D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h
Quote of the Day: “In the long run men hit only what they aim at.” — Henry David Thoreau
Subject: How to cure political loneliness
* How many Americans want smaller government?
* How many Americans would support the “Read the Bills Act” and the “One Subject at a Time Act,” if they were introduced to them?
In today’s Dispatch we’ll answer the first question, and explain how we can use $50,000 in pledges made by two generous donors to answer the second question. We’ll also tell you how you can see and receive our new “I Am Not Afraid” t-shirt.
We start by tipping our hat to David Boaz at the Cato Institute for constantly calling attention to the kind of data we’re going to share below, and to Ramesh Ponnuru for providing a good recent summary of this information.
CBS pollsters have been asking the following question for decades, “Would you say you favor smaller government with fewer services, or larger government with many services?”
From 1996 through Jan. 2001 the smaller-government side had an average lead of a whopping 20 points. This lead has slipped in the current decade, but as of March-April of this year the sides were tied.
For most of the past three decades a majority of Americans (often a vast majority) have favored smaller government. And even now, when the propaganda drumbeat for more government in areas such as health care and the financial system has been extremely loud, the support for smaller government is close to a majority, according to this poll.
But there are other polls . . .
A similar Washington Post/ABC poll tells the same story. Public opinion swung strongly toward smaller government in the 1990s, and then back the other way in this decade. “But smaller-government has maintained a consistent advantage!”
According to this poll, as of June 2008, the public still favors smaller government 50% to 45%. But there’s more . . .
For many years Gallup, ABC and the Washington Post have asked Americans, “is government trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses” or “should government do more to solve our country’s problems?” The answers have usually been in favor of smaller government . . .
* By 8-points in September 1992
* By 12-points in October 1998
* By 7-points in September 2002
* And by a whopping 12-points this September, during the height of the financial hysteria!
But it gets even better, because these poll questions are actually rigged in favor of the big government position, and we still win anyway! As David Boaz points out, these poll questions offer a benefit of larger government (more services) without mentioning the cost (higher taxes).
A fair poll question would mention both the cost and the benefit for each side. Has any polling operation asked the question this way? The answer is yes. When Rasmussen asked the balanced version of the question the results were . . .
* A whopping 64% in favor of smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes,
* 14% undecided
* And only a tiny minority of 22% in favor of more government and higher taxes
But these results are even more inspiring than they seem. What’s truly amazing is that the vast majority of Americans favor smaller government in spite of the fact that . . .
* They all learned in government schools that government is the font of all things good
* The drama-mongering media constantly promotes the idea that the latest “crisis” is a cataclysmic danger that only government can solve
* Tax-funded “intellectuals” in our universities are constantly at work, pimping for the State
* Politicians spend billions every election telling us that they are the answer to every problem
The case for small government is hardly ever heard by anyone, and yet it still wins in the minds of the American people!
Can you imagine what could happen if our message was heard to the same extent as the propaganda for big government?
How can we make this happen? We think it would only take the organized assistance of a small portion of the 50-60% who already favor smaller government. How could these people be recruited and organized? We have a simple idea — JUST ASK THEM