White House Report: First Three Years of Obama Will Bring Three Largest Budget Deficits Since World War II
February 1, 2010 - 6:37 PMThe budget tables released by the White House today indicate that the first three years of Obama's presidency—2009, 2010 and 2011—will feature the three largest annual budget deficits (when measured as a percentage of GDP) since World War II.
The deficits for 2009, 2010 and 2011 will also be the three largest ever in non-inflation-adjusted dollars. According to the budget tables published by the White House, the 2009 deficit was $1.41 trillion. The 2010 deficit will reach $1.56 trillion and the 2011 deficit will reach $1.27 trillion.
When measured as a percent of GDP, according to the White House, the deficit for 2009 was 9.9 percent of GDP, the deficit for 2010 will be 10.6 percent of GDP, and the deficit for 2011 will be 8.3 percent of GDP.
From 1946 through 2008, the annual budget deficit never approached 8 percent of GDP. Before Obama, the two highest post-World War II budget deficits as measured by percentage of GDP were immediately after the war in 1946, when the deficit equaled 7.2 percent of GDP and in 1983, when it equaled 6.0 percent.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the deficit peaked in 1934 at 5.9 percent of GDP. During the 1941-45 period of World War II, the deficit rose as high as 30.3 percent of GDP in 1943. By 1947, however, the government was running a surplus of 1.7 percent of GDP.