Free Markets, Free People
Very interesting survey concerning ObamaCare. Kaiser Family Foundation does a monthly tracking poll. Their October poll yielded some surprise results. Note that this comes as we have been learning more and more about the details of the ObamaCare law:
- After remaining roughly evenly split for most of the last year and a half, this month’s tracking poll found more of the public expressing negative views towards the law. In October, about half (51%) say they have an unfavorable view of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 34 percent have a favorable view, a low point in Kaiser polls since the law was passed. While Democrats continue to be substantially more supportive of the law than independents or Republicans, the change in favorability this month was driven by waning enthusiasm for the law among Democrats, among whom the share with a favorable view dropped from nearly two-thirds in September to just over half (52%) in October.
- Americans are more than twice as likely this month to say the law won’t make much difference for them and their families as they are to say they’ll be better off under the law. Forty-four percent say health reform won’t make much difference to them personally, up from 34 percent in September. Meanwhile 18 percent say they and their families will be better off, down from 27 percent last month. (The share who thinks they’ll be worse off personally held steady at roughly three in ten, where it has been since the law passed in 2010.) Here, too, changes in views among Democrats helped shape the overall change.
That’s a bit of a sea-change on the Democratic side.
It’s also significant for another reason. It makes the case for repeal stronger. While Republicans have always been against it, that’s been fairly easy for Democrats to wave off. Indies are a little harder to wave off. But when other Democrats are less supportive of the law, to the point that fewer and fewer have an favorable view of the law, well that makes it increasingly harder for Democrats to justify keeping it.
Something is causing their support to erode and the GOP needs to figure out what it is and use it to make their case.
As election time nears, this is an issue they can use as a secondary one to the economy. It was unpopular when it passed. It has remained mostly unpopular and, with this sort of poll, we see the unpopularity expanding into Democratic ranks. It appears it is something the GOP could get majority consensus on.
Today’s economic statistical releases:
Personal income increased by 0.1% last month, while spending increased by 0.6%. Year-over-year income rose 4.4% while spending rose 5.3%. The core PCE price index was unchanged last month, and up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis.
Thanks to a slowdown in the growth of benefit costs, the Employment Cost Index rose far less than expected, 0.3%. ECI is up 2% on a year-over-year basis.
A little optimism is leaking into Consumer Sentiment, as it rose to 60.9 in the latest tally.
Yeah, I know, boring economics again, but its important stuff. This is where the crisis is and it is important to understand these stories as they come out.
The Washington Post trumpeted today that the Gross Domestic Product grew by 2.5% this past quarter. Yes, that is a decent number. But a) is it a number that will be revised upward or downward (because they’re always revised) and b) are there any clinkers out there we should be aware of, and finally c) is this the beginning of a trend or just a blip?
In answer to “a”, the “b” says down. So let’s get to “b”:
Real disposable personal income fell 1.7%, the biggest drop since the third quarter of 2009, economist Nigel Gault of IHS of Global Insight notes. Even so, consumer spending jumped 2.4%, a big factor in the overall GDP growth. That means consumers boosted their spending by saving less. The savings rate fell a percentage point to 4.1%, Commerce Department data show.
That trend can’t last indefinitely, economists warn. Consumers eventually will tap out their savings or put the brakes on spending. “Consumer spending only accelerated because the saving rate dropped by a full percentage point,” Mr. Gault wrote. “That’s not a solid foundation for growth.”
Economists are already wondering whether a plunge in consumer confidence will eventually translate into lower consumer spending. October data from the Conference Board this week showed that Americans’ confidence in the economy is lower than at any point since the depths of the recession.
So the good news is that consumer spending most likely drove the GDP numbers up this past quarter. However, it also appears, given the report, that it is unlikely that’s going to continue. That is a huge drop in real disposable income and tapping savings isn’t something one would expect to be a long-term trend. What we may have seen this quarter is consumer spending driven by the fact that a good percentage of consumers could hold out no longer on making some purchases. Additionally, those out of work and tapping savings can’t do that forever.
Which brings us to “c”. Trend or blip? Well, first my guess is the GDP will be revised downward. And, seeing how that’s been the case with all previous quarters, I think that’s unfortunately a pretty safe bet. And “c”?
Watch and listen. Schiff makes a lot of points we’ve been hitting for years. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of capitalism and what it is that drives a lot of the OWS supporters to focus on the wrong entities. Schiff has a lively discussion with them. Interestingly some agree and some simply won’t take the ideological blinders off. You’ll quickly identify who is who.