to face cutbacks at some point: “Even people who closely follow the Pentagon believe the military is due for a drawdown. During the Iraq and Afghan wars, DOD’s budget swelled from $379.9 billion in 2004 to nearly $800 billion today.”
Read more at The Fiscal Times

CUTS COULD CHOP 10 PERCENT OFF JOBLESS BENEFITS     If Congress allows the sequester cuts to take effect next week, 3.8 million Americans collecting long-term unemployment benefits could see their payments reduced by 10 percent. That translates on average to a $400 loss of the jobless who’ve already exhausted the six months of standard benefits.  -  Read more at CNN

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.