Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 28, 2010

SMART POLICY, SMART POLITICS.... For much of 2009, polls pointed to a discouraging perception among Americans. Given a choice between economic growth and deficit reduction, large majorities -- over and over again -- said policymakers should focus on the latter. There was no real rationale for the majority of the public to be so wrong about this, but different pollsters in different times of the year found the same misguided result.

There were meaningful consequences for the public's wildly flawed priorities. As lawmakers on the Hill saw the polls, for example, the political appetite for investing in economic stimulus disappeared. Nervous Democrats started echoing Republicans about spending cuts, and key legislation wouldn't even get a fair hearing unless the bills were fully paid for. Under the economic circumstances, this was bizarre. But under the political circumstances, lawmakers felt like they had no other choice.

It's worth noting, then, that there's at least some evidence that attitudes have shifted in a more constructive direction. This question in the newly-released Newsweek poll bears special attention:

"Which one of the following do you think should have the higher priority for policy-makers in Washington right now:

37% Reducing the federal budget deficit
57% Federal spending to create jobs
6% Don't know

This strikes me as very encouraging. For many Americans, the "deficit" has become an amorphous concept that they've been conditioned to viscerally reject, and the polling last year suggested this knee-jerk reaction was so strong, deficit reduction was actually perceived as more important than the economy itself.

But the Newsweek poll -- yes, I know, it's only one poll -- wasn't close. Asked which should be a higher priority, the deficit or spending money on job creation, the latter won by 20 points.

Dems on the Hill are afraid to make economic investments because they expect a public backlash. They're nervous enough about the midterms and aren't in the mood to hear another round of "government spending is bad." But here's data showing that spending on job creation is actually quite popular. Republicans would respond by saying the deficit matters more, but that's not where the public is right now.

So why not borrow the money and invest in job creation? Like, immediately?

As for the rest of the poll, President Obama's approval rating is at 47%, the parties are tied on the generic ballot at 45%, and more than twice as many Americans blame Bush than Obama for the country's economic problems.

As for the fight over Bush-era tax rates, a 52% majority believes "Congress should allow the Bush tax cuts for persons in the top two percent income category to expire," while 38% support the Republican line.

I can understand Democratic panic about pushing an agenda that doesn't poll well. But when the majority is already with them, the apprehension is tougher to appreciate.

Steve Benen 12:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Are these Dems worried about what the nation thinks or what the voters in their states/districts think? I want to pound those Dems holding out too, but these polls aren't moving them and its always the loud minority that they hear from when they go home.

Posted by: Alli on August 28, 2010 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

What exactly are the Democrats holding back on? I understood that the Republicans were refusing even to consider jobs bills. So what have the Democrats done, precisely, to earn them the coward label on the economy? I am asking seriously. When the Republicans form a solid wall of obstruction, why do Democrats get exclusively blamed? (Because that is what Republicans have been counting on happening?)

Posted by: jjm on August 28, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

But the Newsweek poll didn't include "Tax cuts for the wealthy," which I have it on good authority is what the American public really wants.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on August 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

OK, OK, I should have read the last two grafs before posting. But I'm sure the poll won't stop Republicans from arguing that's what the public wants.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on August 28, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

One of the Republicans' favorite lines is "Average Americans sitting at their kitchen table have to balance their budget, so why shouldn't Washington?"

Except that's not always the case. When "average Americans" want to buy a home they go into debt.

And if the roof of their house is leaking they don't wait and do nothing for a few months while they save up to have it fixed. They know that the longer they wait to fix the leak, the more damage it will cause and the more the repair will cost. So they take out a loan and fix the roof right away.

When Obama came into office not only was the nation's roof leaking, but also the basement was flooded, there were termites in the woodwork and there were great big holes in the walls. But if we don't pay up front to fix everything, it'll just cost more down the road.

