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The New Economy

Americans expect modest boost from stimulus plan

By / February 11, 2009

An audience in Fort Myers, Fla., cheered Feb. 10 after President Obama announced that the Senate had passed an economic stimulus bill.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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Public sentiment about the new $789 billion stimulus bill hammered out by House-Senate negotiators Wednesday suggest that Americans are, above all, pragmatic about what will happen over the next few months.

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Which is to say, they're not expecting much.

By Washington standards, the stimulus package is huge – one of the largest bills ever. (Click here for a look at what's in the bill.) But in a $14.3 trillion US economy, it packs a small punch – less than 3 percent of economic output over each of the next two years.

Action, not details

Not that Americans are indifferent, according to recent polls. They're eager to see action from Washington. Passage of the plan is more important than the specifics of the plan, one pollster told a Monitor reporter.

In a recent Gallup poll, only 12 percent said the stimulus plan would make the situation “a lot better,” the same percentage as those who think it will make things worse. (Click here to read about the surprising share of people who expect no effect at all.)

View from Atlanta

Floyd Dorsey of Atlanta, who lost his job at a warehouse, says the stimulus bill is a welcome “investment in America.” (Click here for his photo.) But he doesn't expect it will help him directly.

“It’s not going to solve anything for a year or two,” he says.

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