this is a problem for republicans. they make big noise about balancing the budget but when details of how it would have to be done americans reject it. âDonât tax you. Donât tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree.â Nearly 70% of Americans say cutting the deficit is an important goal for 2012, with 84% Republicans, 66% Democrats, and 64% Independents rating it as their top priority. These folks are happy to slash spending and raise taxes â only theoretically. Asked about specific programs, wide majorities almost always favor either increasing spending or maintaining the current level, as the following chart from Pew shows: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/0...ograms/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter On education, for instance, 62 percent favor increases and 25 percent favor maintaining the current level. More than 90 percent favor either an increased level or the current level of spending on veteranâs benefits; and more than 80 percent favor increasing levels or maintaining the current level on college financial aid, public school spending, Medicare, and Social Security. The only program that even gains a plurality of support for reduced spending levels is aid to the worldâs needy. Among those with less than a high school education the median estimate was that foreign aid represented an extraordinary 45 percent of the budget, those with only a high school diploma 25 percent, those with some college at 20 percent. However, even those with a college degree or higher still overestimate by a wide margin, with a median estimate of 15 percent of the budget.â The actual percentage at least in 2010 â less than 1%.