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Americans Upset Over Government Spending

Taiu Kunimoto |
July 16, 2013 | 12:16 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

From Gallup.com
From Gallup.com
The Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 decreased the GDP by 5.1% and inflated the unemployment rate by up to 10%. Despite the recent improvement in both employment rate and poverty rate, American citizens remain frustrated over the U.S.’s slow economic recovery.

According to a new gallup poll regarding national satisfaction with the work of the federal government, most Americans are unhappy with how the governmental has handled the nation’s finances and addressed issues of poverty.

The poll, which reflects the opinions of 1,009 adults from all 50 U.S. states, shows that 85 percent of the population is feels dissatisfied with the nation’s finances. This is nine percent lower than financial approval ratings collected in 2005. 

Poverty and labor/employment issues also ranked high on the dissatisfaction scale, earning 80 percent and 72 percent disapproval respectively.

On the other hand, the U.S. government’s quick response to natural disasters received the most satisfactory ratings among its citizens, with a 75 percent approval rating.

“The financial crisis and slow recovery along with the growing federal debt are likely factors in Americans' poorer assessment of the government's performance,” said the poll analyst from gallup. “The still somewhat-sluggish economy and ballooning federal debt are likely reasons Americans are mostly dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the national’s finances and its efforts on job creation and economic growth, and labor and employment issues.” 

With the current economic recovery, many Americans are looking forward to seeing greater tax revenues improve the national balance sheet.

“There is too much national debt piling up and military spending is off the charts,” Peter Lee, an undergraduate research assistant from UCLA told a reporter. “The huge deficit is spiking up our income tax way too much.” 

The U.S. government could help ameliorate the situation by cutting back spending in specific areas, but people are fiercely divided along party lines as to what parts of the budget should be cut. Additionally, spending cuts run the risk of reducing the quality of service in sectors that have won the public’s support, further lowering public approval.

“Every dollar that the government spends necessarily means one less dollar in the productive sector of the economy,” wrote Daniel J. Mitchell, Ph.D., an economist from George Mason University. “[The displacement cost] dampens growth since economic forces guide the allocation of resources in the private sector.”

Although the public is currently very supportive of national disaster responses, displacement costs could prevent the U.S. from being able to maintain its strong record of immediately helping to remedy dangerous situations.

As with most complex situations, there is no clear-cut solution for how to enhance the nation's finances while pleasing everyone, but this study shows that clearly something has to change. 

Contact Staff Reporter Taiu Kunimoto here



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