Despite the fact that Obama’s stimulus package decreased taxes for 95% of Americans, only 12% of those surveyed in a recent poll believe that to be true. Is this misconception a case of political branding gone terribly wrong, or does it speak to a flaw in the stimulus plan’s implementation?
The Poll Question
CBS News and the New York Times teamed up and asked, “In general, do you think the Obama administration has increased taxes for most Americans, decreased taxes for most Americans, or have they kept taxes the same for most Americans?” 24% of Americans believe their taxes have increased and 54% believe that their taxes have not changed. Within the “Tea Party” a mere 2% of those polled believe the facts about the decrease in taxes are true. All of these statistics most likely frustrate the president in light of the fact that he has highlighted his administration’s tax cuts–especially for the middle class– in almost every public address.
Political and Economic Benefits
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs theorized that the stimulus package helped many Americans in numerous, intangible ways. Another possibility is that, because so many state and local jobs were cut from the government (approximately 41,000 last month), news reports have swayed the perspectives about the more immediate benefits of the plan. Although the tax cut passed last winter was one of historic proportions, it has yielded few political or economic benefits for the president. The $300 billion worth of tax cuts was both costly to the image of the administration and expensive for the federal government.
Long Term Potential
The White House laments that their tremendous efforts were only felt by 12% of Americans but re-emphasized the plan’s long-term goals and potential. Rather than giving each household a $350 check thay they would save, the plan was structured in a way to promote spending that would benefit individuals and businesses alike. Gibbs added that he hopes the assistance that has reached the public via the state and local governments will become apparent as more programs are implemented to counteract the overall budget shortfalls.