Do Europeans Support Spending Cuts?


In light of our earlier post on Deficit Chicken Hawks, I found this FT article (Support for European spending cuts strong) about European support for across the board spending cuts quite fascinating:

“European governments have solid public support, at least for now, for the spending cuts they are making in an effort to boost economic recovery, according to the latest Financial Times/Harris opinion poll.

The survey also indicates that a majority of people in the European Union’s five largest countries disagree with the decision of governments to let their budget deficits rise in order to combat the financial crisis that erupted in 2008.

The poll’s results point to a fiscal conservatism among the European public that contrasts with the eagerness with which most governments ran up high deficits to protect jobs and living standards as the crisis unfolded. Moreover, the results suggest that the austerity measures now being introduced across Europe need not be politically fatal for governments as long as they give convincing explanations for their actions. However, the full impact of the austerity measures has yet to be felt in most countries.”

This not as much about personal austerity as the headline suggests.

As the chart above shows, the public strongly favors cutting: 1) Aid to developing countries 2) Military spending. When it comes to cuts that hit closer to home, the public is less sanguine. Specifically, they are less enamored about cutting 3) Healthcare; and 4) Education.

In the US and UK, defense spending is #2 on the hit list — but way below Aid to developing countries; Kind of ironic, when you think about how the military budget totally dwarfs foreign aid . . .


Support for European spending cuts strong
Tony Barber
FT (Brussels), July 11 2010 13:30

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