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The Washington Post

Explore 60 years of deficits - and the occasional surplus - in an interactive chart.

The 2013 fiscal year revenue and spending data are in, and the U.S. budget deficit is dropping.

  • Neil Irwin
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  • Oct 31, 2013
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Quoth Larry Summers: "just as you burden future generations when you accumulate debt, you also burden future generations when you defer maintenance."

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Jun 5, 2013
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It's as if we took all the good ideas people had to help the economy and reduce the deficit and did the opposite.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • May 22, 2013
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Washington's most powerful budget nerds have cut their prediction of our deficits over the next decade by more than $600 billion.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • May 14, 2013
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Two new reports show just how much progress America has made--if unwittingly--toward cutting deficits.

  • Neil Irwin
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  • Apr 23, 2013
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If we got education, health care and infrastructure right, a lot of our other economic problems would take care of themselves.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Mar 13, 2013
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At least, not unless Washington makes them that bad.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Mar 13, 2013
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For four years, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has put out a great chart showing what's driving our deficit (the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and tax cuts). Here's the final version of that chart, as informative as ever.

  • Dylan Matthews
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  • Feb 28, 2013
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A new paper looks at debt tipping points--and argues that the United States could be near one.

  • Neil Irwin
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  • Feb 22, 2013
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Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore argues that Republicans' focus on austerity and deficit reduction is the wrong message for the moment.

In the 1990s, the problem was the government crowding out the private sector. Today, the problem is the government crowding out itself.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Feb 15, 2013
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Today, however, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declared raising the Medicare age off the table. So what happened? A few things, as I understand it.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Feb 11, 2013
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Pundits are from Mars and economists are from Venus. We help them understand each other.

  • Neil Irwin
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  • Jan 31, 2013
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Here’s a secret: For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Jan 20, 2013
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Markets aren't demanding deficit reduction, and other things that Washington misunderstands about Wall Street.

  • Neil Irwin
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  • Jan 17, 2013
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The U.S. reacted to higher debt levels with even higher deficits. By one measure, that makes us profligate.

Want to see what's behind our fiscal problems? Then you'll want to see this graph.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Nov 9, 2012
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There's a reason Bill Clinton is on the stage tonight. When he was president, America enjoyed a booming economy and surpluses. Since he left the White House, things haven't been quite as good. Here are the best charts on what's happened.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Sep 5, 2012
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To keep his budget promises, Mitt Romney would have to cut all programs that aren't Medicare, Social Security or defense by an average of 40 percent in 2016 and 57 percent in 2022. This will never happen.

  • Ezra Klein
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  • Aug 14, 2012
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