Digby has some perceptive comments in her Hullabaloo post, “Who does the political class listen to? A new report shows it’s not you and me.” She cites a 2011 survey by Benjamin Page, L. Bartels and J. Seawright of Northwestern University indicating that 68 percent of the general public and only 19 percent of the wealthy believe that “the government in Washington ought to see to it that everyone who wants to work can find a job.” Even more striking, 53 percent of the general public, compared with just 8 percent of the wealthy, believe that “the federal government should find jobs for everyone willing and able to work who cannot find a job in private employment.” Digby adds,
This is a major divide and it’s obviously not partisan since, for these purposes, wealthy is defined as the top 20% — and we know that this cohort is composed of members of both Parties. No, what this reveals is that the GOP anti-government propaganda of the last 30 years has truly just appealed to a narrow segment of the population. A majority of the country not only believe that the Federal Government should be active in helping people find a job, it should provide jobs if the private sector is unable to do it.
This alone should give the President confidence to amplify the urgent need for a major public investment in infrastructure upgrades in his SOTU. These findings show a huge disconnect between what the public wants in terms of bold job-creation initiatives by the federal government and what congress has thus far been willing to even discuss. The President could likely get considerable traction by making it a top priority.