The Republicans have argued that all we have to do is cut the taxes of millionaires and the Supply-side fairy will sprinkle her magical pixie dust and make everything all better. Obama has tried to convince us that draping a tarp over the roof is as much as he can do and that everything will eventually get better by itself.

The Republicans don't have a heart or a brain and the Democrats lack courage. I guess we're going to have to wait until The Wizard shows up before things get better.

(Feeling metaphorical today)

Posted by: SteveT on August 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'de be interested to see if "jobs" and "spending" were correlated in the prior surveys. My guess is it was just "deficit" v. "spending."

How questions are framed make a huge difference.

Posted by: bdop4 on August 28, 2010 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that the federal government can create new jobs is laughable. First, the federal government cannot spend money quickly. The currents laws are designed to make new projects hard to do and make it slow. Second, most of the stimulus spending has been used to keep current state and local employees employed. So those job creators in the private sector face the double hit of higher federal taxes in the near future to pay off the incredibility massive debt and higher state and local taxes to keep all of those government employees in jobs after the federal money ends.

So, the Democrats are talking about more pork spending and more money to core Democratic groups at a time that the U.S. just does not have the money to spend.

Maybe the U.S. should just accept that the world has changed and that massive spending cannot continue forever and that the government should be itself under control.

Posted by: superdestroyer on August 28, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'd love to see Republicans filibuster a Jobs bill before the election. Let's watch them whine about how we can't afford to spend on creating jobs after taunting Obama with the 'Where's the jobs?' meme. Put up or shut up!

Posted by: John Henry on August 28, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Too late. Voters will not reward Democrats in December for September efforts to cause increased employment. Quite sensibly, they want to see results and there is no known way to stimulate employment immediately.

The respondents are telling Democrats "you blew it" (past tense). You took advice from us when you should have tried to figure out for yourselves how to give us what we want.

The one exception to this argument is a not so bad really stimulus policy which will be very popular -- more equal tax cuts for the non rich.

A bill to extend Bush tax cuts for the non-rich, not extend the cuts for the rich *and* send $300 to every non-rich family as a temporary stimulus measure would be much more popular than a bill to permanently extend tax cuts for the non rich and temporarily extend tax cuts for the rich (the Conrad and Republicans approach). It would also be better policy and would also be better policy than just extending the cuts for the non rich.

A one off rebate would be good policy. It isn't the best theoretically possible stimulus, but it is the best politically feasible stimulus. It would also be good politics (it is particularly important for the economy to get the checks out ASAP or at least so that they arrive in October).

If the Democrats do not proposed a combined partially extend Bush's tax cuts + $300 more just once as stimulus, then we will know they are political idiots. But then again, we know that already don't we ?

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on August 28, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like a pretty loaded question to me. Why not contrast "Increase Federal spending to create jobs" with "Reduce the Federal deficit to create jobs" or "Reduce taxes to create jobs" or, conversely, just contrast "Reduce the Federal Deficit" (period) with "Increase Federal spending" (period). That would produce a more accurate result, I think.

I'm in favor of stimulus, but I'm not in favor of loaded questions. Nor am I favor (generally) of undertaking long-term policies which the American people don't support. My take is that the average person, even if he understands that immediate deficit reduction would make the country or even he himself poorer than short-term deficit-driven stimulus, is still in favor of deficit reduction, as a matter of principle. Seems nuts to me, but you have to respect that.

Posted by: a passerby on August 28, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK
But when the majority is already with them, the apprehension is tougher to appreciate.
We're talking professional politicians, and they are aware, very aware, that energized and angry minorities roll apathetic and detached majorities all the time at the polls, and in mid-term elections, all the more so. Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 28, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that government spending tends to be unpopular in swing districts and states that may well switch to the Republicans this fall. I've been making calls for Tom Pierello in Virginia's 5th district and you'd be appalled to see how many independents want to cut spending at this time.

Don't get me wrong. I still think that a second stimulus would be good policy and politics for the Democrats as a whole. I also believe that the lack of a push for this in the Congress is probably due to a desire on the part of the leadership to protect the most vulnerable members.

