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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Stimulus Conundrum and Electoral Reality

The President today made a very intuitive point.

echo the very same failed economic theories that led us into this crisis in the first place: the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems, that we can ignore fundamental challenges like energy independence and the high cost of health care, that we can somehow deal with this in a piecemeal fashion and still expect our economy and our country to thrive."

reject those theories. And so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change."

He makes an interesting point. He's absolutely right that he won resoundingly in November. His policies should then be winning now, right? Which is why President Obama must be befuddled by the latest polling on this stimulus package.

Support for the economic recovery plan working its way through Congress has fallen again this week. For the first time, a plurality of voters nationwide oppose the $800-billion-plus plan. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% favor the legislation, 43% are opposed, and 20% are not sure.

The polling for this stimulus is in free fall and it will only get worse as the debate continues. This rapid deterioration is something I predicted a week ago. That's because this is a bad bill and I could see that the drip of bad news would only continue.

So, the question must be asked. If the voters overwhelmingly approved of President Obama in November, why are they now overwhelmingly disapproving of his signature legislation. After all, is anyone really surprised that massive government spending is a part of an economic stimulus backed by President Obama? They shouldn't be and that's because he ran on such a platform proudly.

In fact, the reality is that his victory was neither an acceptance of big government spending nor was it a rejection of tax cuts. Politicians, at their own peril, believe that voters ever reject keeping more of their own money. November, was both an approval of his own soaring rhetoric and a rejection of Republican's incompetence over the last few years. Let's face it President Obama didn't run on this stimulus package. He ran on change, what works, and other soaring rhetoric.

The voters also didn't reject tax cuts per se. They voted against the way the Republicans had governed. They didn't vote for massive government spending per se. They voted for someone that symbolized change. That was the vaguest of language. Now that reality has hit, President Obama may come to realize that much of his actual policies will be rejected.

He may have won on November 4th, but he may come to realize soon that most of his policies won't necessarily be policies that the voters will accept. That's why his signature legislation is being overwhelmingly rejected. Change we may believe in, but a massive spending bill is not something the voters will support.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Republicans will get some of their wanted legislation into the bill. - such as increased tax breaks for new homeowners and removing some of the more arcane spending provisions.

However, the bulk of Obama's bill, and what he wants in it, will be passed. So, increased spending will occur.

The Republicans seem to have no other ideas than reduce taxes.