This week on CNN, host Wolf Blitzer confronted Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) with a recent poll that found Americans don’t want to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and wondered why Schock — who has made both extending all the tax cuts and listening to the American people a priority — isn’t exactly listening to what they want. But Schock simply ignored the poll, saying, “The American people reject” letting the tax cuts expire for the wealthy.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) got caught playing a similar game yesterday, also on CNN with Blitzer. Pence — who has also made listening to the American people a priority — argued that in order to reduce the deficit, the government should cut spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But when Blitzer told Pence that a recent poll showed that Americans don’t want cuts to those programs, the Indiana congressman pulled a Schock:
PENCE: Well, I don’t know if they’re saying don’t touch it. I think they’re saying for people who are on Medicare and Social Security or depending on Medicaid today, let’s keep the promises we’ve made to seniors.
To his credit, Pence did say that cuts in defense spending should be on the table as well, but he also argued that Social Security should be revamped for those under 40 years old — an age that conveniently leaves Pence out of any potential changes to the popular social program. Watch it:
Indeed, as Blitzer noted, according to a new CNN poll, while Americans do want to reduce the deficit, employing significant cuts in social programs to do it is very unpopular:
For most of the government programs tested in the poll, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, college loans, and aid to farmers and unemployed workers, Americans say that avoiding significant spending cuts is more important than reducing the deficit.
“Many of the budget cuts proposed last week by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who are heading up a presidential commission on deficit reduction, appear to be highly unpopular, including changes to Social Security and the federal tax code,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “The public opposition to some of the proposals made by Simpson and Bowles illustrates what a hard sell spending cuts will be.”