This underscores the need for Democrats to be more and more vocal and unapologetic about the need for a second stimulus. We also need to be more proud of all the good the 1st stimulus did and is still doing (see the recent Time magazine article). The fact that all of this spending has been virtually without taint or scandal might be an especially good point to raise with independents.

The most important thing to do is work hard for the Democrats this year. Those on the left who do nothing but carp and complain, who refuse to engage in the nitty gritty of this disappointing civic duty that we call politics, who don't get off their duff to prevent the potential catastrophe of Republican governance, will richly earn the contempt of this and future generations.

Posted by: JD on August 28, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of things have happened under Obama that are good, but nearly all of them would have been much better had the Obama administration not been as timid as it has been. The first among them being the public option for health care reform. Regardless of Republican lies, the idea that Medicare should be expanded to cover all Americans was one that Americans supported. This was tossed over the side in an effort to gain Republican support and the support of the so-called Blue Dog Democrats. Now we have something of a Frankenstein monster which admittedly is far better than anything we had before or would have had under the Republicans, but it is just not good enough. We have seen the same thing happen in nearly everything that has been adopted so far. The result was bills that had enough cross-spectrum support to pass, but the Republicans say they are going to try to repeal all of them anyway, so just what good did this huge sell-out accomplish?

If the administration had set a more ambitious set of proposals and raised taxes on the wealthiest groups of people in society to pay for it, people would have seen that anything extra that they paid out in the form of taxes would come back to them in the form of services. In the case of health care, even rich people stand to gain from a healthier population if they employ people who are more productive, or even if they just don't have to worry about getting diseases from people whose health care isn't very good. They even pay less money that ends up going to people who can't or won't get good health care. Wealthy people also breathe air and drink water. People who invest money need to know that they can invest it without being taken advantage of by a small group of thieves. Small investors need to remember who is on their side. There are a lot of people of all incomes who live near the areas where oil well blowouts, mountain top removal, and similar environmental disasters and crimes are taking place, and what they gain far outweighs what little income they will lose. People like the miners say they need the mining jobs, but the way things are they are in a hole in the ground with a box of dynamite and some rich guy is on the surface with a detonator and god knows when he is going to push the button if he thinks it's cheaper to pay off their families than it is to maybe miss out on a little profit.

We see all sorts of people being set against one another simply because someone somewhere thinks it is in their interest. We see black people being set against gays, Jews being set against blacks, blacks against Latinos, gays against Muslims. This is not just America, this is global. In France Sarkozy is targeting the Roma, which I suppose is a safer form of bigotry for him. But when this sort of thing happens everyone loses. This is not necessary. With a progressive agenda, everyone can win. If everyone goes out and votes for the most progressive candidate they can get in November, this will be a start. Then we can hold their feet to the fire and fix the things that weren't done properly over the last two years. One of the things that is there now that wasn't before is an online progressive community. You can give money or support to candidates all over the country, not just where you happen to live. You can stay informed about what is going on. You can put your money where your mouth is by buying from people who are part of the solution rather than part of the problem. If the Republicans nominated the head of a professional wrestling company for office this year, it's because the Republican Party has become the political equivalent of a professional wrestling show, and the competition is for head geek at a side show although they feel uncomfortable whenever anybody mentions chickens.

So, you know who is telling the truth and who is lying. Go out and do what you have to do, and whether you win or lose you will know you did your best. Remember the other side is so far out this year that even if they win, they will have to either throw everything they said over the side or else look like a bumbling gang of criminals if they try to implement it. But whatever you do, go and vote and in the meantime, support progressive candidates. Oh, and treat people like Glenn Beck like the pathetic monstrosity he is.

Posted by: Christopher Hobe Morrison on August 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

A no-brainer in the era of no brains

Obviously it is a great time for the government to issue debt and invest in infrastructure. These advantageous interest rates probably won't come again in our lifetimes.

