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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Voters Confuse the Bailout With the Stimulus and Post Won't Tell Readers

Voters Confuse the Bailout With the Stimulus and Post Won't Tell Readers

Tuesday, 20 July 2010 05:06

The Washington Post felt that it was important to tell readers that the stimulus was very unpopular in a working class Pennsylvania district. However, it did not point out that a main reason that it is unpopular is that voter confuse the stimulus with the TARP bank bailout, which the paper strongly supported.

According to the article:

"Democratic pollster Mark Mellman said disgust with the stimulus and anxiety about the deficit are 'really a metaphor for wasteful government spending.' From the perspective of many voters, 'a lot of their money has gone out the door to bail out big banks and big corporations while their jobs have been lost.'"

This is a pretty direct statement that the TARP remains incredibly unpopular and that voters tend to confuse the stimulus with the TARP. A serious newspaper would have made this point. It is not that the voters object to measures that create jobs, they object to measures that hand banks money.

Comments (10)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, July 20, 2010 7:19
From Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall, these lyrics have been effectively adopted by Teabaggers as their theme song:

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control

Just as 9-11 saved the Bush presidency and the financial crisis got Obama elected, unemployment is taking down the Obama presidency. If the stimulus had been larger and the result was full employment, the deficit, TARP and all the rest of it would be about as significant on the public radar as same sex marriage among Muslim soldiers in the military.
Misleading Media
written by union member, July 20, 2010 7:51

The media isn't liberal, it's misleading and confusing.

The Washington Post in particular acts like it's their First Amendment responsibility to confuse The Public.

And, Predatory Capitalism preys on confusion.
Dean baker might be the first----
written by Bob Spencer, July 20, 2010 8:17
Actually, I do not remember seeing much at all in any news account that distinguishes the difference between TARP and a stimulus. A few people have pointed out that the "stimulus" does not focus upon creating jobs, etc.

It's scary to study voter behavior because when you do, you quickly see that most voters do not focus upon details at all.

So----please repeat and repeat again about the difference between TARP and creating jobs.

Bob Spencer
written by skeptonomist, July 20, 2010 8:50
A great deal of the stimulus was tax cuts and what is normally classified as pork, that is particular projects which can be viewed as wasteful by those who do not benefit directly. Those in Congress benefit by bringing home the bacon to their districts, or to particular interest groups from which they receive money. Pollsters can be strangely obtuse in their questions and sometimes seem to work hard at avoiding the critical questions, but there has never been any doubt that the bailout was unpopular, and recent polls consistently show that the greatest concern is jobs and that deficits are far down the list. "Wasteful government spending" - meaning spending which benefits other people - is consistently near the top in the list of concerns in good times as well as bad, but polls also show that the deficit is not.
Then they change places
written by Scott ffolliott, July 20, 2010 9:14
As ever the Wall Street man comes in with his business acumen; the public comes in with the trust funds (the money.) Then they change places
Voters Confused
written by sherparick, July 20, 2010 9:24
But the WaPo likes measures that hand banks money and dislikes programs for jobs and for the unemployed, which they consider "wasteful." Unlike frequent bombing of 3rd world countries, wich is very cool. Somehow they have not gotten around to giving Dana Priest her redundancy notice, who along with Greg Sergeant and Ezra Klein are the only reason I still have a Sunday subscription. onlyleine
written by floccina, July 20, 2010 1:14
Which goes to show people do not understand the monetary system and so it should not be left up to the median voter. Free banking anyone? Or just tell the republicans that we just want the treasure and the Federal reserve to do what free banks would do if we had them.
For an individual stored money is stored wealth
written by floccina, July 20, 2010 1:21
For an individual stored money is stored wealth but for a country it is not, but people do not understand that. Heck I do not even think politicians or maybe even bankers understand this! Therefore the system should have been allowed to evolve, instead central banks controlled by the median voter keep messing up. It is a fact of nature that the great majority of politicians will follow the median voters lead.

The system needs have a fail safe and be robust to about anything.
Funny comment at end of Article
written by Pete, July 20, 2010 10:59
... Meanwhile, Dahlkemper says Washington should not give Rendell and other governors more money unless there's a plan to repay the cash. And she has flatly rejected Casey's pet cause, a plan to revive COBRA health insurance subsidies for the unemployed.

"Although I feel very bad for those people who lost their job and don't have health care, I have people who don't have health care who still have a job," she said, noting that only about half of small businesses in the state offer workers coverage. "How can we say it's okay for us to continue to provide health care for this person who is unemployed but not for this other person who is working?" ...

Right - so the solution is for no one to have health care. Good one. ... How is it fair for someone in Congress to have health care and someone who is employed in a real job not?
ugg sale
written by ugg salegwe, December 07, 2010 12:43
I appreciate the time you positioned on this purpose or on this post. although u have fascinating ideas.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.