Thursday, October 16, 2008

Undecided voters -- and most voters -- want big government spending

I learned something watching the presidential debate last night: we want big government spending.

Every time McCain would rail against "big government spending" as the problem at the cause of our financial crisis, those little lines by the undecided Ohio voters would stay flat or go negative. And every time Obama would talk about investing in Americans and the need for more spending on the programs that work, those lines would go up. They hit the roof when he talked about better education.

And I think one of the reasons why McCain and the Repuublican Party is collapsing while Obama and the Democratic Party is consolidating support among a majority of voters is because the nation has an appetite for big government spending on themselves. We want big government spending on education. We want big government spending on our economy and our jobs and ultimately our standard of living. We want the government to buy us a better life. Because the Republican plan of not having the government buy us anything and waiting for higher wages and stronger health insurance and cheaper, better colleges and better public schools and better infrastructure hasn't worked out at all.

The interesting thing is the fetish that each of the moderators -- who represent the Washington Consensus -- has on cutting back on spending plans given the big deficit. I think that's a big disconnect. Most voters, I would suggest, don't care about the deficit, so long as the big government spending makes our lives better. And whether the Democratic majority delivers on making our lives better will require pushing aside the Washington consensus on cutting back on new spending programs. If we do cut back on new spending programs and then our lives do not get significantly better as a result, we'll lose an opportunity to not only do the right thing for people but consolidate political support for the next election.

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