A new USA Today/Pew Research Center poll finds that 70% of respondents agree that significant action to reduce the federal budget deficit this year should be a priority. It topped a list of issues that included gun control, immigration and climate change.
There is broad agreement that major legislation to reduce the federal budget deficit is essential this year. Seven-in-ten (70%) express this view, including 81% of Republicans, 70% of independents and 65% of Democrats. And when it comes to the focus for the next steps in deficit reduction, about three-quarters of the public (76%) say that the president and Congress should focus on a combination of both spending cuts and tax increases; just 19% say the focus should only be on cuts and 3% say it should only be on taxes.
Meanwhile, another USA Today survey, this one of top economists, finds that “64% say a deal that would close tax loopholes, change policies such as the way Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation, and curtail Medicare and Medicaid spending growth would help the economy ‘some’ or ‘a lot’' in 2014.” Although the same survey also finds that many economists are less optimistic that such a deal will happen.
At the same time, other organizations are joining the call for a sensible deficit reduction plan. Third Way calls for replacing the sequester with a package of $1.9 trillion in deficit reduction (before interest savings) in order to address the mounting debt. The plan includes reforms to entitlements and additional revenues through tax reform.
Additionally, the Committee for Economic Development calls for replacing the sequester with a smarter package evenly divided between spending cuts and revenue increases. It also calls for fundamental tax and entitlement reform to help put the debt on a downward path.
These proposals come on the heels of the recent Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget analysis indicating that $2.4 trillion of additional deficit reduction over the next decade is required. And they join the new framework from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. Check out an op-ed on the proposal from Simpson that is a part of an online debate that allows you to participate by commenting and voting on the arguments.