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article imageStudy: Americans can fix budget better than Congress

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 3, 2011 in Politics
Ordinary Americans would be able to fix the national budget as well or better than members of Congress, according to new research. When officials in government say they can’t fix the deficit, some might say just bring in the average Joe to help out.
Americans' ability to reduce the deficit by their own recommendations has reached news media, already picking it from press releases in various venues. That’s because the average American is interested in the economy and the future of the outlook ahead.
The findings come on the heels of the President’s Fiscal Commission and its December-released proposal for fixing the deficit. They called that “the moment of truth.”
The average American’s responses to fixing the budget, found by the research to do quite well in bringing good recommendations, comes also after members of Congress had responded to the recommendations of the Commission, like the following from Representative Xavier Becerra
“I do not believe this report sufficiently targeted for reform the principal drivers of
our current deficits. We must face up to the decisions of the past which contributed significantly to our current debt and deficits (see Appendix 1, which shows components of projected federal deficits). We sent our troops to war and never paid for it. We passed an unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit for our seniors and never paid for it. And we cut taxes for the wealthy in a time of war and recession and never paid for it. These
actions taken by Congress and the previous Administration helped turn a record $5 trillion projected 10-year surplus into record deficits.”
Research tells us average Americans, given the figures and information, could deal with the economic challenges outlined by this disappointed Congressman. Given their conclusions, it might certainly raise questions about why Congress cannot seem to balance the budget and find answers to help the future of the economy if average Americans could.
The goal is to reduce the deficit and resolve the Social Security shortfall. That was the mission given the respondents during the research. Results indicated they had answers that could make a significant difference in the budget.
Respondents were given an opportunity to examine information presented by those conducting the research through the Program on Public Consultation (PPC). This organization is affiliated with the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. What these respondents were able to do was to cut the discretionary budget that is projected for 2015 by 70 percent. At the same time they were able to solve the shortfall to Social Security and reduce the Medicare shortfall as well.
This is what Steven Kull, director of PPC, said about these results, "When given information and a chance to sort through their options, most Americans do a pretty good job of dealing with America's budget problems—better than most politicians."
More about Budget cuts, Budget deficit, Fiscal Commission, Congress, Representative Xavier Becerra
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