Ezra Klein separates deficit hawks from deficit frauds:

The deficit hawks ... often get blamed for the actions and rhetoric of the deficit frauds. The deficit frauds are the folks who use deficits for short-term political gain: This year, they've mainly been Republicans who opposed unemployment benefits because they'd add $56 billion to the deficit but demanded tax cuts that would add $4 trillion to the deficit. And they've been empowered not by Peterson's money or even the climate in Washington, but by the fact that people get very anxious about the deficit when the economy slows, as it's a number that they think helps explain the economic problems even as it mainly tracks them, and because a misplaced analogy to the European debt crises has made our deficit look scarier than it actually is.

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