Debt Ceiling: Nearly Half Of Americans Say Deal Makes Economy Worse

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DEBT DEAL
AP

Since President Obama signed a deal on Tuesday to extend the Treasury’s borrowing authority and reduce the federal deficit, it’s become clear that the agreement has left a lot of people unsatisfied.

And while progressives have sharply criticized the deal’s emphasis on spending cuts, many conservatives, particularly those aligned with the Tea Party movement, say the reductions don’t go far enough.

This atmosphere of dissatisfaction is mirrored in the wider population, according to a Gallup poll published Wednesday. The poll found that forty-six percent of Americans disapprove of the deal reached in Washington this week, compared with 39 percent who approve of it.

Gallup also found that 41 percent of respondents believe the deal will make the economy worse, while only 17 percent believe it will make the economy better. Thirty-three percent think the deal will have no effect.

Americans who predict negative economic fallout from the debt deal are in good company. A raft of analysts and commentators have warned that the agreement -- which calls for $900 billion in spending cuts now, with either $1.2 trillion or $1.5 trillion in additional cuts to follow -- will do nothing to promote growth.

The deal makes no provisions for economic stimulus, and it fails to extend emergency unemployment benefits and a temporary payroll tax cut, two measures that have kept a bit of money flowing to consumers.

An economist at JPMorgan predicted that the deal would result in a 1.5 percent decline in GDP for 2012 -- an especially discouraging estimate given that GDP for 2011 has grown at an annualized rate of just 0.8 percent, according to the most recent Commerce Department figures.

And even though the agreement calls for substantial spending cuts, it may not be enough to stave off a credit downgrade of the United States, which would have a fundamental and unpredictable effect on markets.

The deal hews closely to the priorities of Hill Republicans. Yet the Gallup poll found that Republican voters oppose the deal by much higher margins than Democrats.

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats say they approve of the deal, versus just 28 percent who disapprove. Among Republicans, only 26 percent approve, while 64 percent disapprove.

There’s a similar gap between the parties when it comes to anticipating the deal’s effects on the economy. Thirty-three percent of Democrats say the deal will make the economy worse, while 29 percent say it will make the economy better -- a four-point difference. But 49 percent of Republicans say the deal will make the economy worse, and only 8 percent say it will make the economy better.

A number of Republican presidential candidates, among them Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, have criticized the debt deal in recent days.

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