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New study shows government spending preferences of Americans
Date:3/11/2011

In its 27th survey of American spending priorities since 1973 conducted as part of its General Social Survey (GSS), NORC at the University of Chicago today released a report on its most recent findings. Since 1990, education and health care had occupied the top two positions. While education continues its streak as the number one priority, health care fell to eighth place among American preferences. It was replaced by assistance to the poor as the second highest preference. The spending priorities report is derived from recently released data of the 2010 General Social Survey which NORC has conducted for forty years.

The GSS is a biennial survey that gathers data on contemporary American society in order to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes. NORC makes the high-quality data easily accessible to scholars, students, policy makers, and others. Over 16,000 research uses in articles, textbooks, monographs, dissertations, etc. have been documented. The GSS is supported by the National Science Foundation and it is the second most-referenced survey in America after the U.S. Census.

Rounding out the top ten spending priorities were (3) halting crime, (4) Social Security, (5) the environment, (6) dealing with drug addiction, (7) childcare, (8) health, (9) drug rehabilitation, and (10) law enforcement. Finishing lowest in priority, as it has in every survey since 1973, is foreign assistance. The study surveys public preferences on twenty-two spending categories.

The findings have additional significance in that they are derived from the first GSS to be conducted since the 2008 economic meltdown. Despite the poor economy and despite the pinch of taxes for a majority, (in 2010, 53% said their federal taxes were too high, 46% about right, and 2% too low) Americans back more spending in about three-quarters of the areas and less spending only in the bottom quarter.

However, the level of support for mor
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Contact: William Harms
w-harms@uchicago.edu
773-702-8366
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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