Stat of the Month: America Blows It

$1.4trn - The US budget deficit is the highest ever.

As Gordon Brown and his cronies start selling off state assets to ease the UK's debt burden (£800bn), here's something to put it all into perspective: the US budget deficit hit a record $1.4trn for the 2009 fiscal year, according to congressional analysts. This is equal to 9.9% of GDP, or $7,000 per US citizen, and blows away the previous record deficit of $459bn, set last year.

It was inevitable that a time of reckoning would come: the costs of the financial support packages and stimulus measures would eventually need to be calculated by Congress. And with the loss of tax revenues from those who lost their jobs in the downturn, combined with increased payment of unemployment benefits and a slowdown in consumer spending, it is little surprise that the deficit broke all records. Congress might even have to slash expenditure in sectors such as healthcare and defence.

Barack Obama has attributed the dismal US fiscal situation to the financial and economic problems he inherited. But things could be worse for the new US president - the UK budget deficit is getting on for 60% of GDP.

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