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Americans Not Sold On Austrian Economics

The Obama administration has been working under the (generally correct) assumption that it has lost the stimulus debate -- that most people believe that the correct response to economic contraction is to reduce deficits. Yet today's Washington Post poll shows a little more ambiguity. Asked whether big spending cuts will create or destroy jobs, slightly more Americans (45%) picked destroy than create (41%).

I don't think this means Keynesian economics commands plurality support. (Opposition to spending as stimulus runs runs very old.) Rather, I think it's a function of Americans judging the Republican position as a positive plan of action rather than as the mere negation of the president's proposal. Longstanding skepticism of government tends to express itself as disbelief in the plans and promises of whichever party is in charge. Obama can't sell Americans on deficit spending as a stimulant, but Republicans haven't had much luck selling them on anti-stimulus as a stimulant, either.