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WASHINGTON (AP) — To ease surging budget deficits, Americans prefer cutting federal services to raising taxes by nearly 2-1 in a new poll. Yet there is little consensus on specific, meaningful steps — and a wariness about touching two gargantuan programs, Social Security and Medicare.
An Associated Press-CNBC Poll showed widespread anxiety about budget shortfalls exceeding $1 trillion a year. Eighty-five percent worry that growing red ink will harm future generations — the strongest expression of concern since AP polls began asking the question in 2008. Fifty-six percent think the shortfalls will spark a major economic crisis in the coming decade.
As for detailed cures, the poll shows little agreement — a problem that has long bedeviled lawmakers who often speak about taming federal deficits but seldom vote to do so. Given more than a dozen options for helping balance the budget, majorities backed just four: Reduce the number of federal workers, trim their salaries, cut overseas military bases and eliminate the tax deduction on home mortgage interest in exchange for lower income tax rates.
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