Americans Willing to Pay for Cops, Not Public Employees

Americans are more supportive of their tax money going to law enforcement than welfare.

A new Rasmussen poll reveals that, shockingly, Americans are more supportive of their tax money going to law enforcement than welfare.  Amusingly, though, the same people who want more cops want fewer government workers, even though cops work for the government.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults shows that only 19% would be willing to pay higher taxes to avoid layoffs of state employees. Sixty-nine percent (69%) say they would not be willing to pay more in taxes for this reason. Another 11% are undecided.

Adults feel similarly when it comes to funding entitlement programs. Twenty-two percent (22%) would pay higher taxes to prevent cuts in entitlement programs for low-income Americans. Sixty-three percent (63%) say they would not pay more to keep these programs afloat. Another 15% are undecided.

Americans are slightly less opposed to paying higher taxes for education. Thirty-four percent (34%) say they are willing to pay higher taxes to provide funding for public education, but 54% say they are not. Another 12% aren’t sure.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they are willing to pay higher taxes to increase the number of police and firemen in their communities. Still, 52% say they would not be willing to do so. Another 10% are not sure.

[…]

These results are less surprising when you consider consistent polling shows that Likely Voters nationwide prefer a government that provides fewer services but imposes lower taxes to one with more services and higher taxes

Most U.S. voters (52%) continue to believe that tax increases will hurt the economy, while just 22% think tax increases are good for the economy.

Women are slightly more supportive than men of paying higher taxes to fund education, public employees and police and fire. But there is little difference between men and women on paying to prevent cuts in entitlement programs.

Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party are strongly opposed to paying higher taxes for any of these services. Democrats support paying more for education and staffing police and firemen, but are less supportive of funding public employee protections and entitlement programs for lower income Americans.

Rasmussen’s declarations to the contrary notwithstanding, none of this is even the least bit surprising.   People support education, law enforcement, and defense.  They oppose taxes, welfare, and government bureaucrats.   That there is some contradictions in these views hasn’t stopped them from being true for as long as I can remember.

FILED UNDER: Education, Government, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Rasmussen’s declarations to the contrary notwithstanding, none of this is even the least bit surprising.”

    Rasmussen’s declarations need to be taken with large dose of salt. This is one of those when did you stop beating your wife polls. Most people are against welfare and bureaucrats until they start closing the local schools and someone starts messing with SS. But then no one ever said the American public were particularly rational.

  2. john personna says:

    I think this is the spirit that leads to total compensation for police and firemen climbing beyond expectations.

    The overtime system exacerbates that:

    For Union City firefighters who made at least $70,000 in base salary last year, the average salary was $138,550 and the average overtime earning was $31,120. In Fremont, average pay for firefighters was $137,404, and average overtime pay was $29,242.

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/argus/localnews/ci_7222696

  3. I’m not shocked. Isn’t that the Conservative American way? We hate the government unless it’s shooting people and locking them up. Supporting the very foundation & coercive power of the state will only maintain and grow the state not reduce it.

  4. john personna says:

    I think you could put it down to a better part of the human spirit, punk. Police and firemen do put their lives on the line, for us, and so we don’t want to sell those jobs too cheap.

    Of course, with x thousand applicants for every job, we probably should sell them a little cheaper.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    john personna says:

    “I think this is the spirit that leads to total compensation for police and firemen climbing beyond expectations.”

    The other grotesque police and firemen’s abuse is unpaid holidays and sick leave. Most of this passes un-noticed but every so often a scandal forces an early retirement and the records come into the public domain and it’s not unusual for some of these guys to have accumulated years (no that wasn’t a misprint) years of holiday and sick pay. In one case I know of, the guy was forced to retire because of some financial shenanagins and was able to take six months paid leave between the date he finished and his official retirement date and also walked off with nearly 150k in back pay. Given the over manning you have to wonder how all these holidays are missed. No over manning? How about the NYPD which is twice the size of the Metropolitan Police in London for a similar population

  6. @ john personna

    The police do not put “their lives on the line for us”. The supreme court ruled they are not here to protect us, but to enforce the will of the state upon the subjects. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/28scotus.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

    The police exist to carry out the will of the state. Most often this is simply carrying out the extortion rackets of the state through their little tickets or by throwing people who do not wish to pay for the states’ services in jail.

    The Police are a bigger threat to liberty and freedom than even the military. The military is not simply on the fact that they are not an immediate threat here in our streets like the militarized police force: http://breakthematrix.com/latest/the-militarized-police-state-is-here/

  7. john personna says:

    I really doubt, Johnny, that you’ve got the way it works by average psychology.

    You’ve got kind of an outlier view of cops and their goals. The thing to remember about average citizens and cops is that they are operating from different worldviews. At least I’ve never met a cop whose motivation was “to carry out the will of the state.”

  8. anjin-san says:

    Good salaries for cops and adequate numbers of officers on the street are things I am in favor of. 50k a year in overtime and disability retirement at 42 for questionable health problems, not so much.

    Most of the cops I know who take disability retirement are working somewhere else within 6 weeks. I still can’t figure why the right wants to kill my “entitlement” of social security (that I have been paying into for 33 years) but does not seem to have a problem with government workers out of control pay and retirement. Unless of course, they are teachers.

  9. @john personna I’m sure there are a couple of these “good cops” but the reality is that even the very nature of what they do is criminal in the light of the libertarian non-aggression axiom. And these good cops are about as common as the ‘honest politicians’. Yeah maybe the occasional Bernie Sanders acts out of his care for the people but the reality is that he ends up doing more harm by the nature of his what it is he is partaking in.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    **** the criminals!!!

  11. @G.A.Phillips

    **** the criminals!!!

    Are you talking about the ones in blue with the badge & gun?

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    No….I was singing out loud……

  13. matt says:

    Well John I’ve personally met several officers who didn’t seem inclined to fulfill the protect and serve part. Hell a few of them actually seemed to consider “civvies” to be a subclass of human…

  14. john personna says:

    Never said that cops were perfect, just that they weren’t (at all!) uniformly the “statists” that punk johnny saw. How do they vote?

    (I’m always aware of the fact that the only person I’ve personally known, who was murdered, was murdered while pregnant with twins by her cop husband. He was a small-town cop though, presumably less psych-tested.)

  15. matt says:

    Interestingly it was the old school small town cops that I had the least amount of issues with. The new hot gun small town cops can be a problem though. Hell one new gun that was trying to make a name for himself ended up getting run out of my home town and joined the county police…

  16. Trumwill says:

    I still can’t figure why the right wants to kill my “entitlement” of social security (that I have been paying into for 33 years) but does not seem to have a problem with government workers out of control pay and retirement.

    My uncle and his sons are all firemen with my retired uncle being a union lobbyist at the state level (and his son moving in that direction). They’re hard-core Democrats and their bread is not buttered by the Republicans. Seems to work that way for cops, too, though my experience there is a little more removed. The police unions endorse Democrats and the periodic bulletproof Republican incumbent. Republicans are less likely to take public stands against police and fire pay, though that has as much to do with the political unpopularity of it than anything.

    Personally, I would like to see cops make less so that we can afford to hire more of them. I do like firemen being paid a lot, but that’s just cause there are so many of them in my family or other people I’ve known over the years.