Public's Top Recession Fix: Leave Iraq, Poll Reveals

Public's Top Recession Fix: Leave Iraq, Poll Reveals
February 9th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Public's Top Recession Fix: Leave Iraq, Poll Reveals

Public's Top Recession Fix: Leave Iraq, Poll Reveals
Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
February 9, 2008 By Jeannine Aversa, Associated Press
WASHINGTON The heck with Congress' big stimulus bill. The way to get the country out of a recession and most people think we're in one is to get the country out of Iraq, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.
Pulling out of the war ranked first among proposed remedies in the survey, followed by spending more on domestic programs, cutting taxes and, at the bottom end, giving rebates to poor people in hopes that they'll spend the economy into recovery.
The $168 billion economic rescue package Congress rushed to approve this week includes rebates of $600 to $1,200 for most taxpayers, the hope being that they will spend the money and help revive ailing businesses. President Bush is expected to sign the measure next week. Poor wage earners, as well as seniors and veterans who live almost entirely off Social Security and disability benefits, would get $300 checks.
However, just 19 percent of the people surveyed said they planned to spend the money on new items; 45 percent said they'd use it to pay bills. And nearly half said what the government really should do is get out of Iraq.
Forty-eight percent said a pullout would help fix the country's economic problems "a great deal," and an additional 20 percent said it would help at least somewhat. Forty-three percent said increasing government spending on health care, education and housing programs would help a great deal; 36 percent said cutting taxes.
"Let's stop paying for this war," said Hilda Sanchez, 44, of Waterford, Calif. "There are a lot of people who are struggling. We can use the money to pay for medical care and help people who were put out of their homes."
The subject of leaving Iraq shows a sharp partisan divide 65 percent of Democrats think it would help the economy a lot, but only 18 percent of Republicans think so.
Just 29 percent of people think putting more money in the hands of the poor would help a great deal in fixing the country's economic problems.
According to many economists, the lower people are on the income ladder, the more probable it is that they will spend a rebate and do it quickly a shot in the arm for the ailing economy.
In the poll, 61 percent said they think the economy already is in a recession.
"Things are bad, but it will get a lot worse," said Jim Sims, 60, of Greer, S.C.
The economy nearly stalled in the final three months of last year. Some economists, like the majority of poll respondents, say it may actually be shrinking now, given the strains from a persistent housing slump and a painful credit crunch. The worry is that people and businesses will hunker down further and pull back their spending, sending the economy into a tailspin.
Rebate checks could start showing up in mailboxes in May. However, Sanchez is typical in saying the money will "go automatically to bills." Thirty-two percent said they would save or invest the rebate. Said Sims: "I'm hoping to hold onto it."
Just 19 percent said they would spend it, while 4 percent said they would donate it to charity.
The poll was conducted Monday through Wednesday of this week and involved telephone interviews with 1,006 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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