Monday, June 21, 2010

Budget short takes:
What polls say the people want

Gazillionaire entrepreneur Pete Peterson has invested in the ideological infrastructure (a foundation, a think tank, conferences, pundits, etc.) to work to make sure that we're properly terrified of the federal budget deficit. Even New York Times economic writers concede that it is odd that he's very so worried about "entitlements" -- programs like Social Security that help keep old people from destitution -- but seems to have a soft spot for tax breaks for the rich (him).

Meanwhile, Nobel Prize winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman, over and over, tries to get it through the thick skulls of the "experts" that running a deficit now is the cheap way to get the economy moving, after which it will be possible to reduce the deficit when the government is taking in more revenues from working, prospering citizens.

Who's winning with the people? According to economist Dean Baker, the mainstream media led by the Washington Post keep trumpeting that we're scared stupid by the deficit. But opinion data says otherwise.

Here's a chart based on Baker's data showing what we're most worried about:

Looks like jobs and the economy win hands down. So how do we get politicians to do what most people want instead of what fat cat Peterson says we should want? That's the project.

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