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When president Barack Obama reflects on 2014, he brings up a litany the highlights the include drawing down the Afghanistan war and also Americans signing up for health and wellness insurance thanks to his health treatment law.

Oh, and also slicing up the deficit. Obama is super-pumped around that. He make a allude to brag about the deficit"s drop in his 2015 State that the Union address.

"At every step, we were called our purposes were misguided or as well ambitious; that we would crush jobs and also explode deficits," Obama said. "Instead, we’ve watched the fastest financial growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and also health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years."

Is that right about the deficit dropping by two-thirds?

What the White house says

As a reminder, don’t acquire the deficit twisted with the debt. Lock are only related, no the same.

The country’s yearly deficit is the difference in between what the federal government collects in revenues and also spends in one year. The national debt, i m sorry exceeds $18 trillion, is the net of annual deficits minus any yearly surpluses.

To ago up his claim, Obama is compare his an initial budget year in office -- 2009 -- come 2014.

The White home is breaking under the deficit together a percent of Gross residential Product, or GDP, and also not yes, really dollars. Economists told us this is a valid means of assessing the deficit, because it components in the economy’s adjust over time. The White house sent united state this chart, which counts on data native the White home Office the Management and Budget.

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In budget year 2009, i beg your pardon started nearly four months before Obama"s presidency began and ended eight months right into it, the deficit to be 9.8 percent that GDP. The 2014 shortfall is 2.8 percent of GDP -- a diminish of 71 percent. Therefore that"s whereby the case comes from.

The instance largely tracks if friend use genuine dollars. Using the exact same comparison with Congressional spending plan Office figures, the deficit fell from $1.4 trillion in the 2009 fiscal year come $486 exchange rate in the 2014 fiscal year -- a drop of around 66 percent.

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Why the drop might not be so exciting

Experts told us that when Obama"s math might be correct, it"s lacking some important caveats. 

First, it"s crucial to note that the deficit swelled in 2009 (hence the steady drop). In 2008, the deficit to be $458 billion, or 3.1 percent that GDP. Those deficits are smaller sized than the people the country is dealing with today. The 2009 budget year stood for a large jump in the deficit, partly because of the enormous stimulus program to jumpstart the cratering economy.