The public's top worry about the current situation is that "those who are responsible for causing the crisis will be let off the hook." Nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) say they are very concerned about this, including 77% of Democrats, 69% of Republicans and 69% of independents. More than six-in-ten (63%) say they are very concerned that "the government's actions won't fix the things that caused this problem in the first place."Big business and political leaders can say what they will about the bailout repairing this gaping wound instead of just putting a band-aid across it for the time being. After 8 years of George W. Bush and 2 years of a do-nothing Democratic Congress, Americans are rightfully ambivalent and less passionate about what has the potential to be another White House flim flam. They're gun shy and suffering Bush fatigue. Do you blame them?
But the majority of Americans who say that they have thought quite a bit about the bailout debate emphasize the very issues that Nancy Pelosi brought up in her so-called "partisan" speech yesterday:
Most Americans (54%) say they have given a lot of thought to the debate in Washington over how to respond to recent problems in the financial markets. Those who have given a lot of thought to the issue are much more likely than others to say they are very concerned that those responsible for the crisis will be let off the hook, that the government will not address root causes of the crisis, and that it gets the government too involved in the markets.
And how's this for misplaced priorities on the part of Republicans vis a vis the public's greatest concerns:
A 54%-majority of Americans say they are very concerned that the government's action "won't do enough to help homeowners in danger of losing their homes." The partisan gap is greatest on this aspect of the bill, with 66% of Democrats and just 37% of Republicans seeing this as a major concern. Perhaps surprisingly, Republicans do not express particular worry about excessive government involvement in the nation's financial markets.If there is any doubt that Republicans are losing any shred of integrity they had, news that they admittedly don't care about excessive government intrusion into markets should put it right to bed.
Look, I'm as concerned about declining home prices, delays on municipal capital budgets, and the restriction of credit as the next consumer, but if we're going to do something, let's make sure we get it right the first time so that we are not faced with even greater problems in the future. The majority is not always right, but in this case, their cautionary populism and suspicion of government is wise and significant. They really seem to want to stop digging this hole deeper and actually climb out.