The public wants jobs created to fix our crumbling infrastructure, paid for by tax increases on Wall Street and the super-rich. They do not want cuts in Medicare or Social Security. And business owners want customers, not deregulation or tax cuts.
Public Wants Infrastructure Jobs
There is no way around it: the public overwhelmingly thinks the country should put people to work repairing our infrastructure. Poll after poll shows this. Maybe the idea that there are millions of jobs that need doing while millions are out of work has occurred to people.
Just yesterday, there was one more confirmation of this. Politico reports on a Battleground poll that shows 51 percent support a national program to put Americans to work by building roads, bridges and schools: (Click for the complete PDF of poll results.)
… a majority (51%) supports a large-scale, federally-subsidized construction program to put Americans back to work building roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals, including 40% of voters who support it strongly. Fifty-two percent of independent voters and a majority of blue-collar voters support this proposal. Opposition stands at just 21%, 16% among independents.
Public Doesn’t Want Medicare Or Social Security Cuts
Medicare wins 78% to 20%: An August NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey found that just 20% of Americans support reducing the deficit by cutting spending on Medicare.
Reduce the deficit by reducing spending on Medicare, the federal government health care program for seniors: August 2011
Totally acceptable 5% Mostly acceptable15% Mostly unacceptable 27% Totally unacceptable 51% Not Sure 2%
Social Security wins 62% to 33%: A poll conducted June15-19 by Pew Research asked respindents to choose between these two statements about Social Security: Older people who can afford it need to give up some government benefits to help the country overcome its economic problems, or the government needs to keep its promises to older people by maintaining their benefits, even for those who are well-off :
Give up some benefits 33% Keep its promises 62% Both/Neither/Other (vol.) 2% Unsure/Refused 3%
Business Owners Want Customers
The Washington elite will tell you that businesses want tax cuts, and cuts in regulation. If only we cut taxes on the rich and cut democracy’s oversight of business, things will get so much better… Last week McClatchy Newspapers did some actual, honest-to-goodness reporting and went out and asked business owners what they need. The result was this story: "Regulations, taxes aren’t killing small business, owners say":
Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation. "Government regulations are not ‘choking’ our business, the hospitality business," Bernard Wolfson, the president of Hospitality Operations in Miami, told The Miami Herald. "In order to do business in today’s environment, government regulations are necessary and we must deal with them. The health and safety of our guests depend on regulations. It is the government regulations that help keep things in order."
So McClatchy went out and actually asked owners of businesses what they thought. That is so not-D.C., to actually ask the people affected. And what did they find?
McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business. Their response was surprising. None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.
None, as in not any of the business owners complained about regulation, most welcomed it. And what did they hear from business owners about taxes?
"I think the rich have to be taxed, sorry," Douglas said. He added that he isn’t facing a sea of new regulations but that he does struggle with an old issue, workers’ compensation claims.
Is it really a big surprise that "Businesses Hire When Customers Are Coming In The Door"?
So that’s what the public wants the president to talk about. What will he say?