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Archive for Friday, June 19, 2009

Deficit threatens Obama’s popularity

June 19, 2009

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— The solid armor of President Barack Obama’s popularity may have a crack — a nearly $2 trillion-sized one.

There’s continued and considerable public restiveness over eye-popping federal budget deficits, a potential danger for both Obama’s ambitious agenda and his political fortunes.

About $1.3 trillion when Obama took office, this year’s deficit now is on track to soar to a record $1.85 trillion after his massive influx of federal spending to stimulate the moribund economy, help struggling homeowners, stabilize frozen credit markets and bail out troubled banks, automakers and insurers.

With those actions, Obama has greatly expanded the government’s reach — and, polls say, stoked people’s concerns.

From the start, Obama has been sensitive about skyrocketing deficits. He’s grown only more so lately.

Shortly after his November election, the president-elect said: “We shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after” because righting the economy should take precedence. Seven months later, he declared that the deficit problem “keeps me awake at night.”

He’s mindful of this: The public’s lingering wariness over a government plunging deeper into the red threatens to turn into a major liability. As he said in April: “We also have a deficit — a confidence gap — when it comes to the American people.”

Recent polls indicate as much.

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported Thursday that a majority of Americans — 55 percent — are optimistic that Obama will eventually reduce the budget deficit. But that’s a smaller slice than the 61 percent of people who approve of him generally.

And according to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, 60 percent of Americans don’t believe the president has a strategy for dealing with the deficit.

Also, 58 percent in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll want Obama to make controlling the deficit a higher priority than a speedy economic recovery. And, nearly half expressed a “great deal” of concern about the increase of government intervention in American life that Obama has overseen, from taking over companies to influencing corporate bonuses and seeking to add government-sponsored insurance to the health care system.

Those growing more wary are mostly political independents, the fickle swing voters who decide close elections. They were critical to the winning coalition Obama assembled last fall and certainly will be critical again if he runs in 2012.

In the nearer term, if voters turn on Obama, it could threaten the Democrats’ comfortable majority in Congress and make it difficult for the president to secure approval for his ambitious proposals to overhaul health care, revamp energy policy and institute sweeping economic reforms. Democrats up for re-election in 2010 will gladly attach themselves to Obama if he’s successful — but they also will just as quickly distance themselves from him amid failure.

So far, the reservoir of concern hasn’t dragged down Obama’s overall approval ratings. Despite disappointing economic progress and international turmoil, solid majorities still view the president favorably and larger numbers than in years say the country is on the right track. And, for now at least, people blame former President George W. Bush for the deficit more than they blame Obama, by far.

But the GOP senses a rare opportunity for a potent message against the popular president. Republicans are hammering Obama as a big-spending, big-government, big-deficit leader.

Obama has promised to cut the deficit by half within his four-year term. He also focuses just as much on the need to drastically cut the expense of health care as he does on expanding coverage. He pledges at every turn that he won’t accept any plan that increases the deficit. Expect this to continue as the debate heats up into the summer and fall.

Comments

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

The first word of the headline should be "Reality".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

The problem isn't the deficit-- fixing the financial collapse caused by 30 years of economic stupidity, neocon neo-colonialism, and just living way beyond our means necessitated a period of deficit spending.

The problem is that Obama has directed most of that spending to the same financial institutions and to the continuation of wars and militarism that that created this mess in the first place,

bankboy119 5 years, 6 months ago

"The problem isn't the deficit.....and just living way beyond our means necessitated a period of deficit spending."

You did read that before you posted correct? Complete hypocrisy.

How does the average American get out of debt? After they live beyond their means they necessarily spent more before they got out of debt? No, they stopped spending, cut some things that made life comfortable but weren't necessary, lived a "lower quality of life" for awhile and got things paid off.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

" After they live beyond their means they necessarily spent more before they got out of debt? No, they stopped spending, cut some things that made life comfortable but weren't necessary, lived a “lower quality of life” for awhile and got things paid off."

A fair amount of this is most certainly necessary. But it would do nothing to address the larger problem-- our whole economy (and foreign policy) have been so wrong-headed for so long that deficit spending is required to turn it around. Unfortunately, the bulk of the deficit spending we're getting does nothing but perpetuate the same idiocy that got us where we are.

bankboy119 5 years, 6 months ago

Bozo,

I agree with you, at least partially, for the second time (what is this world coming to). Though I'm sure we differ on where the money should have been spent, the outrageous deficits we have incurred have put us in this position. Adding another 20% ($1.3 trillion to $1.85 trillion) not including the proposed health care plan to the deficit is ludicrous in itself. They may need to spend some money to clean house but none of the fat has been cut.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 6 months ago

everyone needs to relax.. the deficit is an easy fix. all the government has to do is tax us another 30-40% for the next 30 years. see, no problem. of course.. with all that new found income and a shrinking national debt, they would feel empowered to create even more government programs to help us with our struggling lifestyles. But that's easily fixed by adding incremental taxes until we just work for free and live in government run shanty towns, no cars, government healthcare, and of course digital tv, so they can spoon feed their rhetoric to us and know who is and who isn't watching. but hey, at least we'll have jobs!

gogoplata 5 years, 6 months ago

Obama.... just as dumb as Bush. I think the change we were looking for was making a bad situation better, not worse.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

bankboy119 (Anonymous) says…

"You did read that before you posted correct?"

That was a rhetorical question, I assume?

boohoozo even reiterated it in case there were any doubts: "But it would do nothing to address the larger problem— our whole economy (and foreign policy) have been so wrong-headed for so long that deficit spending is required to turn it around."

boohoozo believes you have to spend money to get out of debt. boohoozo believes continuing the old policies (in a bigger way) is the best way to fix the damage he claims resulted from those policies. boohoozo believes if a Republican does something it's a crime, but if a Democrat does it it's an enlightened innovation; that if a Republican does something it's doomed to failure (and they get all the blame), but if a Democrat does it it's bound to succeed (and they get all the credit).

boohoozo was first in line at the kool-aid bowl, and he's back in line for seconds.

bankboy119 5 years, 6 months ago

nota,

Bozo said later he believes in this situation the money needs spent. I'm aware of what he normally posts. I believe money did need to be spent to clean up some of the mess we're in caused by both parties being irresponsible for the last number of years. I don't believe that how this money was spent was the correct way in which to do it because nothing has been cut. Adding expenses without cutting back on benefits is only making this situation much worse than it already is.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

bankboy119 (Anonymous) says…

"Bozo said later he believes in this situation the money needs spent. I'm aware of what he normally posts. I believe money did need to be spent to clean up some of the mess we're in caused by both parties being irresponsible for the last number of years."

I know what he said. Spending money to get out of a deficit is ludicrous on its face, no matter which toilet you decide to flush it down.

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