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The US government surplus/deficit (lower left) dropped dramatically after the crash; at the low in 2010 it was almost 1.5 trillion per year. It has since recovered, and is now about 500 billion per year. The deficit chart has two different values - one is a 3-month moving average which shows the seasonality of the US Treasury's cash flow - dropping in Q1 and peaking in Q2 with payment of income taxes. The second value is a 12-month moving average, which serves to smooth out those seasonal variations and can be used as an approxmation of the "current" deficit - although in reality the deficit varies wildly from month to month.

The rate of increase in the deficit increased dramatically immediately following the crash, but then has gradually tapered off as the economy has recovered.


Annualized Surplus/Deficit, Debt Growth Rate

MTS Deficit chart Debt Growth chart

Some believe that the deficit numbers (provided by the MTS) are lies, and they prefer to use the change in total debt year over year. It does have the virtue of following the money. Note: signs are reversed on this chart, i.e. positive numbers = change in debt year over year from that date.

Treasury Direct (TDD) Deficit

TDD Deficit chart

The total US sovereign debt has risen dramatically as a percentage of GDP since the market crash in 2008, but the rate of increase has since leveled off. In nominal terms the rise in debt has been more dramatic - it has doubled from below 9 trillion to almost 18 trillion dollars. You can also see the effect of the "debt ceiling" debates: two flat lines in the chart where the debt didn't rise for many months at a time.

US Debt/GDP, US Total Debt

debt/gdp chart total debt chart