It's fallen at a faster rate than at any other time since World War II - and yet a CBS/NYT poll found 54 percent of Americans disapproving of the way President Obama is handling the deficit. Which of course is a pretty good indication that the respondents haven't the first clue about the deficit or any aspect of the federal budget. The knowledge gap, while hardly a new phenomenon, has been exacerbated by right-wing knuckleheads who deliberately turn the conversation into an anti-Obama rant. From Slate's David Weigel:
My theory? As has been true for generations, Americans don't actually know what the deficit is, conflate it with "debt," conflate it with the economy being rotten. Those who laughed off the deficit hawks in 2011 for this reason look wiser and wiser ... you know, apart from the fact that we ended up with the sequestration kludge and none of the long-term entitlement reforms that the parties might have agreed on.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein explains why the deficit has fallen so much so fast:
Part of it is the economy improving. Part of it is new taxes passed into law by the Obama administration. Part of it is slower-than-expected health costs, and lower-than-expected interest rates. But the deficit has fallen dramatically. In fact, it's fallen at a faster rate than at any other time since World War II. And the Congressional Budget Office sees it stabilizing in the (totally manageable) two-to-three percent range through the next decade.