Department of Numbers

Revenue, Expenses, Debts and Deficits

Posted Monday, July 18 2011

All the debt ceiling talk has focused the minds of bloggers and analysts everywhere it seems. Over the weekend I decided to add a new page to the site that shows a continually up-to-date record of the US federal debt, deficit, receipts and expenses as a fraction of GDP. The page is an update to two popular posts I put together outlining government revenue and expenditures. And I see that Calculated Risk was also drawn to the analysis of government receipts and outlays data over the weekend. He put together an excellent post on the components of government receipts yesterday and it sounds like a version for outlays may be forthcoming.

While the immediate motivation for these explorations (for me at least) is the looming deadline for raising the debt ceiling so that the US will avoid defaulting on its debt, it should be clear that the issue of debt and deficits (and thus taxes and spending) is not going away anytime soon. This is an issue we'll be working through for many years, and I want to be able to keep track of our progress. So then here are the current charts for US debt, receipts, expenditures, and budget deficits or surpluses all as a fraction of GDP. The latest data (including updated versions of these charts) lives here.

Total Federal Debt as a Fraction of GDP

Government Receipts and Expenditures as a Fraction of GDP

Government Budget Surplus or Deficit as a Fraction of GDP: ( Receipts - Expenditures )