But the leverage gained goes deeper even than that. Here is a cut and paste from my local paper. Check out how my local library is leveraging the bad economy to its favor. It's brilliant:

The library received $7 million in bond money to do the upgrades. Construction will cost about $5.9 million, and the remainder will go toward furnishings.
The poor economy actually worked in the library's favor. "One of the things they found when they went out to bid, because there was not that much work out there, the bid prices came back very favorable," Daly said. "We are actually saving money doing it now, because contractors are really looking for work."

No doubt these same conditions exist across America. Now is the time to do massive game-changing infrastructure. We won't get a better financial chance....

Posted by: koreyel on August 28, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"How questions are framed make a huge difference."

Agree. Previous polls could have asked respondents to choose between additional "stimulus" and "deficit reduction". The "stimulus" is not as popular as "jobs". The "stimulus" is tied in many minds to the Wall Street bailout, so is more unpopular.

"under the political circumstances, lawmakers felt like they had no other choice."

They could lead. Spend political capital to do the right thing or educate voters. Get out front. This is probably the same excuse many Dem politicians would give now for their support of the Iraq war - belligerence was popular, no one high profile was willing to get out front and say, "you all are f*&$#ing crazy!".

These are known as cowards.

Posted by: flubber on August 28, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

You have to weep for this country that the Dems are the preferable party.

Posted by: dems are cowards on August 28, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

massive government spending during and after WWII made us a superpower. If only the obstructionists in congress had the country's future, instead of their own, in mind we could do it again.

Posted by: jwk on August 28, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Christopher Hobe Morrison,

Medicare for all would have lead to a massive decrease in the pay and employment prospects for health care employees. It would have lead to almost 600,000 people who work in the health care industry to be laid off.

Americans probably do support a free pony paid for by others (taxes on the rich) but why would anyone want to work in such a system. The rich would have been the few left who could get health care since they would still have private health insurance.

Why the Democrats need to decide is how to have prosperous employers so that those employers can have prosperous employees.

Posted by: superdestroyer on August 28, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about you, but in the current economic climate I feel better paying down credit card bills than making big new expenditures when I have a little extra money left at the end of the month. At the individual level, this is not misguided. And it's totally normal for people to extrapolate this experience to the way the government should handle its finance. An argument needs to be made to explain to people why deficit spending can help us here. That argument is not being made.

As far as jobs are concerned, I also keep hearing stories about small businesses not being able to get credit in the new lending climate. I know nothing about the economics of this, but can the government do something about that?

Posted by: rabbit on August 28, 2010 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans believed the deficit didn't matter (except when the Democrats are in power). The Democrats believe the sovereign can't default (We can print money forever, without penalty)

Pox on both their houses.

Too much debt backed up by too few assets was the cause of this crisis and until the debt is paid down the crisis will continue.

I'm in favor of letting all the Bush tax cuts expire. It's going to be a long and hard recovery. The US government was as out of control as the private economy. And it needs to straighten itself out as much as trying to save the rest of the country.

Posted by: lxm on August 28, 2010 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Since most Americans don't vote in off-year elections (turnout usually runs 30-35%), these polls don't mean a lot. Off-year elections are dominated by the charged-base of the party out of power.

Posted by: Speed on August 28, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'de be interested to see if "jobs" and "spending" were correlated in the prior surveys. My guess is it was just "deficit" v. "spending."

Steve phrased the earlier poll questions as "economic growth" versus "deficit reduction." If that is in fact how the questions were worded, respondents may well not have been understanding "economic growth" to mean "more jobs."

The recent Newsweek poll makes deficit reduction vs. jobs explicit (even though the latter choice indicates the jobs would come from federal spending). I'd bet a buck that's why it got different results.

