Just wanted to post up a relatively simple chart with the following parameters:
1. Chained 2005 dollars, in order to show a neutral comparison across time.
2. Net revenues, which is simply total federal tax revenue minus total federal spending for that fiscal year.
The purpose of this is primarily to cut through the noise and show a yearly measure of just how much debt we've taken on in the 2008 - 2011 (annualized) time period. It is truly unprecedented. Some like to point out that we've taken on more debt as a percent of GDP during WWII, which is true, but GDP is entirely different from revenue. While the two have historically been highly correlated, that correlation broke down dramatically in the 2000-2010 decade (going from 95%+ correlation down to 37%). As we continue to listen to people in the news talk about this issue, and focus tremendously on the GDP and efforts to juice it, please keep the important fact in mind that juicing the GDP doesn't mean anything if it doesn't increase actual revenue, nor does it imply that any revenue increase necessarily will keep pace with spending.
(click on the image to see the full chart)