Debt and Deficits

This Is What a Government Going Broke Looks Like


Revenues vs. Spending

Do you ever get the impression that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is trying to tell us something?

The CBO publishes numeous reports on matters financial regarding the government. Many of the recent ones have been full of fairly downbeat verbiage, with the word "unsustainable" appearing a lot. As in, the federal government spends a whole lot more money than it collects, and that continuing nasty habit is unsustainable.

But we're simple folk. People of the land. You know, morons. So, the CBO releases its information in picture-book format, too (they nicely call it an "infographic").

Take a look at the image at the above right. It shows 2013 revenues at $2.8 trillion, and spending at $3.5 trillion.

There's a gap between those numbers. It's a big gap. And while it varies in size, it appears year after year with little respite. (Click image for full-size version.)

Federal deficits

And because the federal government keeps spending more than it takes in, year after year, federal debt has "reached 72% of GDP, the highest level in more than 60 years. Such debt could have serious negative consequences, including restraining long-term economic growth, giving policymakers less flexibility to respond to unexpected challenges, and eventually increasing the risk of a fiscal crisis," as the CBO puts it.

And the government can't start paying that down while continuing to spend more than it takes in.

But wait! Let's try the whole thing in pictures. Scary pictures. (Click image for full-size version.)

Budget and deficits