The difference between the US Debt & Deficit.

The super short version:

Let’s say Sam gets $50 per year in allowance (revenue), but owes his Mom $100 in “debt” after two years.  He accrued that debt by spending $100 per year. So, he spent $50 more per year  (“yearly deficit”) than he made in allowance.

2 years * $50 yearly deficit = $100 debt.


As told by others:

More depth of the difference between debt and deficit:

Even greater detail specifc to the US economy as it relates to taxes, social security, military spending etc:

The History of the US Debt

Breakdown of US Debt Over Time:

Here is a breakdown of debt accrued over 40 years:

Here is a picture snapshot from the site incase your feeling lazy:











Per Presidency Comparison:

This is the total debt accrued per president in a more condensed format:









I crossed checked it with the treasury data to make sure it was kosher – you can too:



The great thing abot history and numbers is it help remind us there is a difference between what rememebr and what really hapened.

If your going to base your opinions on these numbers and term, please know what they are, or else not only are you doing the country a diservice, but you are letting people use your naivety to control your feelings on an issue.


As you can see it isnt a question of president,  the larger issue is that spending more than we make has been an issue without our country as a whole for a long time. Many of us complain about the economy in a warm room with a bed to sleep onand food in our stomach. (Of course many do not, and we need to fix that too), but we spend more than we should, and then hope someone will save us so we can do it again. That might be a better issue to reflect on then the unsubstantiated blame game.

There is no better quote to reference then your own, made from the source:Not the facts, just the data

Here is another post in my series of “Not the facts, just the data”. This post came after an argument I had with someone I care about. Make no mistake that this is not a rebutle but just a perspective on data vs. facts, and arguments vs. politics.

The biggest argument I stand being, from my point of view, is this: Do not trust or love politics, love your people, peers, country, and family.

Politicians on either side of the coin will use data for their agenda. If you get wrapped up in it, and start believing what you are *told*, through sound bites and ads, you will be misinformed 100% of the time. More information isn’t tantamount to a depth of information.

