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Federal government wastes half of every tax dollar: poll

September 21, 2011 |  9:20 am

DollarAmericans are more skeptical than they’ve ever been of the federal government’s spending habits, convinced that it squanders 51 cents of each dollar it uses, according to a new Gallup poll.

Mistrust has steadily grown since the low 1986 estimate of 38 cents wasted on each dollar and is at the highest point since Gallup first considered the topic in 1979.

There’s only a 5% split by political party: Republicans say the government misuses 52 cents while Democrats peg the amount at 47 cents.

By ideology, though, there’s a wider differentiation, with conservatives guessing 56 cents and liberals estimating 44 cents. Back when George W. Bush was president, the sides were flipped. 

Age also plays a part, with young people less inclined to fault the government’s expenditures.

It’s unclear why Americans are so down on how The Man wields a wallet, Gallup said. Some may feel that the government throws money at unnecessary programs while others may feel that essential spending is done inefficiently. 

What’s clear is that respondents feel the federal government is far more bloated than state and local governments. Leaner operations mean that state governments waste just 42 cents while local ones misuse just 38 cents, according to the poll.

RELATED:

IRS: Nearly 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax in 2009

Millionaire tax sought by Obama is panned by GOP as 'class warfare'

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun / MCT

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