Posted by: Swift Loris on August 28, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

The ONLY upside to November will be watching the Blue Gogs and Corporate Dems in the House get their asses handed to them. It will be sweet revenge or these traitors, seeing them hopisted on their own petards. It will make the House Democratic caucus a Democratic caucus again. I'm sure Bobby Bright and Barron Hill will have very rewarding careers on K Street, but good riddance to bad trash. My fondest dream is that Allen Boyd will be sent packing.

Adding Blue Dogs to the rolls of the unemployed will be such a beautiful and sweet victory come November.

Posted by: some guy on August 28, 2010 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

superdestroyer said:
. . . the Democrats need to decide is how to have prosperous employers so that those employers can have prosperous employees.

SuperD, you and the Republican have it exactly backwards. Democrats need to decide that they are going to have prosperous employees so they can create prosperous employers.

SuperD, we've tried your way for thirty years now. Reagan's Supply-side economics tried to put more wealth in the hands of the rich. Then, because by Republicans' definition whatever the rich do will be good, everyone will achieve prosperity.

It's the Underpants Gnome school of economics:
Step 1) Make the rich richer
Step 2) The rich do . . . something
Step 3) Prosperity!

What happened instead is that the rich were made richer by forcing down the wages of the middle class. The nation's economy was kept humming by letting the middle class buy on credit -- first by giving everyone a credit card (or five) and later by letting them turn their homes into ATMs.

As long as the middle class could keep spending everything was okay. But as soon as credit tightened the middle class stopped spending and employers had no one to sell to.

If the country is going to get out of this recession, then someone has to get money to the middle class so that they can start spending again. Employers can't because they have no need for workers until people start buying their products again. Banks won't because there isn't a funtioning FannieMae and FreddieMac to share their risk. So that leaves the federal government.

What we need is a new WPA. Then, once the economy has recovered Democrats need to restore some power to workers and shift incentives so employers make more profit producing in American rather than offshoring and outsourcing.

Posted by: SteveT on August 28, 2010 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

These decisions are not polls-based, they're class-based. We are ruled by the rich for the rich. Concentration of wealth proceeds unabated through Republican and Democratic administrations and regardless of who controls the House and Senate. They distract us with bread and circus (mostly circus these days) and proceed to smash and grab as much as possible. Go look at the net worth of our congress critters. ( http://tiny.cc/3cpc9 )
Eight out of top ten are (D). (R) may be more odious but they both support the same kleptocratic agenda.

Posted by: rc on August 28, 2010 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

SteveT nicely put .

Posted by: FRP on August 28, 2010 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Also encouraging is the latest CBS News polling.

Although 81% rate the condition of the U.S. economy as “bad”, 59% believe it will “eventually recover”, and only 5% think that Obama’s policies are to blame for the high unemployment.

That sounds like what the Congressional Democrats need is for Obama to barnstorm the country and make their case for them. Too bad he’s not better at communicating to the American people the impact of economic policies on their lives.

Paging the Big Dog....

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 28, 2010 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

The obvious thing to do is to put out a new stimulus package, and make the election a referendum on it. Just do it.

Posted by: david1234 on August 28, 2010 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

And fire that goddamn cat-food commission.
See also e.g. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/8/26/11935/1382

Posted by: neil b on August 28, 2010 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that most Americans are not only horrible at math, but also woefully ignorant about basic economics. This makes it pretty easy for media elites on both sides of any issue to manipulate them, since they are incapable to thinking through the issue for themselves.

It's the same type of ignorance that got us into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (i.e. ignorance of how hard a time the Soviets had in Afghanistan in the 80's), and that convinces large numbers of poor, but socially conservative, American's to vote against their own economic self-interests.

Let's face it...most American's are dumber than nails when it comes to the things that really matter. They can tell you who won the past three seasons of American Idol and who the five major characters on The Simpsons are, but couldn't find Iraq on a map if you spotted them the Middle East, calculate the net present value of a stream of interest payments, tell you who Hamid Karzai is or even name the three branches of the US government.