This is why I have learned not to trust politics, they bet on people not reading the full story (as wel only have so much time in the day) and try to create anger and conflict to make people mad enough to vote how they want. It feels like THAT is what has gotten worst over the years, not so much what is happening in the world, just the way its agenda is given to us. China does it by cutting off information, the US does it by overloading its people with one sided information.
The good news is that with the advent of the Internet it is now so easy to get the data and documents from the source, and fight back as a citizen saying “don’t use me for your agenda”. No need to go to the library and send letters requesting data that may take days or weeks; it is available now if you are willing to read it.
As my methods to get to the data evolve, I try and follow some procedures to navigate past the political propaganda.
First, If I find a “fact” that I am researching on any news site, I look for the citation for the “fact” so I know where it came from, and then look that fact up from it source to read it myself. If there is not citation, I start over. A citation does not make it data, it just helps you get a path to the source. Secondly, if I find the source I read it, if I cannot find the source I look for the source directly. At this stage in the evolution of my process I have deemed .gov sites and non-profit census bureaus as a final source. In some situation you can never be sure unless you count the numbers yourself, but I have found the most consistency at that level. Yes I know that even the government stats, non profits, and census bureaus can lie but if I can find some consitancy at that level I am pleased.
Lastly, how to spot a fact with skeletons in its closet that should trigger an investigation like the one above before having the debate.
Well, the main thing that triggers a fact check to me are statistics, and references to bill being voted on. Why? Well, over the years I have found that stats have a high potential to be screwed. Or example, what constitutes “1 year” – Fiscal year or calendar year etc. Another example is is the stats extrapolated from previous data or data that has already happened. Another read flag is the use of tag lines,  sound bits and general words like “taxes”, and “everyone”, and “higher” — higher then when and what for whom? Also, the reference to bills, are tough to believe from something like “he voted to….” After living in DC and working on capitol hill with you realize that both sides of the fence will quote the same document at different parts and come up with completely different conclusion. It is impossible for both are either to be entirely right, but both sides would never realize that they both *think* they are 100% right. As my readers and friends know by now, one of my big rules of thumb is: If experts disagree it is time to make your own decisions. A bill is written by many people with many agendas for their state. They are stiuffed, written and re-written over and over to try to get as much as they each want to get in it, and keep out as much as they don’t. They do this hours and hours everyday to come to a final document that is then voted on by all parties. It is very important to remember that time line, for no document has one message, and if it passed their is a big chance that both parties voted yes on it (unless there was a big split with few deciding votes). Point being, much could have gone into a document and so much more history to that document then any sound bite could articulate.
So, one of the bills that was brought as a point of contention was based on a sound bites saying “Obama voted on late term abortion”, and it was said that the bill was made to let mothers have the right to kill a baby after it is born alive. Well, personal, I did not know about that bill first hand, and that I promised to look it up. Speaking from my own perspectives I don’t like the sound of it, but I want the source and document first before my personal conclusions on that vote are spoken.
This is one of the actual bills voted on for Illinois referenced. It only took a few minutes to bring up. It was indeed named “Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act”, so that is a true data point.  As it turns out was voted on 44-7 (almost everyone agreed in both parties, that decided to attend). Also there were 5 present votes. What does a present vote mean?
 The “present” vote is in effect a “no” vote, but it is a “no” vote that sends a message. The “present” vote is used by lawmakers in situations where they agree with a bill in
spirit, however the current version of the bill is not good enough to vote “yes;”
The bill, in my first hand summary, would be this:  A bill for late term abortion *if* it will kill the mother to have the baby, but still says it is illegal otherwise. But please, do not take my word for it! Read it here:
So it is important for me to see just how complex a bill can be, in addition to how complex it is to create, finalize,vote on and pass, on it.
Another topic was immigration. Stats are the hardest data to really find concrete numbers. There isn’t a list of people that are counted ever. It is def not as easy to get to the bottom of as a document being references. Old census bureus that have been around and referenced over time by both parties is, to me, a better place to start than from a news site, network, or politician.
So here is census data from the Pew Foundation on immigration stats, highest in 2007, and leveled off down by a million the following years.
It is important to note that data usually doesn’t come with a “should”, “good”, “bad”, or “won’t” list of words around it. Why did it go up? That is as complex as why did it go down? And as you will see that once why is added to statistics rarely does a group of experts agree. There are so many variables, and that is where debates and politics I suppose have a place. But I would implore you all out there to start the debate after the data is presented, and be sure not to find yourself repeating an ad or politicians claim that a statistic is “up” or “down” until you read it for yourself from the source.
I think my new strategy will be to make sure that before I argue on big issues like this, especially in DC where the ads and politics are so ripe with contention, I will just say show me the document we are arguing over before getting involved. If we do, maybe the citizens of this country can take back their right to be informed, and to make decisions without political agenda being the force that drives them.

Gas: Remember. Learn. Be Smart.

Complaining about gas prices is like complaining that your love of ice cream has made you fat. This is the data points that should matter to you:… Stop buying big cars that suck gas, EVEN when this fall/winter gas prices go down, as they usually do.

If you feel like a baller and you want to get a big car that sucks gas, then keep that top-dog mentality  and pay the high gas prices in with some pride. As a matter of fact, it would make more sense if you bragged about how much you get to pay for your big high-roller rich-boy status.

Again, please read the data before you shout form a hill and light those torches in the street, based on some guy in a suite trying to get the most sought after job in the world, and tells you something that makes him look good — no matter what side that may be.

As usual, here is my non-political mouthed stats and data, from the source, with links to where you can read more in case you are without time, or just lazy.:

” (OPEC) was founded in Baghdad, Iraq, with the signing of an agreement in September 1960 by five countries namely Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. They were to become the Founder Members of the Organization.

