Hey Congress: When It Comes to the Stimulus, Please Listen to Your Constituents!

The polling group Rasmussen is reporting a serious slide in support for the various stimuli efforts afoot:

Fifty percent (50%) of U.S. voters say the final economic recovery plan that emerges from Congress is at least somewhat likely to make things worse rather than better, but 39% say such an outcome is not likely.

Lord love the American people (at least as captured by this telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters):

Part of this concern is a natural reflection of voter skepticism about the legislative process. Many Americans simply accept the notion that no matter how bad things are, Congress could make them worse. Most voters currently rate Congress' performance as poor, and most expect that lobbyists will have more influence on the legislation than voters or the president. When reacting to the economic downturn, 46% of Americans remain more concerned that the government will do too much while 41% worry it will do too little.

More here.

And then there's this truly heartening development:

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.

Two weeks ago, 45% supported the plan. Last week, 42% supported it.

More on that here. There's a new Gallup Poll floating around too that finds only 38 percent of Americans want the stimulus plan passed as currently conceived.

There's a reason that President Obama and the Dems in Congress were pushing this thing faster than Monica Lewinsky carrying a pizza pie: The more people have time to think and reflect on the details of the stimulus package (which is clearly loaded with more pork than a can of SPAM and heavy on spending circa 2011), the more likely they will be to question its goals and efficacy.

Score one for the American people. Now let's just hope our representative government is feeling at least kinda-sorta representative. Or at least kinda-sorta intelligent: Seriously, if you're going to wreck or re-engineer the entire U.S. economy, take more than a coupla weeks to hash things out.

For a Reason- and John Holmes-approved stimulus plan, just click below:

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  • ||

    Don't you understand?

    It does no good to give tax cuts to the Democratic elite. As revealed in the past couple of weeks, they don't pay taxes. Just how would a tax cut benefit them?

  • Lester Hunt||

    Yes, there is hope. But remember that TARP was opposed by the voters as well, and our Masters more or less ignored us -- and with impunity at election time.

  • Johnc||

    And how many people think God created the world in seven days? Just because "the people" think something doesn't make it true. Even if they happen to agree with your own agenda.

  • Abdul||

    Just how would a tax cut benefit them?

    The retroactive interest and penalties they pay when they're finally caught/appointed to cabinet positions will be less burdensome.

  • Balloon Maker||

    Thanks, Nick. We've all learned an important lesson about holes.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm starting to get scared. If a majority of Americans believe something, the chances of it being true are slim, indeed.
    I hope I don't have to become a Keynesian.

  • Chicken Little||

    I tell ya' I get no respect.

  • ||

    There's a reason that President Obama and the Dems in Congress were pushing this thing faster than Monica Lewinsky carrying a pizza pie

    Me no understand this. Somebody explain, please?

  • Xeones||

    I hope I don't have to become a Keynesian.

    Silly Citizen. In Obama's America, we're all Keynesians!

  • ||

    Me no understand this. Somebody explain, please?

    Presumably she's rushing to get home so she can eat it. I do appreciate Nick using the NY/NJ appellation "pie", however. I've said "I want a large pie with garlic and basil" to people in other states and gotten the blankest looks.

  • ||

    But remember that TARP was opposed by the voters as well, and our Masters more or less ignored us -- and with impunity at election time.



    TARP was a little more complicated, and partially in the sense that the polling really changed after the House Republicans wouldn't go along. People got convinced that the world really was going to end unless it were passed. The polling in favor of TARP spiked immediately after the initial vote against it, which had a lot to do with the eventual end result.

    It's of course possible that the same thing could happen here; many polls still show majorities in favor of some stimulus, just not this one.

  • ||

    Dear America,

    You're too stupid to know what's good for you.
    Just lie back, and try to relax.

    Love,

    Congress

  • ||

    Fifty percent (50%) of U.S. voters say the final economic recovery plan that emerges from Congress is at least somewhat likely to make things worse rather than better, but 39% say such an outcome is not likely.

    Exactly. I read the bill, and it doesn't give me enough money. As I'm still paying for it, I expect it will make things worse (for me).

    /LikelyAmericanVoter

    When reacting to the economic downturn, 46% of Americans remain more concerned that the government will do too much while 41% worry it will do too little.

    I interpret this result to mean (according to the Median Voter Theorem) we are governed by Goldilocks. Thus the bill will pass.

