Michael Barone

Critics might complain that that third alternative is a false choice, in that salary and benefit cuts would not eliminate the deficit by themselves. But even when voters were given a second choice among the three alternatives, only 16 percent more favored increasing taxes. Which is another way of saying two- thirds of Ohio voters are dead set against tax increases.

These responses suggest a vivid awareness of the fact that while some 8 million private sector jobs have been lost in the recession, the number of public sector jobs has remained almost completely steady. The Obama Democrats' stimulus package, which directed one-third of its money to state and local governments, in effect insulated the public sector from the economic hurricane that has swept through the private sector.

It's time, Ohio voters seem to be saying, for government workers to share the pain the people who pay their salaries have been suffering.

Rasmussen's likely voters have similar views. By a 69 percent to 15 percent margin, they believe cutting taxes is a better way to create jobs than more government spending. By a 65 percent to 23 percent margin, they believe that decisions made by business owners seeking to grow their businesses will do more to create jobs than decisions by government officials.

Over the last 18 months, Americans have watched as government takes months or years to create public works jobs, and over the last three months, we have watched government's plodding response to the BP gulf oil spill.

Government has grown vastly more expensive but has not acted with the speed and suppleness that it did under Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. The parasite is growing, while the host has been losing weight.

In the meantime, Democrats are preparing to let the George W. Bush tax cuts on high earners -- on investors and job creators -- expire. They want more revenue to feed the government beast.

Most voters take a different view. They want to put government on a diet. To slim it down, make it more lithe and limber, and stop it from choking off the recovery of the private sector economy.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM