Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Associated Press recently polled the American people asking if they thought the President had an influence on several factors. Shown are the results of that poll as published in several news sources today.

1. Would you agree or disagree with the findings?
2. If you agree, then in what way does the President influence these factors?
3. If you disagree , who does influence these factors?

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The percentage of Americans who think a president can have at least some influence on big issues:
Inflation: 73 percent
Interest rates: 66 percent
Gasoline prices: 69 percent
Housing prices: 59 percent
Federal budget deficit: 86 percent
Taxes: 88 percent
Health care costs: 76 percent
The way other countries view the U.S.: 87 percent

2 comments:

Thomas said...

Let me say I am assuming that these numbers mean the percentage of people who believe the president can influence these factors.I proceed based on that assumption with the caveat that I don;t know much about economics so be kind dear sir.

Inflation: 73 percent:
I would have to say he has very little influence over prices

Interest rates: 66 percent
The Federal Reserve Bank establishes interest rates. I'm pretty certain the president has next to no influence.

Gasoline prices: 69 percent
Only insofar as he has the authority to release oil from the strategic reserves or do some arm twisting.

Housing prices: 59 percent

I would guess this should be 0% Housing prices are dependent on a multiplicity of factors the least of which is the chief executive

Federal budget deficit: 86 percent
Maybe, but congress has the final say about spending. Even the war in Iraq, which most blame Bush for, congress bears a greater responsibility for than many will admit.

Taxes: 88 percent
He can propose tax increases or tax cuts but again, the responsibility is with Congress. His final say is to sign or veto.

Health care costs: 76 percent

This one is a little more nebulous but I would have to say in general terms he has little influence except insofar as he makes secret deals with the "industry".

The way other countries view the U.S.: 87 percent

This one is about right though many over seas are intelligent enough to dislike the government yet still like our country. Still foreign policy decisions are his prerogative so he does strongly affect how other nations view America in those terms.

How's I do for an economics 101 student, professor? ;-)

Ticker said...

You did just fine Thomas. I was kind of in the same mind frame when I read this poll. I was not amazed that people would think that the President has so much power and influence given the tone of the news, the forums, LTE's etc etc. My only thought was, my lord, and these folks vote.

You passed Econ 101 with an A+.