A majority of Americans would rather see higher taxes on the wealthy before cuts are made to public services according to a survey conducted by the polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs and released Monday by the National Treasury Employees Union.
“Some political rhetoric would have you believe that Americans today have an ‘austerity at any cost’ view of the federal budget,” Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement. “The fact is that most Americans, when asked about specific services, believe the government should invest more in providing such services. Regardless of party affiliation, respondents believe in the importance of adequate resources and manpower for vital public services and the need for the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share to retain those services.”
Two-thirds of the respondents in the survey agreed with this statement:“Congress should raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans before cutting funding for public services such as food and drug safety and border security.”
According to the survey, 86 percent of respondents want to see more federal resources committed to veterans assistance, 72 percent supported more funding for border security, 69 percent wanted more resources for food safety and 58 percent wanted more money for nuclear safety programs.
Programs that many Americans depend upon were highlighted in the survey for they remind the public about what could be lost by major cuts to the federal budget.
“We want people to make that connection,” said Kelley said in a conference call with reporters after the poll was released.
Only 40 percent of survey participants were aware that federal employees have already contributed to deficit reduction through a two-year pay freeze and increases in retirement contributions by new hires. These cuts already amount to $75 billion.
The survey was conducted during the first week of August with a randomly selected sample of 1,000 adults 18 and older across the country who were interviewed by telephone using land lines and cellphones. The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.