Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Number One Solution to U.S. Economic Problems

Raymond Richman has argued on this blog that the trade deficit is the root of our economic problems. The public in two critical swing states agrees. An NPR, Kaiser Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health poll released today emphasizes fixing the loss of jobs overseas as the best solution to America's economic problems. The poll question:

(SCRAMBLE ITEMS) 8. People have suggested various ways that the government could act to try to fix the U.S. economy. How much do you think each of the following would help fix the country's economic problems? (First,) what about (INSERT)? would this help fix the country’s economic problems a great deal, some, only a little, or would it be no help at all?

A ranking of the "great deal" answers in Florida and Ohio:

Florida Ohio
56% 64% Stopping American jobs from going overseas
49% 40% Pulling out of Iraq
42% 42% Lowering the cost of health care and health insurance
40% 39% Making sure all Americans have health insurance coverage
35% 34% Putting more money into the hands of people
32% 33% Cutting taxes
34% 29% Increasing spending on domestic programs like health care, education, and housing
30% 28% Investing in public works projects like roads, bridges, and new schools

There is quite a contrast between what the American people see as the most effective solution to U.S. economic problems and what the presidential candidates and the U.S. Congress are proposing.

In Congress, House Democrats appear to be gearing up for another economic stimulous package. More tax cuts or more money in the hands of people are well down on the list. Democratic presidential candidates have long discussed pulling out of Iraq and lowering the cost of health care. Various politicians have proposed investing in public works projects like roads, bridges and new schools.

NO ONE has a serious plan that addresses the approach the public in these swing states believes will be the most effective single way to remedy America's economic problems. The issue also has the smallest number of poll respondants who think that this would do nothing to help U.S. economic problems. Taking effective action to stop "American jobs from going overseas" is the only solution that a majority of the public in these states believe would do a great deal to help the economy.

Why are the candidates ignoring the issue? Check out chapter 3 in Trading Away our Future. Many of our leaders are like ostriches with their heads in the sand. And they lack an effective plan. Chapter 1 explains why trade deficits matter for the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

NPR buried this poll result in a report that focused much more on health care and gas prices. The only mention it received was in passing. The title of the section doesn't even suggest that this is focussed on public views of what should be done.

Concerns About Jobs, Iraq

But according to the poll, the top two things people in Florida say would help the most are stopping American jobs from going overseas and pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.

For Moskona, Iraq is an economic issue....

To clarify, it wasn't just the Floridians who said that stopping jobs from going overseas was the most effective solution.

I continue to believe that the trade issue could be central to this election. It is at the root of our financial difficulties. Although the hour is growing late, I believe that the candidate who actually addresses the trade issue in a thoughtful, realistic, optimistic and sensible way is likely to win in a landslide. We attempted to lay out such an approach in Trading Away Our Future. Chapter 10 summarizes our plan.

1 comment:

Urgent Care Wellington said...

This issue has the smallest number of poll respondants who think that this does nothing to help in economic problems.