But the political argument against focusing on the deficit is even stronger than he realizes — because there are very good odds that even if Obama exhibited iron fiscal discipline, voters wouldn’t notice. There’s a remarkable, depressing paper by Achen and Bartels that includes an analysis of voter views of the deficit in 1996 — by which time the huge deficit that Bill Clinton inherited had been drastically reduced.
Yep: after one of the biggest moves toward budget balance in history, a majority of Republicans, and a plurality of all voters, believed that deficits had increased.
Not to put too fine a point on it: if Obama succeeded in reducing the deficit, would Fox News or the Washington Times report it? The truth is that the truth about budgets plays almost no role in real politics.
Bill Clinton actually reduced the deficit and Americans thought just the opposite and that was before FOX News had existed. Ask any of your friends that are deficit scolds this simple question. How is the deficit hurting their life? Ask them to give you real examples. They can't. It's fiction created by Grover Norquist and his conservatives cronies to tear down anything that has to do with the left. I'm not dismissing the deficit, but it's beyond belief the nonsense America believes about it.