Stupidity = Ignorance = easy to manipulate Sheeple

Posted by: mfw13 on August 28, 2010 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

"So why not borrow the money and invest in job creation? "

I suppose you are referring to the 600,000 plus temporary census jobs. Of the 431,000 jobs created in May, 411,000 -- 95 percent -- were federal jobs relating to the census.

Or the ballooning federal bureaucracy? Which will grow by 153,000 workers, to 1.43 million people, in fiscal 2010. Add on top of that the finding by the governments own Bureau of Economic Analysis, that the average federal civilian employee made $123,049 versus only $61,051 for the average private industry employee in 2009. And you can see how successful government is in "creating" jobs for itself.

The $787 billion dollar debacle has proved, once again, that the government can not create jobs. Any more than they can create wealth or productivity.

The fact that some percentage of people who positively answer such question is obviously due to the "cow herding" questions. Why not include "Cutting Taxes"? Simply because that would have driven the desired results down. I'm sure someone as "smart" as you would have noticed that if the questions had been say,

1. Reduce deficit
2. Cut Taxes
3. Don't Know

When all you have is a hammer...

Posted by: Dick on August 29, 2010 at 5:21 AM | PERMALINK


Trying to recreate the New Deal these days would be a horrible mistake for two major reasons. First, how can a government make work program succeed while the U.S. maintains open borders and unlimited immigration. A make work jobs programs cannot work with immigration amnesty and open borders. The FDR Administration was smart enough to close the borders. The modern Democrats will maintain open borders no matter how much it hurts blue collar Americans and the middle class.

Also, creating a massive public works program would be a clear signal for anyone interested in the private sector to leave the county or at least invest else where. A massive public sector will be a huge drag on the private sector and create a huge disincentive for private sector investment. Why work hard in the private sector when the government will just tax all of the profits away and give it to the favored groups of the Democratic party.

Look at cities like Detroit or Newark or Camden to see what happens when the government is the best job to have.

Posted by: superdestroyer on August 29, 2010 at 6:08 AM | PERMALINK

Get rid of the disgusting ads!

Posted by: lymie on August 29, 2010 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Μεγάλη άρθρο! Σήμερα έχει καταγραφεί σε αυτό το ελεύθερο σε απευθείας σύνδεση βάση δεδομένων της έρευνας:http://kratosellas.blogspot.com

Posted by: kratosellas on August 29, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Όσο η μεσαία τάξη θα μπορούσε να κρατήσει τις δαπάνες όλα ήταν εντάξει. Αλλά μόλις πιστωτικών αυστηρότεροι τη μεσαία τάξη σταμάτησαν οι δαπάνες και οι εργοδότες δεν είχε κανέναν να πουλήσει σε.

Posted by: kratosellas on August 29, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Government should not be seen as a drain, but as a pump, allocating resources where needed. Right now it needs to stimulate the economy by policies that do result in job creation, such as the bill opening up credit for small businesses that the Republicans virulently oppose.

Government is only a drain when it takes collective resources and hands them over to the already wealthy, to big corporate and agricultural interests over small businesses and small farms...

Posted by: jjm on August 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The corporate media tell me every day that average Americans want tax cuts for the rich, radical budget cuts, zero-bound interest rates and no action from the Feds, and cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These media tell me this day in, day out.

The Koch brothers, Peter G. Peterson, Mortimer Zuckerman, Steve Forbes, countless hedge fund billionaires, and others are doing their damnedest to ensure that not only I but the majority of people, especially the Tea Partiers but many others, against their own interests and better judgment, believe this. The corporate media, made up of millionaires and multimillionaires, fully believes and is catapulting this propaganda.

No polls or interviews with the "small people" will convince our hapless, out-of-touch President, his DLC advisors (stuck in 1994), or the Democrats in Congress that what the wealthy lites want (which is what the GOP is always pushing) is not what the "average Americans" want, and we're all going to suffer as a result.

Posted by: Drexxiya on August 29, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK


The $787 billion dollar debacle has proved, once again, that the government can not create jobs.


