Andrew Kohut doesn’t know how to read his own data

Dean Baker points out that the Villagers see what they want to see in a new poll:

That arguably should have been the headline of a Post segment discussing the release of new polling data from the Pew Research Center, which Kohut heads. The Center’s poll asked people a series of questions about the budget, taxes, and various programs. Most people answered that they viewed the deficit as a major concern. They were also strongly supportive of all major areas of federal spending with the exception of the military. In the case of military spending, there were almost equal numbers of people favoring cuts as increases. In the case of Medicare and Social Security, those favoring increases outnumbered those supporting cuts by more than 3 to 1.

In the case of Social Security, an overwhelming majority of respondents said that they supported raising the cap on taxable wages (currently $110,000). In addition, an overwhelming majority also said that they would rather see the tax rate increased than face a cut in benefits.

The conclusion of the Post piece tells readers:

“But ultimately, despite listing the deficit as a priority, most Americans — about 60 percent in a 2011 poll — would prefer to maintain benefits than take steps to reduce federal spending. As Kohut explains, this puts legislators in a real bind: ‘They are dealing with a public that is demanding solution to a problem which it has declared to be a major priority, but at the same time Americans are resistant, or divided at best, on the sacrifices that would be required to achieve a solution.'”

Contrary to what Kohut asserted, legislators are not in a bind if they want to follow public opinion. They can easily deal with the problems facing Social Security by raising the cap on taxable wages and phasing in an increase in tax rates over many decades in the future. If ordinary workers again share in the economy’s productivity growth, as the Social Security trustees projections assume, these tax increases would be a small fraction of future wage gains.

The public didn’t “demand” solutions to the deficit — a carefully orchestrated campaign by conservative interests and the media convinced them the sky was falling. The media is just as capable of reversing that as they were of creating it – but that, of course, isn’t what they and their corporate owners want.

4 thoughts on “Andrew Kohut doesn’t know how to read his own data

  1. Forty-three years ago I got a Social Security Card and went to work on a cattle ranch a hundred miles the other side of Burns. When I first cashed that first paycheck, I entered into a social contract with The United States Government – specifically that if I pay into the system for the next forty-five or fifty years, then after forty-five or fifty years of paying into the system the system will pay me back. I faithfully met my part of the contract, I faithfully paid into the system.

    Now the government wants to take away what I’ve paid for the past forty-three years, just seven years short of honoring its end of the social contract… to steal it from me and give to the bankers, the trustfunders. Violate the social contract we entered into forty-three years ago. Rip me off, and give it away.

    Be forewarned, take from me what I have in good faith paid into the system, and I will no longer consider myself a part of this country, nor bound to its laws, its standards or its mores. Rip me off, and I will collectively rip you a new asshole.

    Who better to fight the revolution, than a dishonored Vietnam Veteran?

  2. When Romney and most Republicans say the USA will be “just like Greece”, they do mean it: A small number of monstrously rich who pay little to nothing in taxes and a vast number of modestly OK, struggling small business people, the middle class mostly pushed down into poverty and barely scraping by, the previous poor now grievously poor.

    The Repubs WANT a US which looks like Greece, but as it is NOW, with shrinking and destroyed social programs. As it is now after the imposition of austerity by the EU Banksters an their enablers and protectors, Merkel and the now out of office Sarkozy and Berlusconi.

    They want –and Obama works for much the same, with just a bit less obviousness– Corporatism with the few UberWealthy, the small and preciously situation professional class, and a vast lower class mired in poverty or just a fingernail above it.

    Romney is up front about forcing the US to sell off its great national treasures — or at least sell the resource rights and to hell with how that effects the environment of the beauty of these places. Unless some Dot Zero One Percenter has a place which might despoiled, then envionmentla laws are useful, but only then. Greece is being told it must do whatever it can to pay the Banksters, that if necessary it has to sell off its national treasures. It pains him deeply that all SocSec money is out there not providing huge profits to his ilk; this is a wrong he must right.

    Oh, they do want us to be just like Greece.

    Occupy made them crazy, because it brought to the public’s attention that we are well on our way to becoming the Post-Austerity Greece. We have achieved the small UberWealthy Tippy-Top One Percenters.

    Obama worked to silence Occupy, get it off the front pages, pressured Democratic mayors and governors to root it out of their areas. He knew their message worked against cementing the power of the UberWealthy.

    I knew –I wrote here and at other lefty blogs– that Obama would not be a good president. I never dreamed in my worst nightmares that he would be this bad. (However, I don’t remember many of my dreams….)

  3. Ten Bears — who be our US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar supplying our activists and rebels with arms (also sat phones, encryption, Special Ops training and support, etc.) and also the all important long term propaganda campaign to build world opinion against the US “regime,” as has been done in Syria?

    Here, it will be much, much more difficult. While the US is the world hegemon and pretty reckless about using its power, it still has lots of good PR built up. Syria and Assad are easy targets.

    However, some in power have figured out the people might try to revolt — might be why police have been so heavily weaponized and militarized.

  4. I got nothin’ left to lose, man. The cops gunning me down is a far better prospect compared to what I’m lookin’ forward to. And if somebody has to die to ensure my grandkids future, it might as well be me.

    Problem is, as I read ’round the net there’s no one out there with balls as big as mine. Fucking cowards complain till the cows come home, but that’s all they do… complain. Which is why the Fascists have won.

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