So what is ‘fiscal responsibility’?

There has been some arguing about the dangers of federal deficit spending (little said about the huge private sector debt levels except on econoblogs), but Kevin Drum on Mother Jones notes in a post how the argument appears to be framed in the public’s mind no matter which party or movement is involved:

Ah, the American public. God love ’em. The Economist asked if they’d rather tackle the federal deficit by cutting spending or raising taxes, and the runaway winner was cutting spending, by a margin of 62% to 5%. So what are we willing to cut? Answer: pretty much nothing.”


Beyond that, there were only four areas that even a quarter of the population was willing to cut: mass transit, agriculture, housing, and the environment. At a rough guess, these areas account for about 3% of the federal budget. You could slash their budgets by a third and still barely make a dent in federal spending. I suppose one of these days everyone’s going to have to figure this out. Apparently no time soon, though.

Now the comments at The Economist didn’t appear to be much different in tone and content than other sites. However, my bet is he who frames successfully for the moment’s advantage will win, and the budget itself will remain less relevant.