NO WONDER FOX NEWS VIEWERS ARE SO CONFUSED…. If reducing the federal budget deficit is one’s top goal — and in a weak economy, it shouldn’t be — the solution is hardly a secret, at least in the general sense. The government will need some combination of tax increases and spending cuts to help close the gap.

If you’re a “business expert” for Fox News, however, you have a slightly different understanding of reality. The perpetually-confused Stuart Varney was on “Fox & Friends” this morning, talking about how awful it would be to extend unemployment benefits, because aid to jobless Americans would be added to the deficit.

In the next breath, Varney was outraged by the notion that Bush’s tax cuts would expire next year. Democrats, Varney insisted, are going to “swell the deficit” in the coming years by “raising taxes … which increases the deficit.”

First, Democrats aren’t “raising taxes,” so much as they’re following the Republican plan to let breaks for the wealthy expire on schedule. If Varney doesn’t like it, he should blame the GOP for coming up with this tax scheme in the first place.

Second, if Fox News’ “business expert” seriously believes the deficit goes up when tax rates increase, he’s in the wrong profession. It’s sheer nonsense, and a reminder of why a) Stuart Varney is something of an embarrassment to himself; and b) Fox News viewers struggle so badly with current events. An audience bombarded with incoherent propaganda is bound to get confused.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.