The Economist asked Americans: "What is the best way to cut the deficit?"
5% said, "increase taxes."
62% said, "reduce government spending."
OK, said The Economist. "Here is a list of things the federal government spends money on. Which things should the government spend less on?"
As you can see in the chart above, over two-thirds of Americans don't want to reduce spending on anything single category, except foreign aid. And as Mother Jones points out, foreign aid represents less than 1% of America's total spending.
Beyond that, there were only four areas that even a quarter of the population was willing to cut: mass transit, agriculture, housing, and the environment. At a rough guess, these areas account for about 3% of the federal budget. You could slash their budgets by a third and still barely make a dent in federal spending.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects