Friday, January 16, 2009

Most Americans Support New Stimulus Proposal

House Democrats released the latest version of a new stimulus package meant to turn our struggling economy around. Most notably, the stimulus package swelled from $775 billion to $825 billion with a proposed $550 billion in spending and aid to states and $275 billion in tax cuts, according to CNNMoney. Despite the large price tag, Americans are generally perceived to be on board with the plan, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. 43 percent of the people surveyed called the plan a “good idea,” while 27 percent said it was a “bad idea.” The remaining portion had no opinion either way.

The most pressing concern for the people surveyed was unemployment, followed by the federal budget deficit which came in at a distant second. 63 percent of the surveyed individuals felt that government spending should be the biggest priority of the bill, while 33 percent felt that tax cuts should be the main catalyst.

It would be interesting to compare this current poll to how people felt about these priorities prior to the last stimulus package. I have a sneaking suspicion that more people would have been in favor of tax cuts back then. Because those didn’t work as planned, people are turning to a different strategy to fix the problem.

President-elect Obama is enjoying unprecedented support for his plan and his administration as Americans look to him to get us out of this mess, but if Obama’s stimulus plan doesn’t get succeed, it will be interesting to see how quickly that support wanes. President Bush once had the highest approval rating ever (90 percent in September 2001), and now has the second lowest approval rating ever, only bested by Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal. The American people are ready for results, and Obama may learn, as George W. did, that opinions can change drastically and quickly.

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