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Reason Alert: New Reason-Rupe Poll on Spending and Debt

96 Percent of Americans Say Reducing the Debt Is Important, 74 Percent Want a Government Spending Cap

May 6, 2011

Reason Alert – May 6, 2011

- New Reason-Rupe Poll
- Bollywood vs. Bin Laden: Radical Islam Is Losing the Culture War
- What Can Politicians Do About Gas Prices?
- New at Reason

New Reason-Rupe Poll: 96 Percent of Americans Say Reducing the Debt Is Important,
74 Percent Want a Government Spending Cap
Reason Foundation has partnered with the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation to launch a new poll examining the Americans’ attitudes about policy issues and government. The first Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey finds:

-96 percent of Americans say it is important to reduce the national debt, including 69 percent who say it is “very important.”

-74 percent of Americans support, and just 19 percent oppose, implementing a spending cap that would prohibit the government from spending more money than it takes in during a fiscal year.

-58 percent of voters believe they’d either see “no difference” or be “better off” if Congress were only in session every other year.

-80 percent of Americans say they will or may consider voting for a third-party or independent presidential candidate in 2012. And an even higher number of independents (89 percent) and GOP voters (86 percent) say they will or may consider candidates outside of the two major political parties.

-When given the open-ended opportunity to name any government program they’d like to spend less money on 22 percent of Americans suggest cutting military and defense spending. Welfare (10 percent) and foreign aid (10 percent) were the other most-named cuts.

-When asked, open-ended, what the government should spend more money on, 39 percent say education, 16 percent focus on helping the poor and needy, and 13 percent single out health care.

- 56 percent of Americans support replacing the current income tax system with a flat tax.

-50 percent of Americans believe that public sector workers receive better benefits that those with similar jobs in the private sector, but only 37 percent support cutting those public employee benefits to help balance state budgets.

-69 percent of Americans believe medical marijuana policy should be left to the states and 41 percent believe marijuana should be legalized.
More About the Reason-Rupe Poll
Complete Poll Results (.pdf)

Bollywood vs. Bin Laden: Radical Islam Is Losing the Culture War
As Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia explains, Bollywood movies and videos appeal to young men and women in Muslim and Arab countries because they dramatize the sorts of tensions between traditional and modern ways of living. "Who should decide who one should marry - is it the parents or is it the boys and girls themselves?" asks the Indian-born and raised Dalmia. "In the West, in Hollywood movies, it's not even an issue. But it's a huge issue in that part of the world and all of the Bollywood movies deal with that one central question." Dalmia also notes that Muslims are among the most popular performers in Bollywood productions. "When you have Muslims succeeding in Bollywood as Muslims, it makes them feel, well, we don't have to give up our religion in order to be modern," observes Dalmia. "That's very, very subversive...of Islamic demands and Islamic extremism....If you can have a good time in this world...and still be religious, why do you have to strap suicide bombs to your chest and blow yourself up?"
Full Coverage of the Osama Bin Laden Killing
What Bin Laden's Death Means for the War on Terror
Did the Killing of Osama Bin Laden Violate U.S. Law?
The Policy of Targeting Killings by the Government
Detailing the Decade of Financial Costs of Getting Bin Laden
Nick Gillespie: Bin Laden Killing and Why Americans Hate Politicians and the Media
Radley Balko: Why Osama Won
Friday Funnies: The End of Bin Laden

What Can Politicians Do About Gas Prices?
Spring and summer usually bring higher gas prices. And higher gas prices usually prompt both political parties to promise to “do something” about them. Reason magazine’s Ronald Bailey writes: “President Barack Obama has ordered his minions in the executive branch to ‘round up the usual suspects’ to investigate oil and gas markets for evidence of fraud or illegal manipulation in pushing pump prices up. It’s sad to see the man who promised ‘hope and change’ engaging in the same cynical political posturing as his predecessors. For example, back in 2006, the Federal Trade Commission investigated gas price increases in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing by oil and pipeline companies or refiners. Bold prediction: The Obama administration’s new investigation will also be unable to find any substantial amount of oil market misbehavior. Of course, explaining that gasoline prices are going up because of oil prices leaves unanswered the question: Why are oil prices going up?”
John Stossel: Gas Prices and the Free Market
Can Higher Gas Prices Be a Good Thing?

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Complete May Issue of Reason Online Now

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch's New Book: Declaration of Independents

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