We haven’t spent enough with Stimulus I, we need to spend more with Stimulus II – really?

President Obama announced on Tuesday that the government is going to spend more money to create new jobs.  No doubt, with unemployment still over the double-digit threshold we certainly need new jobs – but is more spending by the government really the answer?

Not according to the public in a slew of recently released public polls:

  • Six-in-ten Americans think the stimulus package passed earlier this year is either having no effect (32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) or is hurting (28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) the economy. Just 19{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} think it is helping the economy, and 18{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say it is keeping the economy from getting worse.*
  • When voters were asked what one or two things upsets them most about the way our corporate or political leaders are handling the economy, “big banks and Wall Street getting handouts while nothing is done for working Americans” tops the list at 41{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, closely followed by “the government taking over too much control over everything” at 37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.**
  • And, when asked what they think is the best way to increase jobs here in the United States, increased stimulus spending is a distant afterthought:+


When you consider the original stimulus package was a whopping $787 billion, and the new spending is going to add to that, pushing the total to more than $1 trillion it reminds me of Einstein’s definition of insanity – “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 

Apparently we’re supposed to be calmed by the notion that there’s $200 billion that wasn’t spent from TARP and that will help offset these additional costs. Um, ok, but are we supposed to be recycling these TARP funds? Wouldn’t they put to better use in drawing down our national debt? We certainly know where the public is on that issue from our NBC/WSJ surveys.++

By a margin of two-to-one, Americans say the president and the Congress should “worry more about keeping the budget deficit down, even though it may mean it will take longer for the economy to recover” (62{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), than “boosting the economy even though it may mean larger budget deficits now and in the future” (31{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).

Don’t get me wrong, some of the proposals Obama put on the table this week do make sense, such as offering incentives to small businesses and making loans more readily available to them. The problem is in this Administration’s big-government-is-good answer to all the country’s woes this apparently never occurred to them until now. Shame they could only figure this out after a series of wasteful spending projects and at a cost of $1 trillion to all of us, the American taxpayers.

*Bloomberg national survey conducted Dec 3-7, 2009 among 1,000 adults.

**Democracy Corps national survey conducted Nov 12-16, 2009 among 1,000 voters.

+Gallup national survey conducted Nov 20-22, 2009 among 1,017 adults.

++NBC/WSJ national survey conducted Oct 22-25, 2009 among 1009 adults.

Public Opinion Strategies