The Rasmussen poll conducted over the weekend of May 30-31 asked a key question designed to give us perspective on Obama's current popularity. The question was whether the current problems "are due to the recession that began under the Bush administration or to the policies Obama has put in place since taking office." In other words, who's to blame, Bush or Obama?That's better than 2:1. Impressive indicator of President Obama's perceived popularity with the American Public.
By 62-27, voters say Bush is still the culprit.
Will Obama's popularity remain high or fall? The answer to this question hinges on what happens economically as we go forward. If the public sees a turn-around in the economy the answer is yes. But if the economy continues to stagnate, and especially if inflation climbs into levels not seen since President Carter, the answer is no.
The real recession - dating from the stock market collapse - began four months before Bush left office. And it is now four months since Obama was inaugurated. From this vantage, it still looks to voters like Bush's recession.Since I don't believe the economic policies of the Obama Administration will spur the Economy, and will in fact prolong it, President Obama's popularity will fall quickly. Without improvement in the economy, the public perception of who's to blame will shift to President Obama.
But it will become increasingly obvious that the large deficit Obama has incurred while pursuing his cure for the recession is, on its own, causing more problems than it solves. As high interest rates and, most likely, inflation, begin to set in - with no relief in unemployment - it will be obvious that Obamanomics isn't working and is, in fact, aggravating the economic trouble.I think President Obama is beginning to recognize that his solutions aren't not working.
Obama, recognizing the danger, has recently begun to speak out - without even cracking a guilty smile - against the huge budget deficit he created. He is trying to blame the deficit, too, on Bush. But voters will not overlook the huge spending sprees of January and February, when Obama quadrupled the 2009 deficit. They will come to see that spending as a huge mistake and will shift their blame to the new president who proposed it.What are his choices now?
He can leave taxes as they are and take the poison of high interest rates, rapid inflation and a new recession, all caused by the massive borrowing he has forced on the Treasury. If the Treasury cannot sell enough bonds at a reasonable interest rate, it will, of course "monetize the deficit" - economics-speak for printing money so that there will be enough to buy the Treasury debt at moderate interest rates. But the process of so vastly expanding the money supply (or even just leaving the current expansion in place without trying to soak up the extra money) will cause its own runaway inflation.The future doesn't look good for the Perceived Popularity of President Obama. If the economy doesn't improve, the Public will turn on President Obama with a vengeance.
Or Obama can break his pledge and raise taxes on everybody. His soak-the-rich approach will not be enough to cover the deficit. Especially when one factors in his healthcare proposals, big tax increases on the middle class become an increasing likelihood. And when we consider his cap-and-trade legislation, huge increases in utility rates also loom.
Either poison will make it clear that the economy is suffering from the medicine Obama administered, rather than the original disease that started under Bush.