Polls have shown that most people favor cuts in government spending, but oppose cuts in the vast majority of actual government programs, because they're misinformed about the composition of the budget. Apparently this is true not just of voters but of right-wing members of Congress, too. My source? Right-wing member of Congress Paul Ryan:
Republicans this week conceded that the government's budget can't be balanced this decade without cutting into current retirees' Medicare and Social Security benefits, something they've indicated they're unwilling to do. But many tea-party activists and junior lawmakers still believe the red ink can be reduced to zero with just a bit more pain, according to Ryan.
"They literally think you can just balance it, you know, (by cutting) waste, fraud and abuse, foreign aid and NPR (National Public Radio)," Ryan said. "And it doesn't work like that."
Of course, Ryan takes it for granted that, when informed that serious deficit reduction requires cutting Medicare and Social Security, his GOP colleagues will decide to support cutting those programs. But isn't it also possible they'll decide they don't really want to seriously cut the deficit?