Americans want government to do less, not more
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has an OWS problem. He has taken more money from Wall Street than any other Democratic Senator ($8.8 million), but liberals have fallen in love with the Occupy Wall Street movement. So what does Schumer do? He tells The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent that Democrats plan to fully embrace Occupy Wall Street. Sargent reports:
“The number one fact of our political economy for the last decade is declining middle class incomes,” Schumer said. … “But in 2010 Democrats were not seen as focusing on those issues, but rather seen as focused on health care, which was the right thing to do, but the benefits were not well understood by most voters. Republicans came in and said, `We can solve your problem by shrinking government.’”
“We tried their theory,” Schumer continued. “The American people resent government paralysis, but most of them would say that government is doing too little to help them, not too much.”
There is so much wrong with this paragraph. First of all, as the recent Congressional Budget Office report on income inequality shows, the middle 60 percent of Americans saw their income rise by 40 percent over the last three decades. True, incomes of the top 1 percent of households grew by far more over the same time frame, but a 40 percent increase is not a decline.
Second, as hard as Republicans have pushed, the shrinking government “theory” has not been tried. According to the latest Congressional Budget Office estimates, the federal government is set to spend $3.6 trillion in 2011, up from $3.456 trillion in 2010. That is an increase, not a decrease in government spending. And Investors Business Daily‘s John Merline notes that state government’s haven’t cut back spending either: “Total state outlays in 2010 were almost 10% higher than in 2008, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers’ annual State Expenditure Report.”
Finally, pollsters have been asking Americans if they believe the federal government has been doing “too much” or “too little” since before the crisis began. The overwhelming verdict? Americans want a less intrusive government. In September, Gallup asked: “Do you think the federal government has too much power, too little power, or the right amount of power?” A clear majority, 57%, said the federal government had too much power, another 35% said it had the right amount, and only 8% said it had too little power.
CNN asked a similar question in June: “Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that the government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?” Sixty-three percent of Americans said government does too many things, while 33% said government does too little.