The federal deficit is falling (you wouldn’t know this from the corporate media)

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Thanks to the feckless corporate media that dutifully parrots GOPropaganda talking points without fact-checking them, the low-information public is easily duped into believing that the federal budget deficit is a serious problem (the average person does not know the difference between an annual budget deficit and accumulated federal debt, and the GOPropagandists routinely conflate the two as one and the same).

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones today sets the record straight for the media villagers. Repeat After Me: The Deficit Is Falling. The Deficit is Falling.


Blog_deficit_cbo_2013Dave Weigel notes a conundrum today: according to a new poll, 54 percent of the public disapproves of Barack Obama's handling of the deficit. And yet, as the chart on the right shows, the deficit is shrinking dramatically. Last year it dropped by $200 billion, and this year, thanks to a recovering year, thanks to a recovering economy, lower spending from the sequester, and the increased taxes in the fiscal cliff deal, it's projected to fall another $450 billion.

Weigel notes that this has deprived conservative yakkers of one of
their favorite applause lines: "You don't hear Republicans lulz-ing at
Obama for failing to 'cut the deficit in half in my first four years,'
because he basically did this, albeit in four and a half." That's true.
It's also true that contrary to Republican orthodoxy, it turns out that
raising taxes on the rich does bring in higher revenues and therefore reduces the deficit.

Bottom line: It's unfortunate that the deficit is falling so fast. It's a
headwind against the recovery that we don't need. Nonetheless, the
deficit is falling fast, and no one seems to know it yet. The
chart above is one that deserves much wider distribution. Be sure to
show it to your conservative friends at every opportunity.

The Christian Science Monitor recently fact-checked President Obama's speech on the fifth anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis. Obama: Deficits falling at fastest rate since WWII. Is that true? (Spoiler Alert: Yes):

President Obama on Monday boasted that during his time in office the US
budget deficit has been cut in half. In remarks commemorating the fifth
anniversary of the onset of the financial crisis of 2008, Mr. Obama
cited the deficit reduction as a sign of progress for an economy that’s
still struggling toward full recovery.

Our deficits are now falling at the fastest rate since the end of
World War II. I want to repeat that. Our deficits are going down faster
than anytime since before I was born
,” said Obama.

When you put it that way it sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? But is that true?

Strictly speaking, yes. The deficit is falling as rapidly as it has in
decades. Consider the figures for this year alone: Last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
reported that, through the first 11 months of fiscal 2013, the budget
deficit was down 35 percent from the comparable period of 2012.

Like all fact-checkers nowadays that follow the PolitiFact model, CSM then added subjective qualifiers from several conservative think tanks which have a vested financial interest in maintaining their GOPropaganda talking points. Objectively the statement is true.

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