Before the stimulus, the job losses in the national economy when Chimpy Bush was still in office were about 750,000 a month. After the stimulus, the national economy had been gaining an average of almost 200,000 jobs a month. That’s a reversal approaching a million jobs a month.

The $787 billion stimulus worked like a charm. The problem, as many of us were stating from the very beginning, was that the stimulus was far too small and filled with far too many useless tax cuts.

The fact that some percentage of people who positively answer such question is obviously due to the "cow herding" questions. Why not include ‘Cutting Taxes’ ?

Because “cutting taxes” is not stimulative and never has been.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 29, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think you let the politicians and the "news media" off the hook when you say the public viewed the deficit as a top priority, and politicians then reacted to the voters' priorities. The "'press", elected officials, and the likes of Petey Peterson worked hard to convince the public this was some major threat to their economic and social security --and voila. We all know the public would care not a whit for an amorphous deficit unless fear-mongered into it.

Hopefully the public has self-immunized to an extent from the village clown-show.

Posted by: nope on August 30, 2010 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

More than a third of Americans support tax cuts for other people. Other people *richer* than themselves; in most cases *much* richer than themselves.

Go figure.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on August 30, 2010 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

corret me if i am wrong here - - but if our currency is fiat, and bernanke [[ bush pick for the private fed charter]] has done plenty of quantitative easing [[print money]], why even make an stimulus accounting entry? [[more debt]]

get rid of the fed charter, keep congress crony critters from dispersing free wealth and return to a stable currency. wall street would hate that as there would not be reason to invest in that wealth destruction by people wanting to protect the value of money but most people dont care about wall street and the huge amount of overleveraging needs to be whittled down imo.

we have offshored quite a bit of jobs and industry in this country because greed, ayn rand style of trickle down theory, since the time of reagan, and it doesnt work. ergo i think stimulus will only create jobs temporarily as it did before during the bush and obama admins.

Iraq, since we became an empire, was an economical government sponsored adventure in my book. one reminiscient of some type of new dutch east india company where the military is used to open up new avenues of commerce. it was, as biil kristol of pnac fame says, "by sober and serious people" i call bs on that and so he wants to stay in iraq while many prisons, schools and buildings, even a water treatment plant, costing billions and sitting empty or non-working given to the iraqi people 'as is' remain unused and unfinished. sober and serious people thought they could cure the middle east problem by creating the rational to send in the ndeic after bombing the country into a civil war and then just build a city and they would come. it didnt work. the sober and serious profiteers of hegemony were wrong. it was a bad idea.

not only was it meant to fix the middle east it was expected this, somehow, would stimulate our economy thru the boken window theory of war.

we need to bring production back to america.

im wanting to stay on my little soap box here but dont want to flood the board with something thats tangential to our economy but not directly related to this poll about whether to spend or not.

in short i am for some spending but that it should not create more deficits [[since the private bank want to keep us in debt apparently]]. Any stimulus, as before, will show a small increase in gdp [[as military spending has done]], but wont bring back the jobs we need.

i feel we are looking at not one [2000-2010] but two lost decades no matter which party takes back the house, senate or oval office. neither have any ideas other than the think tank heritage cato canards of privatizing them. [[life support for fail street]]

**climbing off soap box=-

Posted by: Kill Bill on August 31, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

More than a third of Americans support tax cuts for other people. Other people *richer* than themselves; in most cases *much* richer than themselves. Go figure. -=nancy irving=-

that, i think, only goes to show the effectiveness of wealthy foundations and think tanks using wealth to promote tax cuts. the same foundations/think tanks are the same ones creating the myth that social security is broke although it has 2.6 trillion in reserves. the only time social security was nearly depleted was back in 1982 and that has been paid back with interest. what they are doing is creating the problem [ss is broke!!] for a agenda of wall streets to create, basically, mnadated investors.

Posted by: KIll Bill on August 31, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK



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