It’s subtle, but there’s been a change in how people are talking about the deficit.
Basically, people are growing more comfortable talking about it in a way that “cutting” it isn’t an urgent priority right now.
It started back in early December, with Paul Krugman pointing out that, no, we aren’t facing trillion dollar deficits for years to come, and that actually debt-to-GDP is pretty close to being stabilised.
Ezra Klein at WaPo recently wrote “The Case For Deficit Optimism.”
Larry Summer has a new piece on how we shouldn’t obsess over the deficit.
Uber-budget wonk Peter Orszag has been writing about how we’re making more progress in whipping healthcare inflation than people have expected.
Martin Wolf at FT has a new piece up stating the objectively true (but which far too few people recognise) that the US is not in a state of fiscal crisis.
And of course, Obama himself at his inauguration basically totally ignored the deficit, not at all extending an olive branch to Fix The Debt-types.
Now of course, most of the above are left of left-of-centre types, who you’d expect to be dovish on the deficit. And they come at it from different angles.
But the fact that they’re all talking now about the deficit not being much of an issue is a pretty significant trend, and speaks to a growing comfort stating a view that a year or two would have been extremely controversial.
And furthermore, it’s not just liberals who are shifting what they say.
Brad Dayspring, a Former top Eric Cantor aide and now Senior Advisor to the YG Action Fund, tweeted this morning
Conservatives would be wise to focus on economic growth and job creation instead of austerity/cuts alone. ow.ly/h3NpL
— Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) January 23, 2013
This isn’t the same thing as saying deficits aren’t a problem, but it is distinct from the cuts-first way of talking about deficits that has dominated the conversation on the right.