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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stimulus Plan: Rewarding Bad Behavior

I am careful about polling numbers and tend to gravitate to Gallup or Rasmussen, even when they don't agree with my own point of view, because unlike media outlet's polls, they are independent without an "agenda."

The Politico has an article out, which refers to this Rasmussen poll, showing the majority of Americans think the newly signed Obama/Democrat stimulus bill, rewards bad behavior and makes others pay for their neighbors mistakes.

This was something Rick Santelli pointed out (video at that link) the other day to which the White House specifically spotlighted him in a defensive manner.

When CNBC’s Rick Santelli argued last week that President Barack Obama’s mortgage bailout plan would force hardworking Americans to pay for their neighbors’ mistakes, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed him as a know-nothing derivatives trader out of touch with Main Street.

But if the White House simply dismisses Santelli’s point, it may do so at its peril: A Rasmussen poll released Monday found that 55 percent of those surveyed thought federal mortgage subsidies to those most at risk of losing their homes would be “rewarding bad behavior.”

Santelli’s “Network”-style diatribe has already spawned a Facebook group and plans for “tea parties” protesting the bailout in major cities including Chicago and Washington.


Fifty-five percent (55%) of American adults say the federal government would be rewarding bad behavior by providing mortgage subsidies to financially troubled homeowners. Among investors, 65% hold that view.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that, among all adults, just 32% disagree.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Republicans and 60% of those not affiliated with either major political party believe the mortgage help subsidizes bad behavior. Most Democrats (51%) disagree.

President Obama last Wednesday announced a $275-billion taxpayer-backed plan that would help as many as nine million Americans avoid foreclosure through measures including subsidized mortgage payments. Critics of the plan, including a widely circulated on-air challenge by CNBC editor Rick Santelli on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, say it subsidizes “losers” and “bad behavior” by homeowners who bought houses they knew they could not afford.

Personal responsibility for your actions and bad decisions should be a given, yet Obama and the Democrats seem to think it is the responsibility of your neighbors to fix the mistakes you have made. This mentality completely bypasses personal responsibility.

Commentary states the underlying issues well. It isn't Santelli that has caused this fuss, he simply spoke what many are thinking, he gave their concerns a voice:

Now, there is a core bit of truth in the report: there is a media-aided backlash against the Obama administration. But that is occurring because the markets are in free fall, the Obama team is talking about tax increases during a recession, Democrats’ talk of nationalization has wigged out the financial markets, bailout mania seems to have taken hold — and people are angry about it. When ordinary people in the midst of a dire financial situation hear that the government is “rewarding bad behavior” of course they react angrily.

Yes, it is noteworthy when a cable news reporter encapsulates a popular reaction to a new president. But the underlying story — the government is pursuing anti-free market policies which are frightening the private sector and angering voters — is the nub of the issue. In short, it is silly to think this is a Santelli phenomenon. This is an Obama phenomenon.

Rewarding bad behavior, we don't do this with our children, yet somehow Obama and the Democrats think it is fine to do with our nation.