Conflation Fail --- deficit vs economy

Conflation Fail

by digby

FAIR does an overview of the polls which show that the beltway obsession with the deficit is not, in fact, shared by the country.

But I did want to highlight this one piece of evidence supporting my contention that to the extent people do care about --- they just don't understand it:

And with all the media hysteria over federal spending and the deficit, the public seems to have a somewhat muddled view of why it’s even an issue. A recent Pew/National Journal survey (6/17-20/10) that found 74 percent of respondents believed that--contrary to what most economists would tell you--"budget cuts to reduce the federal deficit" would help create jobs. The same poll found similarly wide majorities seeing job creation from additional spending on public works programs, more aid to state and local governments, and cutting business and income taxes--all policies that would increase the deficit. Surveys in which the public ranks these conflicting priorities consistently give the deficit little emphasis.

I have thought from the beginning of the crisis that this was a problem. I could tell from some conversations I was having that people were under the misapprehension that the deficit caused the recession and that ending the deficit is the only way to fix the economy. Many wingnuts are making that explicit claim.

This is one of the reasons why I have been so frantic that the administration was feeding into the deficit hysteria. They don't seem to get that people don't actually care about "the deficit," they care about "the economy" and they fail to make a distinction between the two, especially since we have right wing wrecking crew that makes a point of conflating the two.

It's a problem.