Bruce fowarded to me a remarkable poll from Gallup. He suggested that I, rather than he, was the right person to comment. I am happy to oblige one of my bloggers-in-crime.
The poll shows that, on average, Americans today believe that 50 cents of every federal tax dollar is wasted. Gallup makes a big deal of the fact that this is an increase from 46 cents per dollar in 2001.
There’s one problem: the poll never defines “waste.”
- Money used for a wasteful purpose?
- Spending on a project that will have a negative economic return?
- Appropriations for something you think is not the government’s responsibility?
- A program that could be implemented more efficiently?
- Benefits paid to people you think aren’t legally eligible?
- Benefits paid to people you think shouldn’t be eligible?
- A program that is working well but you think has outlasted its usefulness?
- Any or all of the above and anything else you can think of?
Without a definition or any other type of guidance everything in the federal budget can and will be called “waste” by someone. Because of that, I’m actually surprised that it was only 50 cents and not a much higher number.
In other words…This poll is worthless.