Speed Reads

Bush League

Obama's budget deficit is almost back to Bush levels

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

The Treasury Department reported Thursday that the federal budget deficit shrank to $680 billion in 2013, from about $1.1 trillion in 2012. Some of that drop is due to a small decline in federal outlays, but most of the narrowing deficit is from increased tax revenue. This chart, from The New York Times, is a good snapshot of why the deficit is shrinking, and of the budgetary effects of the Great Recession — and it also shows that the shortfall in America's checkbook is almost back to the levels Obama inherited from his predecessor, George W. Bush. --Peter Weber