Since 2010, the U.S. Budget deficit has decreased rapidly. I mention this in part because 40% of the public think it has increased rapidly and only 12% realize that it has gone down rapidly (Google Polling). Very rapidly. This chart from University of Michigan Economics Professor Justin Wolfers shows just how much it has declined.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I’m very tired of having debates where basic facts are unacknowledged. I spend way too much time showing that the deficit is declining or that under Obama government has shrunk while the private sector has grown. As we approach appropriations deadlines we have a House of Representatives that refuses to go to conference on the budget and can’t pass appropriations bills that work within their budget. I’m not sure how to fix political discourse or if there is a way to do so at all. As long as it’s profitable to play off of people’s fears in order to fund raise I’m somewhat skeptical. For now, I guess this is just another post I’ll be able to refer back to in arguments about the deficit and how to respond.
There are incredibly rich and valuable arguments to be had about how quickly to bring down the deficit, the effect of stimulus, long-term health care projections etc. etc. Those are arguments I enjoy immensely. But they’re only fun if we all base our starting points in reality.