Federal Deficit Rises to 4.6% of GDP in FY2020

The news is full today with scary stories about the federal deficit approaching a trillion dollars this year. And that’s true. But as you know, money comparisons should always be presented with inflation accounted for. In this case, the equivalent method is calculating the deficit as a percentage of GDP. Here it is:

That doesn’t look quite so bad, does it? Now, it’s true that Donald Trump said it would be a piece of cake to get rid of the deficit and he hasn’t done it. It’s also true that you don’t really want to see the deficit getting bigger during an economic expansion. So this is not a great result.

Still and all, it’s not catastrophic either. Which just goes to show: adjusting for inflation is a bipartisan tool. Sometimes it makes your side look better, sometimes it makes the other side look better. Either way, it’s almost always the right way to look at things.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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