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Budget Deficit History

Budget Deficit by Year

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Obama and Congressional Leaders Continue Talks on Deficit and Debt Ceiling

Obama and Congressional Leaders Continue Talks on Deficit and Debt Ceiling

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The budget deficit is the difference between the money federal government takes in, called receipts, and what it spends, called outlays, each year. The U.S. government has run a multibillion-dollar deficit almost every year in modern history, spending much more than it takes in.

In fact, the government has recorded surpluses in only five years since 1969, most of them under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

See also: Debt Ceiling History

Running a budget deficit adds to the national debt and, in the past, has forced Congress to increase the debt ceiling under numerous presidential administrations, both Republican and Democrat, to allow the government to meet its statutory obligations.

Here is the budget deficit or surplus by fiscal year, according to Congressional Budget Office data for modern history.

  • 2013 - $901 billion budget deficit (projected)
  • 2012 - $1.1 trillion budget deficit
  • 2011 - $1.3 trillion budget deficit
  • 2010 - $1.3 trillion budget deficit
  • 2009 - $1.4 trillion budget deficit
  • 2008 - $455 billion budget deficit
  • 2007 - $162 billion budget deficit
  • 2006 - $248.2 billion budget deficit
  • 2005 - $319 billion budget deficit
  • 2004 - $412.7 billion budget deficit
  • 2003 - $377.6 billion budget deficit
  • 2002 - $157.8 billion budget deficit
  • 2001 - $128.2 billion budget surplus
  • 2000 - $236.2 billion budget surplus
  • 1999 - $125.6 billion budget surplus
  • 1998 - $69.3 billion budget surplus
  • 1997 - $21.9 billion budget deficit
  • 1996 - $107.4 billion budget deficit
  • 1995 - $164 billion budget deficit
  • 1994 - $203.2 billion budget deficit
  • 1993 - $255.1 billion budget deficit
  • 1992 - $290.3 billion budget deficit
  • 1991 - $269.2 billion budget deficit
  • 1990 - $221 billion budget deficit
  • 1989 - $152.6 billion budget deficit
  • 1988 - $155.2 billion budget deficit
  • 1987 - $149.7 billion budget deficit
  • 1986 - $221.2 billion budget deficit
  • 1985 - $212.3 billion budget deficit
  • 1984 - $185.4 billion budget deficit
  • 1983 - $207.8 billion budget deficit
  • 1982 - $128 billion budget deficit
  • 1981 - $79 billion budget deficit
  • 1980 - $73.8 billion budget deficit
  • 1979 - $40.7 billion budget deficit
  • 1978 - $59.2 billion budget deficit
  • 1977 - $53.7 billion budget deficit
  • 1976 - $73.7 billion budget deficit
  • 1975 - $53.2 billion budget deficit
  • 1974 - $6.1 billion budget deficit
  • 1973 - $14.9 billion budget deficit
  • 1972 - $23.4 billion budget deficit
  • 1971 - $23 billion budget deficit
  • 1970 - $2.8 billion budget deficit
  • 1969 - $3.2 billion budget surplus

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