When the Business Insider polled registered voters and asked for their preferences among three Congressional plans floated to avoid the looming "sequestration" cuts in Washington, they found that when stripped of their partisan labels, the policies most favorable to the majority were those offered by the progressive wing of the Democratic caucus.
Strikingly, the plan offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called The Balancing Act and introduced in early February, is the plan that has received the least attention in the corporate media's coverage of the ongoing and latest "invented" Beltway crisis.
The poll found that in addition to beating the House Republican plan and the Senate Democrat's plan overall, "more than half of respondents supported [the Balancing Act] compared to sequestration and [only] a fifth of respondents were opposed."
Moreover and "shockingly," a full 47 percent of Republicans preferred the House Progressive plan to the across the board cuts pushed by their party leaders in Washington. According to the Insider, "This means that Republicans supported the House Progressive plan just as much as they supported their own party's plan."
To describe the poll's approach, the Insider explains: "Surveys have found that asking people about just titles of plans or telling people who proposed policy, changes the results, so the point of this poll was to see what people thought of the plans when they were fully explained, but also stripped of partisan labels."
In fact, without the proper labels, the poll found that a majority of Republican respondents rejected the official plan put forward by the House GOP leadership.
So what crazy, socialist, and destructive ideas did these self-identified Republicans endorse?
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According to the CPC statement announcing their legislation:
the Balancing Act rectifies the inequitable approach to deficit reduction taken so far. By replacing the sequester with $960 billion in revenue, the Act achieves a 1:1 ratio of cuts to revenue. The Balancing Act would close tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas, that pay billions of dollars annually to the highly profitable fossil fuel industry, and that allow tax breaks for yachts and corporate jets. It would also limit deductions from the wealthiest tax payers, close loopholes for hedge fund managers, and close estate tax loopholes.[...]
In addition, the Balancing Act eliminates $278 billion in wasteful Pentagon spending – the amount needed to equalize cuts to the defense and non-defense side of the budget – and invests the savings in our number one economic priority – job creation. By focusing our Pentagon budget on 21st century threats and making smart decisions about the weapons we need in the modern era, we can invest in a one-year tax credit of $800 for low- and middle-income families, prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, modernize 35,000 public schools, and make infrastructure investments that if sustained could protect 3.5 million jobs by 2020.
In addition, the poll found:
- A plurality of people — 28 percent — believed the House Progressive Caucus Plan would have the least financial impact on them personally. This makes the most sense, as only 14 percent of respondents reported having income over $150,000.
- Support for the Senate Democrat plan was weak, with just fewer than half of respondents preferring that plan compared with the sequester.
- Opposition to the House Republican plan was strong, with 57 percent preferring the sequester to that plan.
- Twice as many Republicans supported sequestration as Democrats.
- One-fifth of Democrats prefer the sequester when compared to the Senate Democrats' sequestration replacement plan. About one-quarter of Republicans prefer the Senate Democrat plan to the implementation of the sequester.
Complete results of the poll, with graphs, can be found here.
The results not only disprove (once again) the common refrain that the the US is a "centrist" country, but also speak to the deeper, and possibly more intractable problem: that the best and most attractive ideas to voters and regular people are seemingly the ones most sidelined by the elites who control our money-dominated media and govern our money-dominated democracy.