(Image source: Mother Jones)

 

 

BY MATT PICHT

 

 

As a debt ceiling default draws near and Congress threatens a government shutdown, President Obama has taken a sharp hit in the polls — even in some areas where he might not deserve it.

 

A recent survey conducted by The New York Times and CBS found Obama’s approval has dropped to 43 percent or lower in many areas. The public also pans the President on his handling of the national budget deficit, with a 53 percent disapproval rating.

 

This is a bit perplexing, since the deficit has been steadily falling since it exploded in 2010. Mother Jones points out the budget deficit fell by 35 percent in 2013 to reach its lowest level since 2008.

 

So if the deficit’s in decline, why is everyone so worried about it?

 

A Slate writer says it’s just simple ignorance. “As has been true for generations, Americans don’t actually know what the deficit is, conflate it with ‘debt,’ conflate it with the economy being rotten.”


If it’s been awhile since your last economics class, here’s a quick refresher on what the budget deficit actually is.

 

The annual budget deficit is the amount of money the government spends which it doesn’t make back in revenue. The government has to borrow money to pay back each year’s budget deficit, which gets added to the national debt. (Via U.S. Department of the Treasury)

 

So even as our national debt creeps towards the 16.69 trillion dollar ceiling, the deficit has actually dropped significantly and is expected to fall even further, hampering the rate at which the debt climbs. (Via U.S. Department of the Treasury)


But maybe the American people are worried about the sustainability of this drop: after all, the Congressional Budget Office has warned lawmakers about the federal budget’s course for years now.

 

A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office warns the deficit drop is a short-term effect of spending cuts and tax hikes. Their prediction shows deficits are likely to start rising again in 2016, pushing the national debt up with it. (Via Los Angeles Times)

 

Or perhaps people are just using the budget deficit as a scapegoat for their general concerns about the economy.

 

The Washington Post writes: “People don’t know because they don’t care. … Get the economy working, and people will be happier about the deficit, whatever happens to the actual deficit.”

 

Whatever the case, both the federal debt and the deficit are expected to be heated topics of debate on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks. 

Why Are Americans Unhappy With Our Shrinking Deficit?

by Matt Picht
0
Transcript
Sep 28, 2013

Why Are Americans Unhappy With Our Shrinking Deficit?

(Image source: Mother Jones)

 

 

BY MATT PICHT

 

 

As a debt ceiling default draws near and Congress threatens a government shutdown, President Obama has taken a sharp hit in the polls — even in some areas where he might not deserve it.

 

A recent survey conducted by The New York Times and CBS found Obama’s approval has dropped to 43 percent or lower in many areas. The public also pans the President on his handling of the national budget deficit, with a 53 percent disapproval rating.

 

This is a bit perplexing, since the deficit has been steadily falling since it exploded in 2010. Mother Jones points out the budget deficit fell by 35 percent in 2013 to reach its lowest level since 2008.

 

So if the deficit’s in decline, why is everyone so worried about it?

 

A Slate writer says it’s just simple ignorance. “As has been true for generations, Americans don’t actually know what the deficit is, conflate it with ‘debt,’ conflate it with the economy being rotten.”


If it’s been awhile since your last economics class, here’s a quick refresher on what the budget deficit actually is.

 

The annual budget deficit is the amount of money the government spends which it doesn’t make back in revenue. The government has to borrow money to pay back each year’s budget deficit, which gets added to the national debt. (Via U.S. Department of the Treasury)

 

So even as our national debt creeps towards the 16.69 trillion dollar ceiling, the deficit has actually dropped significantly and is expected to fall even further, hampering the rate at which the debt climbs. (Via U.S. Department of the Treasury)


But maybe the American people are worried about the sustainability of this drop: after all, the Congressional Budget Office has warned lawmakers about the federal budget’s course for years now.

 

A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office warns the deficit drop is a short-term effect of spending cuts and tax hikes. Their prediction shows deficits are likely to start rising again in 2016, pushing the national debt up with it. (Via Los Angeles Times)

 

Or perhaps people are just using the budget deficit as a scapegoat for their general concerns about the economy.

 

The Washington Post writes: “People don’t know because they don’t care. … Get the economy working, and people will be happier about the deficit, whatever happens to the actual deficit.”

 

Whatever the case, both the federal debt and the deficit are expected to be heated topics of debate on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks. 

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