Post staff writer Neil Irwin lays out some facts about the debt limit, while former government official Bruce Bartlett clears up some falsehoods.
TRUTH: That gap between revenue and spending? It's the deficit.Irwin writes, "The U.S. government took in about $7,000 in revenue for every man, woman and child in the United States last year. It spent more than $11,000 per person. The gap between those numbers, about $4,000 per person, is the deficit, and it was covered by borrowing money. Some politicians speak as if high levels of government spending and a large budget deficit are the same thing. This isn’t so. You could have a government that spends $11,000 per person — but with taxes to match it — and no deficit. Or you could have a bare-bones government of a libertarian’s fantasy that spends only $7,000 per person but that runs a large deficit because it raises only $3,000 per person in taxes."Greg Kreller/AP