What Should We Cut?

On Morning Joe, they're talking in very vague terms about cutting the budget in order to reduce the deficit, prompted by the new USA Today / Gallup poll showing the federal budget deficit is more important to voters than terrorism.

Yeah, the American people are all about reducing the deficit, but when it comes to deciding specifically what ought to be cut, we're kind of stumped. This chart illustrates why:


The programs Americans want to cut the most aren't really the most expensive items. Meanwhile, cutting defense is politically challenging even though it's arguably the most wasteful chunk of the budget and could tolerate significant cutting. So what ends up happening is the programs that take up the smallest chunks of the budget -- the under-funded or poorly funded projects -- are the ones that are cut.