Saturday, February 12, 2011

GOP Honeymoon Over?

Another interesting poll, this one about a generic poll swing towards Dems since the November elections. On another note, I think it will be interesting to see how Obama and the Dems' "Win the Future" campaign plays against the GOP's cut and repeal agenda once Obama's budget comes out. We will have to wait and see how that affects the polls.


Ryan Karerat said...

The prospect of an all-out Democratic majority in the House, Senate, and executive branch is more what was unpopular than the Democrats themselves. With the Republicans now shouldering legislative responsibility, generic Democrats are now more appealing.

As far as the budgetary politics goes, my guess is that neither proposal is going to be very popular. Democrats are going to get hammered for not doing enough to attack the deficit, and Republicans are going to be attacked for the painful spending cuts they want to institute. There's no real easy solution here, so every proposal includes sacrifices.

PBM said...

Yeah, I agree that both will get hammered, but I don't think that many people outside the beltway really care that much about the deficit next to jobs and the overall economy. ( The easiest way to make a big dent in the deficit would be to let all of the Bush tax cuts expire, but we are going to have to wait until 2012 to see how that plays out. Other parts of the budget would still need reform, but it would be relatively harmless compared to what some Republicans, and even Obama, are talking about now.

Patrick_Landers said...

I think Peter's right that those outside the beltway don't really care about the deficit- historically we've seen that it's always been an elites' driven issue which has faded once the economy has improved. (From a policy perspective, there is an argument based on a Rogoff Reinhart study that we are now reaching debt levels which will have a serious impact on future eocnomic growth and living standards, and that at our current levels we run the risk of a precipitious fiscal crises Greece-style which could be economically devastating). It will be interesting to see whether the Tea Party movement is able to keep people motivated on the issue for long. However, since they are just a fraction of the electorate which is solidly Republican, even if they do care about it forever that might not affect the general national discussion.
As for specific policies, Peter is right that the Bush tax cuts are an important factor (see this report for near-term deficit drivers, and this report from my workplace- I know, a shameless plug- which argues that at the very least the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest should be allowed to expire However, the long-term deficit drivers are the aging population and our nation's health care sector costs (across public and private sections) which are grossly excessive for the outcomes we receive (on an international comparison). We need to control health care costs, fix social security so the program itself is deficit-neutral, control military expenditures, implement tax reform (almost certainly involving revenue collection increases, although by reforming the system we can make it less economically distortive and more pro-growth), and ensure economic growth to give us breathing room (years) to tackle our debt problem).
On the politics side, yes Republicans are going to get attacked for the costs of some of their spending cuts- my workplace will be heavily involved with that effort ;)
However, Senate (Moderate and others) Democrats are right now really concerned about this issue and want to tackle it- they just aren't a fan of the Republican approach of domestic, discretionary, non-security cuts. Democrats want to tackle more difficult issues (entitlements, military spending, taxes), so it will be interesting to see how many Republican House spending cuts they accept this year(a lot). It will be also interesting to see President Obama's budget for the next fiscal year is received....