Bailout or Rescue?

The outpouring of constituent fury concerning the rescue package evokes this summer’s immigration bill, which stalled over one buzzword: amnesty.  Reducing the proposal to that hot-button issue incited the grassroots organizations, who effectively killed any chance of progress.  Now, the wedge word is “bailout,” a term that distorts the plan.  The government is not giving away the money; in fact, it expects to recover a significant portion and potentially make a profit.

When voters form an accurate perception of the rescue bill, they support it:

Those who understand that taxpayers will eventually get much of the money back support the bailout by a 2-to-1 margin. Those who incorrectly believe the government will not be getting money back oppose the bailout by a 62% to 18% margin.

Obviously, the challenge lies in cutting through the interest group filters and ideological blinders.  Yet if the immigration divide acts as any indicator, presenting unadulterated fact during such a contentious debate is, well, near impossible.

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