Chart: Canada vs. U.S. on national debt

In the 10 years ended in 2010, Canada’s debt showed a moderate decline and U.S. debt doubled. Why the differences?

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>> Numbers represent percentage changes, where 1990 is 100% for both countries. Mouse over lines for exact numbers. google.load(‘visualization’, ’1′, {packages: ['corechart']}); function drawVisualization() { // Create and populate the data table. var data = new google.visualization.DataTable(); data.addColumn(‘string’, ‘x’); data.addColumn(‘number’, ‘U.S.’); data.addColumn(‘number’, ‘Canada’); data.addRow(["'90", 100.0, 100.0,]); data.addRow(["'92", 125.7, 118.9,]); data.addRow(["'94", 145.1, 140.9,]); data.addRow(["'96", 161.6, 159.7,]); data.addRow(["'98", 170.9, 162.0,]); data.addRow(["'00", 175.5, 157.4,]); data.addRow(["'02", 192.6, 150.8,]); data.addRow(["'04", 228.2, 147.0,]); data.addRow(["'06", 263.1, 143.3,]); data.addRow(["'08", 310.0, 137.8,]); data.addRow(["'10", 419.4, 155.4,]); // Create and draw the visualization. new google.visualization.LineChart(document.getElementById(‘visualization’)). draw(data, {curveType: “function”, width: 650, height: 500, vAxis: {maxValue: 10}} ); } google.setOnLoadCallback(drawVisualization);

>> Since 1990, U.S. federal debt has more than quadrupled while Canada’s debt rose by about 55%. In the 10 years ended in 2010, Canada’s debt showed a moderate decline and U.S. debt doubled. Why the differences? Statistics show that Canada has made an effort to reduce debt and paid off over $90 billion from 1997 through 2008. The recent increase was entirely due to the global recession. U.S. debt has consistently risen, especially in the last 10 years. Major drivers of the increase over that last decade according to the PEW Center were: recession related revenue declines (28%), defence spending (13%; cost of the wars on terror alone were over $2.4 trillion to the end of 2009 according to Homeland Security Research), Bush tax cuts (13%), increases in net interest (11%), and other non-defence spending (10%).

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