You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Editorials

editorial

Fictitious Panetta-Burns plan sends Congress a cheeky warning

If Congress implements the Panetta-Burns plan, some Americans seem to believe, lawmakers will have only themselves to blame. Luckily, the Panetta-Burns plan doesn’t exist — except as a warning that legislators shouldn’t put too much stock in individual polls on complicated issues.

In a recent survey of 700 voters by Public Policy Polling, 23 percent of respondents said they supported the Bowles-Simpson plan — the broad deficit-reduction framework developed by a commission appointed by President Obama — while 16 percent opposed it. But it’s not clear how deep or sincere these feelings are. For when the polling firm also asked about a fictitious Panetta-Burns plan, 8 percent of voters said they favored it, while 17 percent opposed it. Are one-sixth of voters oddly skeptical of Leon Panetta, President Obama’s defense secretary? Did they think “Burns” referred to C. Montgomery Burns, Homer Simpson’s evilly plutocratic boss?

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week