Chart of the Day: The Public Doesn’t Know Squat About the Federal Deficit


Paul Krugman wants to know what the general public thinks of the deficit, and Google’s Hal Varian puts up a quick poll to find out. Here’s the current state of public opinion:

And here’s the reality:

The Google results come from an online survey, so they probably aren’t completely reliable. But I’ll bet they’re close. It takes a long time for public opinion to change on stuff like this, and that’s especially true when one side is loudly trumpeting false narratives and the other side is barely even fighting back. Hell, violent crime has been declining for over 20 years, and lots of people still think it’s rising. I don’t expect deficit paranoia to change an awful lot faster.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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