Americans want jobs and a stronger economy far more than they want deficit reduction, just as Washington renews its sparring over the 2009 stimulus bill Republicans still claim was too expensive, according to a new Gallup survey.
The February survey found that 23% of Americans say unemployment and jobs are the “most important” problem the U.S. is facing today. Just 8% of Americans prioritized the deficit and debt as the country's worst problem.
The poll’s results just come as Democrats and Republicans have renewed their sparring over the 2009 stimulus in honor of its fifth anniversary later this week.
Republicans say the bill was too costly and not effective enough; Democrats say the bill saved the country from untold horrors.
On Monday, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers issued a 70-page report celebrating the act’s success. Democratic leaders lauded the bill as one that shielded families from the worst of the economic crisis.
But Republicans slammed the bill, making the case that because the economy is still sluggish, the stimulus was a failure.
“Five years later, underemployment is still too high, the number of people that have dropped out of the workforce is astounding, unemployment remains stubbornly high and our economy isn’t growing fast enough,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said in a Youtube address.
The Gallup survey shows a marked shift in America’s priorities: the country is now prioritizing economic recovery over the gridlocked government. Americans said “government and politicians” was the most important problem facing the country for the last five months since the October government shutdown.