Public Opinion and the Payroll Tax Cut.

The public loves the Obama tax deal but of the components, isn't too thrilled about the payroll tax cut:


Megan McArdle is baffled by the results, but they seem pretty straightforward: The public is already hostile to Social Security cuts, and when a pollster asks about "Social Security payroll tax cuts," it's very likely that the respondent hears "Social Security cuts." Add that to liberals worried that a deal will eventually gut Social Security, and you have a sizable number of Americans who are skeptical about the payroll tax cut, despite the fact that they will directly benefit from it.

For what it's worth, I think Social Security concerns are a little unfounded; the funds for a payroll tax cut will come out of general revenue, leaving the program untouched. Besides, Republicans will attack Social Security regardless of any deal, or lack thereof. Given that this is the last chance for the economy to receive any stimulus, it's probably best for liberals to take the current deal and move on to prepping for the battle in 2012.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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