Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Still Waiting For a Serious Focus on Fiscal Policy in the Election Debate

Jan 9, 2012 | Budgets & Projections

As the GOP primary season moves along to New Hampshire, we continue to look for signs that the candidates are at least as concerned with the country’s fiscal fiasco as voters are. The budget deficit was high on the list of concerns of Iowa caucus goers, according to exit polling, with slightly more than a third of people polled saying it was the most important issue for them.

Unfortunately, as we wrote a few weeks before the Iowa caucus, none of the candidates seem to hold the budget deficit issue very high on their list of concerns, as the word cloud in this blog makes clear.

In the most recent debates over the weekend leading up to the New Hampshire primary, candidates paid slightly more attention to fiscal issues, as words such as "taxes" and "spending" came up more often. And where the words "budget" and "debt" didn’t make an appearance in the Iowa debate, they at least garnered mention in New Hampshire - although you'll still need to search a bit to find the words.

That said, given the size of the problem of our deficit and growing debt levels, the candidates' near silence on this issue remains concerning. We will continue to draw attention to this shortcoming, and urge all candidates to pay heed to our 12 Principles of Fiscal Responsibility for the 2012 Campaign over at U.S. Budget Watch, a project of CRFB to raise awareness of fiscal issues in this year's presidential race.

Below is the wordle for the Saturday and Sunday New Hampshire debates.