Further to my point below about the filtering and selection effects of media, Greg Sargent reports new polling showing that 81% of Americans now believe that the deficit is not only important but requires immediate attention, a huge shift from polls only weeks ago which showed that the public was much more concerned about jobs. The effect:
When you have leading officials in both parties — starting with all Republicans and a handful of moderate Dems — acting as if reining in the deficit is so urgent that it requires more attention than creating jobs, people start to tell pollsters they agree. This helps create a climate in which Dems lose any incentive to make the case for more government spending to prime the recovery, which begins to vanish from the conversation.
Meanwhile, the other side continues to hammer away at reining in spending as the way to resuscitate the economy. Dems, anxious that Republicans will be seen as the only ones proposing solutions, nod in agreement and pick a fight over how much we should cut. The public hears an ever growing chorus of bipartisan agreement that the deficits and spending are our number one problem. The case that government can create jobs continues to fade. And so on…and so on…
While he may have mentioned it elsewhere, Sargent leaves out how “the public hears” this chorus of agreement – through a media that repeats the beltway hand-wringing about the deficit as factual, and any dissent as “partisan bickering.”
And that’s how “everybody knows” we have to do something right now.