  • check minus||

    Question for you Constitutional experts out there:

    Could a president actually not spend the money the congress allocates for the various departments and agencies? Could a president just say, "I just don't feel like spending all this money because you didn't think this through." I'm not talking about a Veto. I'm thinking what would happen if he signed the bill, but then just decided not to send any of the funds out. Impeachment I suppose, but is there anything in the constitution that states he can't just change his mind?

  • ||

    Could a president actually not spend the money the congress allocates for the various departments and agencies?

    My vague recollection is that there is a hideously bad SCOTUS case that says, yes, the President is Congress's bitch, and can't decline to spend money it has authorized.

  • ||

    P Brooks,

    It's "bend over, and try to relax."

  • ||

    What if by "spend" he interprets that to mean "return to Treasury?"

  • Elemenope||

    It's of course possible that the same thing could happen here; many polls still show majorities in favor of some stimulus, just not this one.

    Right. I'm pretty sure, for example, a demand side stimulus (i.e. write a check to every American) would have solid majorities in support.

    Doesn't make that a good idea either. People not knowing jack about a subject has never stopped them from offering a strenuous opinion.

  • ||

    Does a can of spam actually have all that much pork?

    Regardless, I actually find the numbers worryingly close. 37% of Americans have little more than a spinal cord leading up to an hollow cavern where a brain should be.

    A couple of weeks of media scaremongering about what will happen if we *don't* pass the "stimulus" might be enough for another 5-10% to have their brains liquefy and leak out their ears. Once Congress gets the green light from pollsters, they're going to fudge-pack a spending bill like it's going out of style.

  • Reinmoose||

    So 43% are opposed to the plan as written, but 50% think it could do more dammage than good...

    Who's the overlap?

  • Lene Johansen||

    Seems like Katherine Mangu-Ward got her wish for the Obama presidency sooner, rather than later: the American public has regained their cynicism!

  • Reinmoose||

    I want to know the distribution of responses from the subset of the population who either have been laid off so far, fear they will be laid off, or have close friends/family who have been laid off.

  • ||

    Who's the overlap?

    "Well, it's not like I could write an effective bill to spend 800 billion dollars. At least they're trying. Do I get any money?"

    OR

    "I am positioned to gain from the coming Apocalypse, and I support this plan."

  • Elemenope||

    Who's the overlap?

    The people who believe it *could* hurt, but also *could* help.

    The stimulus agnostics.

  • ||

    This is some of the most creative spinning and cherry-picking of unfriendly polling data I've ever seen.

    It's impressive, in its own way.

  • ||

    Score one for the American people.

    And yet these same fucking retards keep getting elected by the same American people. This is why the Constitution restrains the power of the Federal government. We know we are going to end up with a bunch of populist gold-diggers and sociopaths in office; the least we can do is prevent them from doing any real damage. Unfortunately that is a quaint notion these days.

  • Reinmoose||

    El -
    I thought the same thing too, but then I found it hard to believe that anyone would consider spending 800 billion dollars if they thought it COULD do more damage than good.

    I mean, as libertarians we have a steady structure for evaluating these things. The main goal is liberty, really, so even if a proposed action did do more "harm" than "good," we would still be in favor of it on moral grounds. For those who don't have a set of principles to guide what they do and don't support politically, how can you possibly advocate something like this if you think it could do more harm than good?

  • DADIODADDY||

    we are soooo screwed...

  • Seward||

    Citizen Nothing,

    Just go saltwater. :)

  • Seward||

    We're going to come to regret this action in the ways similar to the way we came to regret going after Iraq.

  • ||

    We're going to come to regret this...

    *Going* to?

  • Seward||

    joe,

    Can you be more specific?

    Anyway, it shouldn't be all that surprising that a large segment of the U.S. population would oppose this; after all, large segments of the U.S. population are skeptical about the ability of the government to "fine tune" the economic workings of the nation.

  • Seward||

    JW,

    Touche. :)

  • Elemenope||

    I thought the same thing too, but then I found it hard to believe that anyone would consider spending 800 billion dollars if they thought it COULD do more damage than good.

    A good point. Now you know why I think agnostics ain't got no reason to live.

  • Grist||

    "The polling group Rasmussen is reporting a serious slide in support for the various stimuli efforts afoot"

    Yesterday, Joe said it's BS. And Joe's never wrong.

  • alan||

    A good point. Now you know why I think agnostics ain't got no reason to live.

    Let's just say we get by on cheap thrills and projects for now.

  • alan||

    Or, so long as there is a flickering one in ten thousand chance a woman we have yet to meet will
    wear a dress to the office that exposes side boob, suicide is just silly.

