Jonathan Chait finds Rand Paul talking about the evils of “running a trillion-dollar deficit every year” — which, as it happens, is not at all what we’re doing; the deficit is at around $600 billion and falling fast. This follows on Eric Cantor’s talk about “growing deficits”, when deficits are in fact shrinking.
I think it’s pretty clear that Paul actually has no idea that the deficit is falling; it’s quite possible that neither does Cantor. The whole incident reminds me of 2011, when supposedly well-informed candidates like Tim Pawlenty went on about soaring government employment during a time of unprecedented cuts in the public payroll. Once you’re inside the closed conservative information loop, you know lots of things that aren’t so.
What I’m curious about, however, is what the public knows. Larry Bartels likes to cite a 1996 poll in which voters were asked whether the deficit had increased or decreased under Clinton (it had, in fact, fallen sharply). A plurality of voters — and a heavy majority of Republicans — thought the deficit had gone up.When was the last time David Gregory or any of the other Sunday Morning Wankers actually pointed out the fact the deficit is shrinking so maybe the poor need not be flogged so much?
Never you say?