Poll: Americans want Obama, Congress to focus on job creation rather than deficit

If this doesn’t prove the truth of Sarah Palin’s maxim that, to most people, poles are for strippers and skiers, I’m not sure what will. Just seven days ago, The Wall Street Journal released the results of its WSJ/NBC poll, which showed that 56 percent of “ordinary Americans” put reducing the deficit ahead of boosting the economy, even if it means the recovery will take longer, versus 38 percent who say vice versa. Today, a CNN/Opinion Research poll yielded results that, practically speaking, are essentially the opposite:

The CNN/Opinion Research Poll found that 65 percent of Americans would rather President Obama and Congress focus on job creation than deficit reduction. The poll found that 29 percent would rather Obama and Congress focus on the deficit instead of jobs and 6 percent said they want Obama and Congress to focus on both evenly. …

A Bloomberg News poll also released Wednesday found a slim majority of Americans don’t think Obama’s jobs legislation will successfully cut down the unemployment rate. But the CNN/Opinion Research poll found that a majority of Americans trust Obama over the GOP on handling the economy. Additionally, the CNN/Opinion Research poll found that 46 percent of Americans trust Obama more than the GOP on handling the economy compared to 37 percent who trust Republicans on more.

Perhaps the wording alone accounts for the difference. “Jobs” does, after all, sound far more urgent and personal than does “boosting the economy.” But, either way, I hope the WSJ poll is right because deficit reduction and job creation cannot be divorced from each other when the nation’s debt accounts for 100 percent of GDP. I’m fond of repeating these facts because they make the point so perfectly: According to a Reinhart-Rogoff study, worldwide, when the debt of a nation is more than 90 percent of GDP, economic growth is reduced by at least a percentage point — and that means a net loss of jobs. In fact, the Council of Economic Advisors has suggested that a 1 percentage point loss of growth translates into 1 million jobs annually. We’ve seen the president’s jobs plan and it’s just more of the same — stimulus spending that will add to the very debt that’s dragging down our economy. But we’ve yet to see the president’s promised deficit reduction plan. The American people need to see past the false dichotomy created by polls that suggest reducing the deficit and creating jobs/boosting the economy — and start demanding again to see the president’s plans to cut spending.


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