  • Seward||

    I think it is interesting that there is likely a subset of the population who believes that as a hypothesis that Keynesian savings paradox, etc. makes a degree of sense, but who assume that the federal government has so many bootleggers in it and outside of it that any government measure will only so obliquely address the proscriptions of that hypothesis that it will create more problems than it solves. At least that is one way of looking at it.

  • anti-joe||

    I like the politics of fear Obama better that the hopey version. Other Americans don't like it so much. Cherry pick yer ass. CHA-CHA-CHANGES!

  • Check Minus||

    R C Dean,

    Thanks for that information! I found the case. It was Little v. Barreme. So much for creative excutating. I guess we're screwed.

  • stuartl||

    More cherry picking -- CBS poll 2/2-2/4:

    "In your opinion which will do more to get the U.S. out of the current recession: increasing government spending, or reducing taxes?" N=417 (Form B)

    Increasing Government Spending 16%
    Reducing Taxes 62%
    Both 7%
    Neither 7%
    Unsure 8%


    4-1 in favor of tax cuts over the government printing money to stimulate the economy.

  • sage||

    Your cherries are so yummy and sweet.

  • ||

    Right. I'm pretty sure, for example, a demand side stimulus (i.e. write a check to every American) would have solid majorities in support.

    The good thing about demand side stimulus is that it doesn't result in (a) massive increases to spending baselines or (b) nationalized companies.

  • adrian||

    denialist cherry-picking partisans!

  • ||

    Part of this concern is a natural reflection of voter skepticism about the legislative process. Many Americans simply accept the notion that no matter how bad things are, Congress could make them worse.



    Duh! These people could fuck up a wet dream.

  • alan||

    R C Dean | February 6, 2009, 12:14pm | #
    Right. I'm pretty sure, for example, a demand side stimulus (i.e. write a check to every American) would have solid majorities in support.

    The good thing about demand side stimulus is that it doesn't result in (a) massive increases to spending baselines or (b) nationalized companies.


    Definite positives you point out there. I agree with the Supply Siders though that demand stimulus means are less effective than supply oriented stimulus because 'incentives matter.'

  • alan||

    oh, and I bet you already knew that;)

    (I hate when people iterate an implied point when I make them, so my apologies for doing the same)

  • ||

    People who think the government's job is to help us will probably never understand why many of us are against it.

    To them, we are stranded in the ocean denying the life preserver they threw for us. They will not comprehend why we are not interested in grabbing it.

  • ||

    Yes, Congress, please listen to your constituents.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/114184/Public-Support-Stimulus-Package-Unchanged.aspx

  • ||

    Write a check to every American? I'm not sure if i've paid off the last one yet.

    The problem is thinking you can increase spending without increasing revenue.

  • ||

    Hey, stuartl, why didn't you copy the paragraph right below that, from the same link?

    Would you approve or disapprove of the federal government passing an economic stimulus bill costing more than 800 billion dollars in order to try to help the economy

    51% Approve
    39% Disapprove


    Dishonest, cherry-picking, denialist, partisan hacks.

  • ||

    Yesterday, Joe said it's BS. And Joe's never wrong.

    And I continue not to be wrong.

    Here's an aggregation of polling data for you:

    www.pollingreport.com

    Click on the "stimulus" link. Lots of polls.

    Seriously, folks:

    1. Look at data

    2. Draw conclusion.

    The order is important here.

  • I have only one thing to say .||

    MONORAIL.

  • stuartl||

    Dishonest, cherry-picking, denialist, partisan hacks.

    Glad to see you keeping the discussion at a high level. There were many polls on the page, I chose to mention the one I find most interesting -- it appears the country favors tax cuts over spending. It was not the only poll with those results.

    Obama has had a bad week. I expect him to recover, but it is a surprise.

  • ||

    Obama is right about one thing: It isn't enough to just cut taxes. That approach has been tried and failed.

    You also have to cut spending.

  • anti-joe||

    Stimulus can come in different flavors. Here's a quote from Keynes in favor of counter cyclical payroll tax cuts:

    "I am converted to your proposal…for varying rates of contributions in good and bad times. (June 16, 1942). Keynes, Collected Writings, vol. 27, p. 208."

    " …[Y]ou are able to show fluctuations in income of an order of magnitude which is significant in the context… So far as employees are concerned, reductions in contributions are more likely to lead to increased expenditure as compared with saving than a reduction in income tax would, and are free from the objection to a reduction in income tax that the wealthier classes would benefit disproportionately. At the same time, the reduction to employers, operating as a mitigation of the costs of production, will come in particularly helpfully in bad times. (July 1, 1942). Keynes, Collected Writings, vol. 27, p. 218."


    source: http://thinkmarkets.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/keynes-supported-payroll-tax-reductions/


    Perhaps half the folks think payroll tax cuts would be part of a stimulus rather than education spending. Polls can be twisted to elicit a certain response. Any dolt with two synapses firing can ascertain that. Face the facts: joe boyle is a dishonest, partisan, cherry-picking, rat soup mutha fucka who wants to take advantage of a panicky situation to get his policies enacted.

