The presidential candidates just can't stop talking about the deficit. The only problem: nobody cares about it, according to Paul Krugman.
"During the Hofstra debate, in which questions were posed by members of the public rather than the Beltway elite, there wasn't a single question about the deficit. Not one," Krugman wrote in a blog post Sunday. "The public really doesn't care."
"And you know what? Neither do financial markets, which continue to lend to the U.S. government at incredibly low rates," Krugman added.
Only one in ten Americans say that the national deficit is America's most pressing problem, according to a Gallup poll in September. In contrast, one in three say solving the unemployment crisis is most important.
Even though it seems that most voters aren't all that interested in the deficit, the candidates are making it a priority on the campaign trail. Neither candidate was asked a question about the deficit at the second presidential debate, but the two said the word "deficit" a total of 18 times combined. And they have discussed it continually throughout the campaign.
Romney has made deficit reduction a centerpiece of his campaign, though his tax plan would increase the deficit by $5 trillion, according to a recent analysis by the Tax Policy Center.
The Republican candidate also has hammered Obama for overseeing a supposedly rising federal budget deficit. He claimed at both the first and second presidential debates that the deficit has doubled under Obama. But the deficit is actually smaller than it was in 2009, and it's shrinking, according to the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office.
Obama also has repeated on many occasions that he plans to slash the deficit.
"We've got to reduce our deficit, but we've got to do it in a balanced way," Obama said at the second presidential debate. "Asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more along with cuts so that we can invest in education like yours."