According to a Fox News poll, 73 percent of American voters polled believe that cutting government spending would be more likely to help strengthen the economy, whereas just 15 percent believe that increasing spending would help the economy.
Of course, this is part of the contradictory American mindset. How many of these same people who believe government spending should be cut, also voted to re-elect their so-called representative to Congress?
Overall though, I think this is very positive news. Even if the poll is off a little, it is clear that a good majority of Americans understand economics enough (better than Nobel-prize winner Paul Krugman) that they realize government spending should be cut.
While Keynesianism is defined a little differently depending on who you ask, this question really does go to the heart of Keynesianism. Keynesians believe that increased government spending, particularly during tough economic times, is needed to help the economy. A majority of Americans are no longer buying it.
The government used John Maynard Keynes and his famous book as a justification for its policies. If Keynes had never existed, then the government would have used someone else. Keynesianism would be called something else, but the policies would likely be the same.
Although a clear majority of Americans are in favor of reduced government spending, it doesn't mean it will happen. Many of these people understand it intuitively, but are still not educated to a great enough degree. They are not as hardcore in their beliefs as they need to be. They also don't pay attention to what Congress is doing on a regular basis. In addition, there are also many Americans who say they want lower spending, but don't like the idea once it is targeted towards a certain program that they favor.
So while this doesn't mean a whole lot for the short term, at least in terms of policy, I do think it is significant. It shows a shift in the American mindset. People are gradually changing their views.
I think the main reasons for this shifting attitude include the bad economy, Ron Paul, and the internet. The synergistic effect between these things are changing minds.
This poll is a reason to be optimistic. If 73 percent of American voters really do have this view, then it will eventually have its effects on policy. Perhaps it means we have hope for reducing government spending without having to go through a serious economic crisis first.