Think Tank Round-Up: Potential Backlash Edition.

This week's TTR looks at public support for stimulus spending and same-sex marriage, the availability of information in the public sphere, and wonders if the IMF is hurting the global economy instead of helping it.

  • The public supports stimulus spending. A recent Economic Policy Institute-Hart Research poll suggests that the public, wary of bank bailouts, supports focused spending to boost the economy. Specifically, 61 percent of respondents agreed that government should focus on creating jobs, investing in education, and energy independence, while only 36 percent preferred spending cuts to reduce the budget. Programs that created jobs through tax credits and a public service work program like the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Core were very popular. These encouraging numbers show considerable support for federal spending despite complaints from the right over the stimulus package enacted earlier this year.-- PL
  • A Civil Majority. A survey from The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows public support of civil unions continues to climb, with 57 percent favoring legal rights for gay and lesbian couples. That represents a 12 percent jump in support since 2003. In contrast, the issue of same-sex marriage continues to split the masses, with roughly half of Americans opposing it. Results also show that advocates of same-sex marriage are facing their own divide: how and when to push for legalization. 45 percent – down slightly from prior years -- favor a hard-line, as-soon-as-possible approach. The other half wants to fend off potential backlash by employing a more moderate strategy. -- MH
  • Information is power. The Knight Commission’s new report places informed communities at the center of a vibrant and progressive democracy. Currently, information is distributed unequally across the United States, the report finds, because the poor, elderly, and rural and small town residents lack the facilities or motivation to keep up-to-date on current events and local initiatives. That's where responsible journalism comes in -- aggregating, sifting, and evaluating the overwhelming amount of information and bringing it to the audience. -- LL
  • The IMF slows economic recovery? [PDF] A new discussion paper produced by the Center for Economic and Policy Research identifies 31 countries where the International Monetary Fund is imposing economic policies that will contribute to the global slowdown, not stop it. The policies, which come attached to IMF loans, include prematurely tight monetary policy and an emphasis on fiscal austerity, which have the effect of deepening recessions. CEPR wants the fund to take a second look at the assumptions that underlie its policy advice to developing countries. -- TF

-- TAP Staff

Previous Round-Ups:

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