According to a recent AP-GfK Poll , 76 percent of Americans think that the federal budget deficit is an extremely or very important issue, yet you wouldn’t know it from the campaign rhetoric.
The word cloud below created by putting the transcript of Thursday night’s debate among GOP presidential contenders into Wordle  illustrates how little the issue is being discussed. The terms “tax” and “spending” barely register in the word cloud even though critical decisions on taxes and spending must be made that will have significant impact on economic growth and our standard of living. Try finding “budget” and “deficit” at all.
The 2012 election season is a prime opportunity for an informed discussion on the fiscal challenges facing the country and a constructive debate over how to address them. To help take advantage of the opportunity, CRFB re-launched its U.S. Budget Watch  project and offered The 12 Principles for Fiscal Responsibility for the 2012 Campaign . Budget Watch will also offer nonpartisan analysis of the fiscal impacts of presidential campaign platforms.
Out of the cloudy muddle of the current campaign debate must come substantive dialogue. Stayed tuned to U.S. Budget Watch  for clarity and substance.