Now that President Obama has unveiled his plan for another $3 trillion in deficit reduction -- including an increase in the amount federal employees contribute toward their retirement -- the question is where Americans stand on the issue of cuts in federal employment, pay and benefits. On that front, there's good news and bad news.
According to a new United Technologies/National Journal poll, exactly 50 percent of those polled said they would somewhat or strongly support a proposal backed by the GOP to fill only half of federal jobs and reduce wages and benefits for Uncle Sam's employees. That's not as high as several other items on the potential deficit-cutting agenda, such as increasing the taxes that investment firms pay on profits or reducing defense spending by $350 billion over 10 years.
On the other hand, cuts in the government workforce and compensation for employees ranked higher than a number of other items on the list, including freezing spending on non-defense programs and raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.
Of course, the idea of cuts in benefits is now officially one of the few things the Obama administration and congressional Republicans agree on, so at this point the question most likely is not if they will be cut, but by how much.