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Reason Foundation

Weak Public Support for State, California Bailouts

Leonard Gilroy
May 22, 2009, 12:17pm

Good news for the holiday weekend—there are some promising signs that bailout fatigue is spreading and frustration with fiscal irresponsibility is growing. In the aftermath of California voters' rejection of the package of faux budget reform measures on Tuesday, Rasmussen reports new polling data showing that 59 percent of national voters oppose federal bailouts for spend-happy states, and two-thirds oppose a federal guarantee of California state loans.

Twenty-four percent (24%) of voters nationwide favor federal bailout funds for states like California that are encountering "serious financial problems." The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 59% are opposed to such bailouts.

As for California specifically, again just 24% believe the federal government should guarantee the state's loans. Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters nationwide oppose federal guarantees. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said the state may request such guarantees.

Even given the most extreme example of bankruptcy, voters oppose federal subsidies to keep the state government going. Forty-eight percent (48%) say it would be better for the economy to let California go bankrupt rather than provide federal bailouts. Just 38% said it would be better to provide federal subsidies so the state can continue to pay its bills and provide services. [...]

Rasmussen Reports state polling found that voters want to go even further and require significant pay cuts for their elected politicians. The state's voters are in no mood for further tax hikes and quite supportive of spending cuts. They place the blame for the state's fiscal problem on the unwillingness of elected officials to control government spending.

This piece is telling—the public is clearly ahead of the pols:

As on many issues, the difference in opinion between the Political Class and the rest of the nation is larger than the gap between the political parties. By an 84% to seven percent (7%) margin, the Political Class prefers federal subsidies over bankruptcy. By a 67% to 21% margin, those in the Political Class favor federal loan guarantees to help California raise money [...].

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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