Published October 18, 2021
Democrats are back in Washington this week, where they will try to make progress on their huge domestic spending bill. A recent Gallup poll shows how hard that’s going to be — and why going small best serves Democrats’ political interests.
President Biden’s victory last year, combined with January’s news that Democrats would narrowly control the House and Senate, set off speculation on the left that a new New Deal was just around the corner. Even though Biden campaigned as a centrist whose primary aim was to heal the nation’s divides, he quickly proposed a series of bills that amounted to the largest expansion of federal government spending in decades. Big government seemed to be back, big time.
There was reason to think that the American public was on board with this agenda. The Gallup poll found in September 2020 that 54 percent of Americans wanted government to do more to solve the nation’s problems. That was the highest mark ever in the 28 years Gallup had asked that question.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.