As I think I mentioned a couple months back, I'm taking a bit if a break from partisan political activity. But I guess I am incapable of taking too much of a break from my sixteen-year obsession with the need to get the public better information about where tax dollars go.
I don't know how I missed this, but in April both Rasmussen and the Economist did polls on this topic. Rasmussen asked people, straight up, if they thought it was true or false that over 50% of the Federal budget goes to Social Security, Medicare and defense. (It is true.) 44% said 'no'; 35% said 'yes'; the rest didn't know.
The Economist asked people if they'd rather cut spending or raise taxes, 62% said cut spending. Then they gave people a list of things and asked them if they wanted to cut them. Only one category - foreign aid - drew even 30% support for cuts. Over 70% wanted to cut foreign aid. But only 17% wanted to cut "aid to the poor"; 22% wanted to cut defense; 11% Medicaid; less than 10% Social Security and Medicare.
As I've said before: I don't think Americans are hypocrites. I don't think Americans are stupid. I just don't think political types - in either party, at least on the national level - have made it a priority to let people know how their money is being spent. Which is kind of weird, because, given that Americans seem, at least at first blush, to approve of all the major categories of spending, wouldn't the party in power always have an incentive to say "hey, we're spending on your priorities"?
Anyway ... Until we do let people know where their tax dollars go, neither party will have the right to honestly claim that the public is with them on bigger government vs. smaller government.