I Don’t Care What People Think About the Recovery Act

There’s this great episode of The West Wing where President Bartlett is talking to Toby about whether or not to bring Congress into session to vote on a nuclear test ban treaty. Toby’s shocked by the fact that it might not have the votes to pass, even though polls show that Americans are hugely in favor of it. And Bartlett has this line about how this is one of those incidences where he couldn’t care less about polls, because how could the average citizen possibly understand all the practical and political nuances of nuclear test ban treaties.

And that’s how I feel about this.

I don’t know if the Recovery Act is working. In large part, it’s because I’m not sure what the metric for success is. But I’m pretty sure most of us – busy as we are at trying to keep our personal economic heads above water – don’t really have a sense of the full scope and impact of the Recovery Act. How many average people on the street understand the short-term and long-term effects of investments in clean energy, health IT and innovation in K-12 education?

I realize that it doesn’t matter politically what the truth is…the negative polling is a bad sign for the Administration and the majority party in Congress in terms of elections and all that, regardless of the true economic impact. But that’s not the job of this blog to worry about, luckily!


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