  • Fresno Bob||

    Here's a link.

    Click on it.

    1. Look at data

    2. Draw conclusion

    The order is important here. Or maybe not.

  • ||

    """MONORAIL."""

    Maybe that's more of a Shelbyville thing.

  • anti-joe||

    TrickyVic, true. Here in Springfield, a Monorail system is bound to usher in an era of prosperity.

  • ||

    I hear those things are awfully loud ...

  • MonoRail Cafe||

    Ain't no MonoRail here! Never was!
    *slam*

  • ||

    Someone needs to do a "Stimulus" version of the monorail song.

  • ||

    Wah wah wah joe iz meen.

    Yawn.

    Hey, dimwit: the stimulus bill contains about 40% tax cuts. You'll notice my complete lack of criticism of this idea.

    Well, not YOU, actually. But someone who's not a dishonest, dimwitted hack.

  • anti-joe||

    In previous posts, you've been firmly in the camp of good ol FDR styled infrastructure stimulus. Additionally, not all tax cuts are created equal. For instance, 15% Real Estate tax credit is horseshit. Our economy is already too far skewed into home buying.

  • ||

    Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
    United States House of Representatives

    Statement on Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act

    February 3, 2009

    Madame Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation to restore financial stability to America's economy by abolishing the Federal Reserve. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, middle and working-class Americans have been victimized by a boom-and-bust monetary policy. In addition, most Americans have suffered a steadily eroding purchasing power because of the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. This represents a real, if hidden, tax imposed on the American people.

    From the Great Depression, to the stagflation of the seventies, to the current economic crisis caused by the housing bubble, every economic downturn suffered by this country over the past century can be traced to Federal Reserve policy. The Fed has followed a consistent policy of flooding the economy with easy money, leading to a misallocation of resources and an artificial "boom" followed by a recession or depression when the Fed-created bubble bursts.

    With a stable currency, American exporters will no longer be held hostage to an erratic monetary policy. Stabilizing the currency will also give Americans new incentives to save as they will no longer have to fear inflation eroding their savings. Those members concerned about increasing America's exports or the low rate of savings should be enthusiastic supporters of this legislation.

    Though the Federal Reserve policy harms the average American, it benefits those in a position to take advantage of the cycles in monetary policy. The main beneficiaries are those who receive access to artificially inflated money and/or credit before the inflationary effects of the policy impact the entire economy. Federal Reserve policies also benefit big spending politicians who use the inflated currency created by the Fed to hide the true costs of the welfare-warfare state. It is time for Congress to put the interests of the American people ahead of special interests and their own appetite for big government.

    Abolishing the Federal Reserve will allow Congress to reassert its constitutional authority over monetary policy. The United States Constitution grants to Congress the authority to coin money and regulate the value of the currency. The Constitution does not give Congress the authority to delegate control over monetary policy to a central bank. Furthermore, the Constitution certainly does not empower the federal government to erode the American standard of living via an inflationary monetary policy.

    In fact, Congress' constitutional mandate regarding monetary policy should only permit currency backed by stable commodities such as silver and gold to be used as legal tender. Therefore, abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to a constitutional system will enable America to return to the type of monetary system envisioned by our nation's founders: one where the value of money is consistent because it is tied to a commodity such as gold. Such a monetary system is the basis of a true freemarket economy.

    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to stand up for working Americans by putting an end to the manipulation of the money supply which erodes Americans' standard of living, enlarges big government, and enriches well-connected elites, by cosponsoring my legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve.

  • cunnivore||

    I could've sworn Wolf Blitzer minutes ago, matter-of-factly stated that a "LARGE MAJORITY" of voters support Obama's stimulus plan.

    Are you saying....Wolf LIED to me?!

  • cunnivore||

    Would you approve or disapprove of the federal government passing an economic stimulus bill costing more than 800 billion dollars in order to try to help the economy

    51% Approve
    39% Disapprove



    Right on, joe. Nothing like a nice loaded question to back up your pre-formed opinions.

    I bet if you asked "Do you plan to vote for Obama in order to have blacks be equal to whites?" the day before the election, Obama would have won by a lot more in that poll than he actually did.

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