Seven months after taking office amidst a religious-like faith that he was the one (or even The One) we had been waiting for, President Barack Obama is beginning to resemble a shooting star.
A new USA Today-Gallup Poll finds that 57 percent of adults believe the president's $787 billion economic stimulus package is having "no impact on the economy or making it worse." The poll asked six questions and the answers reveal that Obama's short-term fixes are producing long-term anxiety. Fifty-four percent told pollsters they think the economy will still be in a recession one year from now. Forty-six percent are "very worried" that stimulus money has been wasted. Significantly, a combined 70 percent say the spending will either have no effect on their personal financial situation (36 percent) or that it will make it worse (34 percent).
Yes, two years into Ronald Reagan's first term economic forecasts also were bleak, but Reagan's faith was in tax cuts and allowing the American people to re-start the nation's economic engine. Obama's faith is in higher taxes, more spending and government to not only start the engine, but also build the engine.
An indication of how quickly Obama's shooting star may be burning out is the failure of a White House appeal to the president's massive email list to get fired up about health-care reform. Obama's people thought the youthful enthusiasm of the presidential campaign could be transformed into an army that would roll over opposition to its policy initiatives. So far, that army has been AWOL, apparently preferring to live real lives rather than be caught up in the phony posturing and preening of Washington politicians and bureaucrats.
"What exactly is our problem with government spending?" asks American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks in a recent Wall Street Journal column. "It is not just that we think it is wasteful and ineffective (although most recognize this to be true). Americans actually think the government makes it harder for people to get ahead in life."