Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The latest poll findings

They seem, on the surface, to be good news for the Obama administration:

"Large majorities of Americans support President Barack Obama's plans to revive the economy and his efforts to work across party lines, according to a pair of public opinion polls released Monday. One month into his presidency, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found 68 percent of Americans approve of Obama's job performance. Sixty-four percent of respondents supported the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus package and the same percentage backed his proposal to prevent housing foreclosures, the Washington Post reported."

Okay. But think about this a bit more deeply. 1] This shouldn't surprise us. When something is going wrong, when the economy hits a snag, many people love the idea of action--don't just stand there, do something. Obama's "stimulus" plan appears to be doing something, and so many Americans, without really understanding everything that was in that bill, naturally will nod their heads and say "let's try it." This is something Franklin D. Roosevelt understood well, and is why he, in his first inaugural address with the nation mired deep in the Depression, said that his administration promised "action--and action now." I suspect Democrats haven't forgotten that.

But 2] how Americans see Obama and his "stimulus" package now, in any case, is not on point. The question is, how will they see it in a year or two? And I think all this spending, so much of it dedicated to boondoggle projects that either won't affect the economy or at the least won't affect it for years, could easily lead to inflation, to a continued lack of confidence on Wall Street, and to a continued stalled economy. And by then, the polls will look differently.