The deficit has been going down somewhat steadily for the last four years. I know that may sound odd if you listen to the media and especially to the Republicans in Congress who have declared their primary job to be getting rid of Obama (Even though their primary job is supposed to be serving the American people).
Now, we are entering into sequester. Ignoring the fact that the sequester is an entirely made up thing triggered by an entirely fabricated crisis, the primary piece of evidence that we “must” do this is just as fabricated than the WMD’s that lead us into Iraq, and the end result is likely to be just as much economic harm.
The deficit is the main excuse used to push for sequester. “We must reduce this every growing rapidly rising deficit,” “The deficit is higher than it has ever been,” “Obama has increased the national debt faster than any president since World War II,” and the litany goes on. But this is not true. There are numbers. There is this thing called math.
And this is where the problem comes in. The average American has to depend on the media and their politicians to tell them the truth. There are over 315 million people in our country. It is literally impossible for any one person to know everyone or even the majority. That is why the news media is so important. That is why our Founders decided to go with a Representative Republic rather than a True Democracy. It is because they knew that our numbers would only grow.
However, when you have the leaders of our nation stating in front of television cameras flat out lying to us, and the reporters broadcasting those lies as the gospel truth, you get confusion. Yes, all of the data necessary to know the truth is publicly available, but the vast majority of Americans do know have the knowledge or resources to access that data. The internet is a wonderful thing if you know what you are looking for, or if you know that you should be looking.
With a close majority of law makers backing the men that go on the air screaming about the deficit, why should anyone believe they are wrong? Most Americans are good, hard working, trustworthy people. The thing about trustworthy people is that we tend to see the best in others even when they have been screwed before. Add to that the fact that whichever politicians screwed you last, they are going to be laying the blame for it at the feet of their opposition.
Notice that I said “close majority.” This is because there are currently 253 Democrats in congress and 277 Republicans . The result is that I can’t really lay the blame for this entirely at the feet of one party or the other. Yes, the Republicans tend to be the one screaming from the rooftops about out of control spending, worse than any time in history. The Republicans are the ones declaring that Obama is a runaway train and that he is increasing the deficit more and more every year. But, where are the Democrats? Why are they not speaking up? They have just as loud a mouthpiece in the media as the Republicans and the Republican majority is only about four and a half percent. So yes, they are at fault here as well. Either they are just as confused as the rest of the populous, or they are willfully choosing to let the Republicans lie to us. I am not sure which possibility is worse.
The reality is that the deficit has been going down in relation to the GDP for years. Believe it or not, history has indicated over the last few decades that “Big Government Democrats” tend to spend less and shrink government while in office, while “Small Government Republicans” tend to spend more and increase the size of government. Given that most people are constantly told the opposite by the media, I would say that we need to start depending more on the raw statistics, and less on the pundits interpreting them.
This brings me to the point where I am going to start talking numbers. Because of the prevalent narrative in the media, 90% of Americans do not know what is actually going on with the deficit . And no, that number is not just pulled out of thin air.
A recent Bloomberg News poll, reported on 22 February, 2013  indicated that 62% of people polled believed that the deficit was growing annually. 28% believed that it was staying about the same. Only 6% knew that it was actually shrinking. The other 4% account for people who didn’t answer and the margin of statistical error.
That is 90% of our brothers and sisters who have no clue about what is going on in the economy other than “it sucks.” It is not their fault though. As I said, the people who are supposed to inform us have been feeding us bad information, and the people who were supposed to keep that from happening stood silent, or worse, vouched for them.
The Rachel Maddow Show for 26 February, 2013 has a decent report on the subject. I listened to the audio podcast version. If you subscribe there, it starts at about the 6 minute mark with her getting into statistics around the 8:40 mark. Otherwise, if you go to the website for the video, and click on Previously, and the link for February 26, 2013, it is one of the clips they have there. As of this writing it is the first item on the list.