Remaking America: Is it the deficit, jobs or Lady Gaga? were you thinking about a year ago today? Unless it was your anniversary or birthday, it’s hard to remember. But Google knows all. By keeping track of what the world searches for, Google can tell us what was in the collective consciousness at any time since 2004. With all the talk about the budget battles in Washington—and the power of the budget to fundamentally reshape America—I decided to consult the great oracle to see just how prominent the budget is in the American mind.

While I was at it, I tossed in other things on our minds: employment, job, deficit and Lady Gaga. Which one sparks the most concern? Why Lady Gaga? Well, such research requires a baseline for comparison, and what (or who) better?

What I found is that—despite Lady Gaga’s enormous popularity—the budget is more on Americans’ minds than the pop singer-writer. There’s more than twice as much interest in the budget than Lady Gaga.

However, the deficit pales in comparison. There is five times as much interest in Lady Gaga than in the deficit. Americans don’t seem that worried about the deficit or the battles over it—even now that Standard & Poor’s has injected a startling new pressure on the debate.

But the winner in my overall comparison is—“job.” The term “job” figured in Google searches almost 9 times as often as Lady Gaga. “Employment” came in second—about 3.5 times the interest than Lady Gaga. Jobs and employment—that’s what is really on Americans’ minds.

All of that probably doesn’t come as a surprise—but what may be surprising is that the Gaga comparison shows that jobs was ALWAYS high in the American collective consciousness since Google has been tracking search trends. Since 2004, many more searches have included “job” than “budget” or “deficit” or “Lady Gaga”—except for one or two brief news cycles when interest in the pop star edged out jobs.

What do you think? Are you surprised at the relative lack of interest in the deficit?

How do YOU rank these five in your life:

Job, Budget, Deficit, Employment, Lady Gaga

Please, Comment below—and help us spread word through Facebook.

?(Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)?


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