Voters Remain Deeply Concerned about Fiscal Irresponsibility in Washington

January 7, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – Voters remain deeply concerned about Washington’s wanton ways when it comes to spending and want leaders to take corrective action, a new survey by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation finds.

The survey was conducted in December, just as Congress and the White House were agreeing to a 2020 spending plan that will push the federal deficit above $1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year.

The data is fed into an index — the Fiscal Confidence Index — which is modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index.

In December the Index stood at 45 (100 is neutral), indicating the public views the government’s unsustainable spending as a grave concern.

The December index also showed broad bipartisan and cross-generational agreement that the debt should be a top priority for Congress and the president.

Nearly eight in 10 voters (77%) want addressing the debt to be a top-three priority, including a 2019-high of 52% who “strongly agree.” 

Fiscal concern spans party lines, with 70% of Democrats, 76% of independents and 84% of Republicans agreeing that it should be a top-three priority.

That goal is also shared among 76% of those ages 18 to 44, 77% of those ages 45 to 64, and 76% of those older than 65 years.

“As another unfortunate year of fiscal irresponsibility comes to a close, voters are sending a clear message to Washington that they want fiscal leadership,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peterson Foundation.

“While lawmakers are adding red ink, voters are calling for them to manage the debt, invest in our future and address national challenges. Getting our fiscal house in order is essential to maintaining our economic prosperity and leadership role in the world,” he said.

The Fiscal Confidence Index measures public opinion about the national debt by asking six questions in three key areas:

  • CONCERN: Level of concern and views about the direction of the national debt.
  • PRIORITY: How high a priority addressing the debt should be for elected leaders.
  • EXPECTATIONS: Expectations about whether the debt situation will get better or worse in the next few years.

The survey results from these three areas are weighted equally and averaged to produce the Fiscal Confidence Index value. The Fiscal Confidence Index, like the Consumer Confidence Index, is indexed on a scale of 0 to 200, with a neutral midpoint of 100. A reading above 100 indicates positive sentiment. A reading below 100 indicates negative sentiment.

Fiscal Confidence Index Key Data Points:

  • The December 2019 Fiscal Confidence Index value is 45. (The November value was 45. The October value was 54.)
  • The current Fiscal Confidence Index score for CONCERN about the debt is 47, indicating deep concern about the debt. The score for debt as a PRIORITY that leaders must address is 23, indicating that Americans want elected leaders to make addressing long-term debt a high priority. The score for EXPECTATIONS about progress on the debt is 65. The Fiscal Confidence Index is the average of these three sub-category scores.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation commissioned this poll by the Global Strategy Group and North Star Opinion Research to survey public opinion on the national debt. The online poll included 1,001 registered voters nationwide, surveyed between December 16, 2019 and December 19, 2019. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The poll examined voters’ opinions on the national debt, political leadership, and America’s fiscal and economic health.

Detailed poll results can be found here.

Federal Budget

Reps Push Child Tax Credit Expansion But Watchdog Says 'Not So Fast'
Federal Budget
Reps Push Child Tax Credit Expansion But Watchdog Says 'Not So Fast'
February 9, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - House Democrats renewed their push to permanently expand and "improve" the Child Tax Credit, but a prominent fiscal watchdog warns that while the proposal deserves consideration, it must be fully paid for under the House PAYGO rules and not simply rolled into the next... Read More

Will Congress Revamp Reconciliation to Quickly Pass Biden COVID Relief Plan?
Congress
Will Congress Revamp Reconciliation to Quickly Pass Biden COVID Relief Plan?
January 26, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - It's the buzzword of everyone wanting to bypass GOP resistance and pass President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, and it could upend decades of precedent when it comes to the federal budget process. The word is "reconciliation," and according to the Congressional... Read More

House Releases $2.3 Trillion Government Spending and Virus Relief Bill
Congress
House Releases $2.3 Trillion Government Spending and Virus Relief Bill
December 21, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., released the text of a $2.3 trillion omnibus spending bill Monday afternoon consisting of all 12 fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, $900 billion coronavirus relief, and other authorizations. In addition to the COVID relief package, it includes... Read More

House Passes Stopgap Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown
Congress
House Passes Stopgap Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown
December 9, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The House has passed a week-long stopgap bill to keep the government open through Dec. 18 so lawmakers can continue to negotiate both a longer-term spending package and coronavirus relief. The bill passed 343-67. If the stopgap measure hadn't been adopted, funding for the... Read More

Stopgap Readied Amid Year-End Budget, Virus Aid Scramble
Political News
Stopgap Readied Amid Year-End Budget, Virus Aid Scramble

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers were finalizing a one-week stopgap funding measure Tuesday to avoid a partial government shutdown starting Friday at midnight, with the only add-ons expected to be a package of expiring health care program extensions, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby. The "clean" continuing resolution, as Shelby... Read More

Congress Seeks to Avert a Government Shutdown as Trump Seethes
Congress
Congress Seeks to Avert a Government Shutdown as Trump Seethes

Congress returned Monday from its Thanksgiving break hoping to avoid a government shutdown looming at the end of next week — with President Donald Trump being a potential wild card. Hopes for a new coronavirus stimulus package are slim as lawmakers focus on the more limited goal of keeping the government... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top