A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday the proportion of people who believe the United States is on the wrong track rose seven points to 64 percent from February, in a fresh challenge to President Barack Obama.
It was the highest number of people in an Ipsos poll who think the country on the wrong track since Obama took office in January 2009. The survey comes as many indicators show an improving U.S. economy.
Ipsos pollster Cliff Young said the rating was a direct result of gasoline prices that have risen sharply in recent weeks amid tumult in North Africa and the Middle East.
“We are moving into a scenario in the near-term that is much more uncertain given the issue of gas prices,” he said. “Gas prices specifically are things that affect people’s pocketbooks and have an immediate impact.”
Love the “blame the gas prices” meme. Catchy. Meanwhile polls for months have shown people want to solve state and federal fiscal problems by taxing the wealthiest. What do politicians do? Drop taxes on the wealthy and refuse to tax them period. Polls show a majority don’t want to cut social programs, pensions, education, and other critical supports people need to survive. What do politicians do? Cut social programs, cut education budgets, try to cut pensions, and do what they can to destroy the safety net that protects 99.8% of Americans who are not wealthy.
Yet none of that dynamic — the public wants policies that benefit the majority, politicians cater instead to the minority of wealthy privileged people who crashed the economy — none of that dynamic makes it into the analysis. It’s the gas prices, stupid. Indeed, their polling on taxes and budget cuts shows the opposite of other more numerous polls.
Two stories of note here. The first from 9 February that shows the Obama Administration upping military aid to our favorite ME dictators, including the one in Libya.
From the World Tribune, 9 February:
The administration has submitted a proposed budget for fiscal 2011 that included military assistance increases for Bahrain, Libya, Morocco, Oman and Yemen. Officials said several Middle East countries also received forward funding over the last year as part of the Foreign Military Financing program.
Under the budget proposed by the State Department, U.S. military aid to Bahrain would increase from $8 million in fiscal 2009 to $19.5 million next year, Middle East Newsline reported. The U.S. Navy maintains its Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, regarded as the poorest of the six GCC states.
Oman would also see a significant increase in 2011. Officials said U.S. military aid would rise from $7 million in 2009 to $13 million in 2011.
U.S. military aid to Yemen would increase from $12.5 million in 2010 to $35 million in 2011. Officials said Yemen would receive a range of helicopters as well as special operations forces training.
Libya would see an increase in U.S. military assistance from $150,000 to $250,000 in 2011. Officials said the rise would enable U.S. military training of Libyan forces.
Morocco would receive a nearly three-fold aid increase from 2009. The North African kingdom would receive $9 million in U.S. military assistance in fiscal 2011, up from $3.6 million in 2009.
The U.S. military aid level for Egypt would remain at $1.3 billion in 2011. Israel would receive $3 billion, up from $2.775 billion in 2010.
The State Department recommended a reduction in U.S. military aid for Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. Jordan would receive $300 million in 2011, down from $335 million in 2009.
U.S. military aid to Lebanon in 2011 was allocated at $100 million, down from $159.7 million in 2009. Officials said the administration and Congresswere concerned that U.S. weapons to Lebanon would end up with the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah.
The biggest proportional decrease in U.S. military aid was allocated for Tunisia. The administration has asked for $4.9 million in military aid to Tunis, a drop of more than $10 million since 2010.