Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Deficit or Debt? Republicans move the goalposts

As the media becomes consumed with talking about Rep. Paul Ryan's soon-to-be-released budget, please note that Republicans are no longer talking about the deficit (the annual short-fall between revenues and expenses). Now its all about the debt (the total accumulated historic shortfall).

For example, here's Ryan's opening line in his op-ed in the WSJ today:
America's national debt is over $16 trillion.
The reason they're not talking about the deficit any more can be demonstrated in one graph.

Yep, its because the deficit is shrinking. As a matter of fact, perhaps one more graph would be in order. Because the deficit is now shrinking faster than at any time since the demobilization after WWII.

In order to scare voters into cutting spending that supports poor and middle class Americans, screaming about the deficit doesn't work anymore. They need a new big scary number for that. So perhaps we can enlist Bob Woodward to point out how they've suddenly "moved the goalposts."

Nah, that's not likely to happen. Its up to us to spread the word.


  1. Of course the deficit is shrinking, since we reacted to the Bush economic crash by government spending to get the economy growing again, however sluggishly. In European countries which have followed the same austerity prescription for endless cuts that the Republicans are pushing here, economies are continuing to shrink and deficits are inevitably growing.

  2. Even if we hit that projection our deficit will still be huge. We should be talking about deficits AND the debt.