Keyword Analysis & Research: national debt vs deficit


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the national debt and deficit?

[The national debt accumulates over time. THe debt is the sums the U.S. government borrowed to cover last year’s deficit and all the deficits in years past. The deficit, or surplus, is measured for the fiscal year in which it occurs.]

What is the impact of running a deficit on the national debt?

Running a deficit can increase the level of debt an entity has, which is why people believe that deficits can be unsustainable over time. For instance, a consumer runs a deficit if they owe $150 but only have $100 to cover all their expenses.

How can the US reduce its national debt and deficit?

The U.S. cannot afford to default on its debt without major global economic consequences. It's best to look at a country's national debt in context. During a recession, expansionary fiscal policy, such as spending and tax cuts, is often used to spur the economy back to health. If it boosts growth enough, it can reduce the debt.

Is the national debt greater than the country’s gross domestic product?

It has grown over time due to recessions, defense spending, and other programs that added to the debt. 1 The U.S. national debt is so high that it's greater than the annual economic output of the entire country, which is measured as the gross domestic product (GDP). 2


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