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.