Spending: The stimulus isn't working, and Americans don't want another. At least, that's what our latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows. So why is Congress mulling a second stimulus when the first has so obviously failed?
In our national poll taken last week, 53% said the $787 billion stimulus plan passed in February was "not effective" in "getting the economy going in the right direction." Just 43% said it was. Respondents were even more emphatic - 54% to 39% - in rejecting the second stimulus the White House and congressional Democrats are mulling.
Republicans were least impressed by the first stimulus, with fully 81% saying it hasn't worked. Independents turned thumbs down 55% to 43%. Democrats, by 64% to 31%, say the stimulus is working - yet, strangely, think another is needed (60% to 40%). Both sides of this debate can't be right. But so far there's little factual evidence or data to suggest the stimulus has done much of anything.
On Tuesday, President Obama himself said he expected unemployment to rise for "several months" - a far cry from the fast turnaround the White House promised if the stimulus passed.
Meantime, we've reached a dubious milestone: The U.S. budget deficit, swollen with pork-barrel and stimulus spending, just crossed the $1 trillion mark - and the year's not over yet.
So while we have very little economic activity to show for all the stimulus and bailout money spent, we'll have a massive debt hanging over our collective heads for decades to come.
The stimulus was supposed to keep unemployment under 8% and "create or save" 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. With joblessness now at 9.5%, White House economic adviser Christina Romer on Tuesday admitted there was no way to tell how many jobs were created or saved. Stimulus, it seems, is faith-based economics.
With 2.5 million jobs lost since the start of the year, you'd think a new course of action would be under discussion. Instead, Democrats talk about a "second stimulus," apparently oblivious to the failure of the first.
In addition, the Democrat-controlled House has passed a 5.4% surtax on "millionaires" to fund health care. It's really an entrepreneur tax. This would be on top of the higher taxes the Democrats want on those with incomes over $250,000 and small businesses - the very engines of growth responsible for 80% of our new jobs.
Hasn't anyone noticed that despite a 20% jump in spending over the last year, tax revenues have plunged 18% - largely because many of the "millionaires" Congress is going after are going broke?
So are the rest of us. Web site E-forecasting.com estimates the U.S. has lost over $108 billion in real GDP since the stimulus began.
Our poll and others show a deepening disgust with radical policies that have resulted in out-of-control spending, over-the-top debt, looming tax hikes and an ever-tightening grip on the private economy. Anything, in other words, but economic growth.