The federal government’s budget deficit for fiscal year 2011 was $1.3 trillion; at 8.7% of gross domestic product (GDP 2011: $15 trillion)–which is the sum of all income earned in the domestic production of goods and service–that deficit was the third-largest shortfall in the past 40 years.
In 2011, federal spending (outlays) exceeded 24% of GDP, the third-highest level in the past 40 years, while federal revenues were just over 15% of GDP, the third-lowest level during that period. If economic conditions improve, spending will decline relative to GDP and revenues will rise. But even so, under current policies, a large gap between spending and revenues will persist.
At the end of fiscal year 2011, debt held by the public amounted to $10.1 trillion, or 67% of GDP. Another $4.6 trillion in Treasury securities were held by other federal government accounts, representing amounts that one part of the government (mostly the Social Security Administration) had lent to another (the Treasury).