The U.S. Deficit

Shawn Thew / AFP / Getty

Think of a credit card: debt is the outstanding balance, and deficit is the amount added each fiscal year.

The White House and the Congressional Budget Office will both release their financial budget estimates on Aug. 25 and there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the Obama Administration has scaled back its estimate of this year's budget deficit to an estimated $1.58 trillion (down from $1.84 trillion in May). The bad news is that this is by far the largest budget shortfall in U.S. history — nearly $900 billion more than last year's deficit — and it accounts for 11.2% of GDP, the largest percentage since 1945. It's more money than we have circulating in actual...

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