By Mike Dorning and Catherine Dodge
More than 7 out of 10 in the U.S. say the economy is mired in recession, and the country is conflicted over how to balance concerns over joblessness and the federal budget deficit, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.
Just like the experts, Americans are torn about whether the federal government should focus on curbing spending or creating jobs, the poll conducted July 9-12 shows. Seven of 10 Americans say reducing unemployment is the priority. At the same time, the public is skeptical of the Obama administration’s stimulus program and wary of more spending, with more than half saying the deficit is “dangerously out of control.”
This concern over spending extends to aid for the jobless. Withunemployment at a near-record high of 9.5 percent in June, the public is closely split on whether another extension of jobless benefits, which is stalled in Congress, is worth the $34 billion cost.
“They’re just running out of patience,” says J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based company that conducted the survey. “The number they’re seeing change is the deficit. It’s rising at what seems like an astronomical rate. The number that seems intractable is the unemployment rate.”