trends spendspending p00spending p0spending p1spending p2overall spending trends

  • Despite a dislike of taxes (e.g. in 2014, 57.0% said their own federal income tax was too high, 39.0% about right, 1.6% too low, and 2.4% don’t know), more people have always favored increases in spending than cuts.
  • In 2014, as in most years since the 1970s, people have backed more spending in about four-fifths of the areas and less spending in only the bottom quintile.
  • Moreover, the number of areas with positive net spending scores not only outnumbered areas with negative scores, but are also larger. In 2014, the largest negative score (-61.7 for Foreign Aid) was bested by the top positive score (Education +66.6) and other top positive scores were well above the other negative scores.
  • The level of support has however waxed and waned over the decades.
  • Support for both overall spending and domestic social spending declined from the early 1970s to the early 1980s before rebounding to a peak in 1990.
  • Then support again fell off to lows in 1994-1996.
  • After that support again picked up with overall spending peaking in 2006 and domestic social spending topping off in 2008. Both scales fell during the economic downturn.
  • The over-spending score has started to rise again, but support for domestic social spending has not recovered.
  • Currently Education is clearly the public’s top spending priority with a very high score (+67) that is above even other very popular areas like Halting Crime, Assistance to the Poor the Environment, Social Security, Dealing with Drug Addiction, and Alternative Energy (+46 to +53).