This column reports on the fact that people on the center and left of the political spectrum have a range of views in the debt/deficit, which the right seems fairly united in arguing for less government spending. It is worth noting that one reason why there may be divisions and confusions on this issue is that the media routinely allow politicians to say complete nonsense on this topic without correcting it.
For example, the piece tells readers:
"Mitt Romney takes up the same theme, with more subtlety, warning that Obama and the Democratic party are fostering a European-style welfare state with a growing 'contingent of long-term jobless, dependent on government benefits for survival.'"
In fact, the generous European welfare states of northern Europe do not have a growing "contingent of long-term jobless, dependent on government benefits for survival." Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Norway, the countries with the most generous welfare states, all have lower unemployment rates than the United States both short-term and long-term.
Competent reporters would ridicule Mr. Romney for making such an obviously false assertion, which suggests that either he has no idea of what he is talking about, or is deliberately misrepresenting reality to deceive voters. However, since this assertion generally goes unchallenged, Romney will continually repeat it, leading many in the public to believe that it is true.