The Disconnect …

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on October 1, 2008

Here’s a rather telling and perplexing poll, compliments of Rasmussen Reports:

Highlighting the gap between Main Street and Wall Street, the Rasmussen Consumer Index shows consumer confidence gaining a point on Tuesday morning. On the day after the economic “rescue” package failed in the House of Representatives and the stock market fell 800 points, the Index shows that consumer confidence rose for the third straight day to 70.4–the highest level of the past week.

Still, just 6% of Americans now believe the economy is getting better while 80% say it is getting worse. The Rasmussen Consumer Index remains just four points above the all-time low established in June.

There could be a potential disconnect between the average citizen’s perception or knowledge of this economic crisis and the actual magnitude of it.  It hasn’t really settled in, yet.  True that unemployment has edged up a bit, gas prices are still up and there are signs of inflation and other pressures, but it really hasn’t hit the fan in such a way that Americans really get what’s up. We hear about a crisis, we see it in every headline, but are we feeling it?  Do we really know what IT is?

Hence, the reasoning behind what Chris Cillizza examines in The Fix:

And, even a cursory glance at polling on the issue, shows why so many politicians voted against the bill.

In a recent USA Today/Gallup, just 22 percent of the sample said they wanted Congress to “pass a plan similar to what the Bush Administration has proposed” while 56 percent wanted Congress to pass something “different” (although what that different plan would be was not made clear) and 11 percent wanted Congress to take no action at all.

The results were slightly more mixed in a New York Times/CBS News poll where 42 percent said they approved of the government’s financial rescue plan while 46 disapproved, and in the Post/ABC poll where 44 percent expressed approval for the plan and 42 percent disapproved.

OK – let’s keep it real.  Now, most in talking head land will want to placate the masses and simply say: it was a bad bill with bad marketing.  It just wasn’t sold right.  Which is true … to a degree.  But, you can’t say average Americans don’t know anything about what’s going on when it’s all over the news and at the water cooler; yes: even brothers in the barbershop are talking twitchy about it.  But, the polling numbers above suggest a disconnect: do we REALLY get what’s going on or what’s about to happen?  Of course, the White House crying doomsday wolf all over again didn’t help the situation any.  We’ve been there done that with “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and ” … it’s my way or the-world-is-road-kill on the highway” policy.  It has no credibility – especially when its Treasury Secretary has more a day trader background than a macroeconomic background.  They didn’t market this thing, correctly.  On top of that, it didn’t contain anything even remotely assisting the average Jane and Joe – why not re-start the clock, transform all the ARMs and make them all fixed-rate mortgages?  Why not put blankey forbearances on all foreclosures?  Why not loan everybody with a nearly foreclosed mortgage a bailout?  Instead, we’re asked to look out for the cats who messed it all up in the first place.

But, there is a disconnect.  It’s worrisome.  And, just like we aren’t going to let it go that there are voters (those pesky “White blue collar” votes in the Rustbelt and Appalachia we keep talking about) out there who vote according to the most stupid wedge issues or may vote according to race come Nov. 4th, we’re not going to let go of the fact – as HBOs Bill Maher keeps pointing out – that we’re dealing with an electorate lacking the collective intellectual fortitidue to make informed decisions when either polling or voting.


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