These countries were later joined by Qatar (1961), Indonesia (1962), Libya (1962), the United Arab Emirates (1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973), Gabon (1975) and Angola (2007).”

” OPEC members collectively hold 79% of world crude oil reserves and 44% of the world’s crude oil production, affording them considerable control over the global marke”


You also might have forgotten the highest increase in gas was between 2001 and 2008. Remember when we had all those awesome Hummers that were sold only a few years later? Oh and those wars in those countries that are the leaders of OPEC because we were “so angry”? Yeah – remember, learn, be smart.

Get more data about energy use and projections here:


Control what you can control, and think ahead next time some one out there tries to save up money in our national bank, asks you to help them cut down on our dependency on oil, and says you will look cool in a big gas thirsty car. Whether gas prices or high OR LOW.


Let’s have cleaner debates with our neighbors: Not the facts, just the data.

I am not trying to get entrenched in the political back-and-forth going on. I actually do understand all of the he-said she-said going back-and-forth when it comes to peoples opinions. Opinions are each persons right to have, especially when it comes to social philosophy. Additionally, opinions are hard to “verify”; your beleifs are your prerogative.

However, it is amazing to me how non-opinion based information gets thrown AS opinion. It is even more distressing because it is so easy to find many statistic directly from the source, before they are muddied by political agenda, or distributed in off-the-cuff comments and hearsay.

So, I figured I could help…

The following are just the data & graphs of screen-shots taken from real census data (and yes the URL of where I got the data from is also noted next to each graph.) Feel free to browse the data yourself and make your own observations.

Debate the implications all your want – but below are not news reports or debate notes, they are charts taken from the actual data sources. All I ask, and hope to acheive, is that no matter what side your on, just remember not to include non-sensicle bullet points that just aren’t true and instead try to argue around your beliefs. Do not get caught up in baseless, inflated, skewed, or inaccurate depictions of history as it relates to hard cold metrics.

Important notes on data around first day of office dates

The first day in office for elected presidents is in late January following the election results, coming two months before in November.

George W’s First Day Obama’s First Day
 January 20, 2001  January 20, 2009

The stock market
The stock market shows the amount of money distributed in US corporation. The rich, and anyone investing in the rich wins when this graph goes up. Note 2007 and 2008 were shockingly bad, the worst downswing since the mid 80s. The good news everyone is it has only taken four years to get back from our bubble burst of 2001 which took eight. (You want this going up)


Unemployment Rate

This one is a often heavy argument point, but the data is all very easy to lookup. When a single percentage is called out it is hard to know its context. Those that scream and point fingers from he top of a mountain often end up implicating everyone – if those at the bottom of the mountain did a little research…. Again 2007 was the beginning of the frenzy. And if you remember there were many sad days and foreclosures making an “america is shutting down” environment. It was the intense swing from just a year before in 2006 that scared people the most. (You want this going down)

  2007-2009 was the sharpest upswing of unemployment we have seen over 30 years.


Here is another amazing story of how politicians program you to just repeat what they shout, programming you to have their debate. Again, the data is there to have your own debates and ones that aren’ skewed by anyone. Debt sucks, and gus, we have had it growing for a long time. And this rate back-and-forth argument is again a graph away. You can see the linear growth of date below. (You want this going down)


Personal Income

This is one that people don’t talk much about, because we like focusing on the negatives. BUT your incomes have been growing fairly steadily for a long time. We had a short blip of our first downward trajectory in 2008, actually the only one in recorded history of the US, but it corrected itself pretty quickly after 2009. (You want this going up)




I also found interesting that the following census data shows a steady increase in revenue and income in the US for decades.

Disposable Income per capita

This is also a great graph to be going up. Like the income graph we saw our first real blip ever in 2008, but for the most part we have consistently been getting a linear growth.


This one is a bit less cheerful, but t’s the reality. We had some great years as a country with revenue, but unfortunately the money stopped coming in in 2007 and we have all felt this graph at home.