In case you need further evidence that the Dem decision to effectively endorse the right’s austerity/cut-cut-cut frame is only harming themselves, check out the internals of the new Bloomberg poll. They show that the public broadly agrees with Republican arguments about the deficit, spending cuts and what it takes to rebuild the “confidence” required for an economic rebound.
The key numbers:
* Fifty-five percent of Americans think that spending cuts and tax cuts will give businesses more confidence to hire. Only 17 percent think government should spend more to stimulate the economy, and only another 17 percent think we should maintain current spending levels.
* Sixty-five percent say that a major reason for the economy remaining in the toilet is because the large federal deficit makes the economy “unstable.”
* Fifty-two percent think a major reason for our economic doldrums is that “uncertainty” created by government regulations and taxes is harming hiring.
* Only 35 percent think a major reason for the economic doldrums is that spending cuts hurts jobs.
In other words, the public broadly believes in what Paul Krugman refers to as the “confidence fairy,” i.e., the notion that deficit cutting is an important component in restoring confidence, a notion that even the White House has endorsed. It also agrees with the GOP’s argument that excessive regulation and taxes create “uncertainty.”
So the public now overwhelmingly believes the GOP's line on the economy: that government spending has destroyed the economy, that government oversight is killing jobs, and that the federal government itself is responsible for the continued economic recession.
It's possible to take that Bloomberg poll with a grain of salt, especially based on the wording of the poll's questions. But there are some bright spots for the Dems too. The number one reason for unemployment according to the poll is US jobs going overseas, something the Dems have been screaming about for some time now. And by a 49-40 margin, people are more frightened of the GOP getting control of the White House and Congress and cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Madicaid than they are of Democrats being in power and continuing spending.
However, the poll was split 45-46 on the GOP debt ceiling hostage situation an Republicans "holding out" for spending cuts...which is odd, because 71% of Americans believe a debt default would be either a serious problem (52%) or a catastrophe (19%) for the economy. 44% would blame Republicans, 41% Obama if that happened.
The one thing the Dems have going for them for sure is Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. If they give that up, then they're done in 2012. I don't know all of the Democrats in Washington get that the Republicans are sinking the economy in order to roll back the New Deal, but there you are. The good news? Some of them do:
Dems had better join the economic messaging war, or 2012 is going to be a disaster. On the other hand, we know what happens to Dems who speak out, and you can bet that is weighing on the minds of the "distinguished" men and women in Congress.
In a Capitol press conference Wednesday, the Senate's top Democrats argued that Republicans don't want to pass measures like a temporary payroll tax holiday for employers because they'll improve President Obama's re-election chances.
"Our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are driven by putting one man out of work: President Obama," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).
The harshest denunciation came from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-IL), the man who crafted the Dems' new "jobs first" message.
"We are also open to hiring incentives, perhaps in the form of a payroll tax cut for employers that was floated by the administration.... [T]hat might not be our first choice, that shows how willing we are to work with the Republicans to create jobs. It's pro-business, it's a tax cut, and many Republicans have been for it in the past. But now all of a sudden they're coming out against it," Schumer said.