Pence, plans, and polls

PENCE, PLANS, AND POLLS…. Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, is not only opposed to the stimulus plan proposed by congressional Democrats and the Obama team, he’s opposed to the very idea of a stimulus plan. Better yet, he’s convinced that Republicans can win the political debate over how to rescue the economy by offering Americans … wait for it … a whole lot of new tax cuts.

Pence is advocating business tax cuts to help spur the economy, while the Democratic proposal consists mostly of infrastructure investments. The GOP lawmaker said that, despite their minority status in Congress, Republicans would be able to exert pressure on the majority Democrats and force them to amend their stimulus proposal.

“The possibility of compromise is built on my belief that a minority in Congress, plus the American people, equals a majority,” Pence said on Fox News.

“The American people are going to go looking for who is going to lessen the burden of taxes on me and make it possible for me and my family farm and my small business to step up and create a job.” Pence added. “That debate is a debate we can win.”

The Republican lawmaker criticized House Democrats for putting forth a plan that “seems to confirm their belief that a modest amount of tax rebate checks combined with an enormous amount of government spending is the cure for what ails this economy.”

Actually, that last part is true. Democrats really do believe that modest tax cuts and extensive stimulus is the “cure for what ails this economy.”

Pence is off-base, though, when he insists that Americans will rally in support of Republican tax cuts. It’s not as if public opinion is a mystery here — just yesterday, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found “by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, people preferred government spending to create jobs over tax cuts to give Americans more money to spend.”

And it’s not just one poll. Less than a week ago, Gallup found that a majority of Americans support Obama’s approach to economic stimulus. Contra Pence, the single most popular idea wasn’t tax cuts, but rather, spending on infrastructure. (This was true regardless of party or ideology.)

Pence believes the GOP minority can get to a majority with the support of the electorate. Given that the incoming president, most of the House, most of the Senate, and most of the American people think Pence is wrong, he may need a Plan B.