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Public wary about cutting Medicare



As President Obama and Congress brace to battle over how to reduce chronic annual budget deficits, Americans overwhelmingly say that in general they prefer cutting government spending to paying higher taxes, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Yet their preference for spending cuts, even in programs that benefit them, dissolves when they are presented with specific options related to Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch the most people and also are the biggest drivers of the government's projected long-term debt. Nearly two-thirds of Americans choose higher payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security over reduced benefits in either program. And asked to choose among cuts to Medicare, Social Security or the nation's third-largest spending program—the military—a majority by a large margin said cut the Pentagon.
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