By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2013, 12:53pm PT  

Recall that "massive budget deficit!!!" which was to be the death of our nation, as Republicans described it during the 2012 election cycle? Yes, the $1.4 trillion deficit inherited by Obama has been cut by more than half, according to the latest projection, and has all but returned to the size of Bush's second-to-last budget deficit prior to the global economic meltdown. (See CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION at end of story below for more details.) But it seems, for some reason, the GOP forget to tell people, for some reason...

While the rapidly disappearing deficit seen above is not necessarily a good thing --- at least for those interested in putting people back to work and the overall long-term health of the economy that would otherwise come with smart federal investments right now --- you'd think Republicans would be celebrating. But, of course, they're not, because they don't care now, nor have they ever, about budget deficits --- unless they can be used as a blunt object to try and harm their political opponents.

Rachel Maddow offered more last night on the chart above. Video follows below...


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CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION 5/20/2013: As commenters have noted, describing "Our Federal Budget Deficit" as having "All But Disappeared", as the original headline read, is not particularly accurate. Moreover, taken in combination with the chart we used above, from the Rachel Maddow Show, it's even more misleading, since one has to notice that the chart begins at $500 billion. It's marked as such, but difficult to notice and, therefore, misleading.

In fact, George W. Bush's final budget, signed in 2008, was for fiscal year 2008-2009 and led to a deficit of approximately $1.4 trillion, as explained by the conservative Cato Institute that year. The year prior, fiscal year 2007-2008, saw a deficit of approximately $402 billion (the biggest reason, by far, for the jump between Bush's '08 and '09 budgets was the crashed economy and the crash of tax revenues along with it.)

The new projected budget deficit for 2012-13 is now just over $600 billion, an $800 billion reduction since Obama took office or, as Maddow explains in the video above, the "fastest deficit reduction since WWII." It is already less than half of what it was the year Obama took office and inherited Bush's final budget, and is on pace to soon fall below Bush's penultimate budget, the one that he signed prior to the year of the global economic meltdown.

Here is a better chart, also from Maddow (courtesy of Steven Benen at Maddow Blog), produced earlier in the same week, which better reflects the actual deficit, both then and now...

With all of that explained, we have changed the headline of this article to read "Federal Budget Deficit Shrinks by Half Since Obama Took Office" and have modified the text of the article above to more accurately reflect that. We apologies for our hasty error and for the unintended confusion in the bargain.