Is That Really What They meant?

I came across an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal that mentioned the results of a poll they conducted.  They were discussing Obama's stimulus package in which he will be taking billions more of our hard earned dollars and giving them away.  $850 billion according to the article.  You can find the article HERE.

They first point out that 43% of the people polled felt that the stimulus package was a good idea.  Ok, fair enough.

Then came this quote:

By a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, people preferred government spending to create jobs over tax cuts to give Americans more money to spend. Large majorities endorsed many details in the plan, with 89% saying they like the idea of creating jobs through increasing production of renewable energy and making public buildings more energy efficient.

Interesting.  Now a thinking person reading this will of course ask what questions were asked and how were they asked.  After all since Democrats are already using this article as justification for higher spending and attacking Republicans who dare suggest we should get tax cuts and be allowed to keep our money (even though Obama did claim most of us would get more of a tax cut under him then under McCain, didn't he?) then it's only fair that we look to see what was really asked.

First is the claim that people preferred "government spending" to create jobs over tax cuts by a ratio or 2 to 1.  Well that's not quite what was asked.  Here's the question people were asked...

What would you say are the two or three most important issues or problems facing the nation today that you personally would like to see the federal government in Washington do something about?

The number one response was "The Economy" at 62%.  Of that 23% was "Unemployment and jobs".  No where does it say "spending" or "tax", just that people feel that unemployment is the most important issue facing the nation they would like to see Washington do something about.  Lowering tax on companies that hire and retain more workers (a suggestion Obama has made) would be a step toward lowering unemployment and wouldn't require "spending".  So already we see some intellectual dishonesty in the above quote but let's continue.

Further down in the results of the above question comes in "Taxes/ Government Spending" at a total of 15%.  This is broken down into 3 possible answers for people to give.  "Budge Deficit" coming in at 7%, "Taxes" at 5% and "Wasteful spending, reduce spending" at 3%.  So yes unemployment concerns toped taxes and spending by nearly 2 to 1 but unemployment concerns did not equal more spending based on how the question was asked.

They combine that with the second statement, that 89% like the idea of creating jobs through increasing production of renewable energy and making public buildings more energy efficient.

Let's start with the actual wording of what was asked...

Now I would like to read you several parts of the economic stimulus legislation that is designed to help deal with the current economic recession. For each element, please tell me whether it is a good idea or a bad idea.

Creating jobs through increasing production of renewable energy and making schools and public buildings more energy efficient

One thing off the top that I find interesting is how they combine making schools and public buildings more energy efficient (an effort that would lower costs and by effect lower taxes) with creating jobs.  But ok, we'll ignore that point.  The point here is though that no where does it state government spending on renewable energy.  If anything, the added comment of making public buildings more energy efficient implies SAVING tax dollars.

When you combine that response with the fact that 82% also responded "Good Idea" to this question:

Providing tax incentives to businesses that create jobs or invest in new equipment

It's clear that people DO support less spending and lower taxes.  Pretty much the opposite of what the WSJ implies.

Watch for more of this deceptive reporting going forward as the Democrats seek to defend the increased spending and higher taxes we'll see going forward.