Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

New Stimulus Poll | January 25, 2010

CNN has a new poll out showing that roughly 3 in 4 Americans believes the stimulus has been a massive waste of taxpayer dollars. Sigh. Joe Klein over at Time Magazine has a slew of good points about the stimulus: the inclusion of $275-300B of tax cuts to 95% of Americans, the $250B of direct aid to states, and the lack of shovel ready projects that haven’t come online yet. Klein concludes with these two points:

1. The Obama Administration has done a terrible job explaining the stimulus package to the American people…especially since there have been very few documented cases of waste so far.

2. This is yet further evidence that Americans are flagrantly ill-informed…and, for those watching Fox News, misinformed.

The other point that Klein doesn’t mention is where we’d be without the stimulus and bailouts of various corporate entities, stuck in the middle of the second Great Depression with unemployment somewhere between 15-20% and credit markets completely frozen. While the vast majority of economists agree on this point, it seems that 3 in 4 Americans don’t grasp just how bad things would have gotten without the stimulus.

This is a classic case of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t policy by the Obama administration. As such, both Bush and Obama deserve credit, not scorn, for pulling us back from the brink. And Obama certainly deserves more patience than he has been given so far in this debate. The stimulus helped save us from an economic catastrophe, and now it’s slowly but surely distributing funds to projects around the country.

Patience, America! Patience.

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