Unexpectedly Intriguing!
07 December 2010

Now that we've established the concept of the Zero Deficit Line, which may be used to determine just how much money the typical American household can really afford for the U.S. government to spend each year, we're taking the next step and presenting a tool you can use to do the math for yourself!

We've set the default data to be that for 2009, but you're welcome to substitute your own income figure of interest to use in the tool below the graph. We'll have more comments below the tool....

U.S. Zero Deficit Line, 1967-2009

Median Household Income Data
Input Data Values
Median Household Income

How Much Federal Spending Per Household Can the U.S. Really Afford?
Estimated Results Values
Federal Spending per U.S. Household

Using the default data, we find that the federal government could only really afford to have spent $20,937 per household in 2009. So it should come as no surprise that the actual amount that the federal government spent of $29,928 per household resulted in the largest ever annual deficit in the history of the United States.

But how much would the median household income in the U.S. have to be so that the federal government could spend $29,928 per American household without producing much of a deficit?

Playing around with the income in the tool above, we found that the median household income in the U.S. would have to rise to be $70,097 in order for this level of government spending to not produce a significant budget deficit. That's about 41% higher than the actual median household income in 2009 of $49,777!

Now, getting the federal government to actually do what it takes to live within its means is a different story....

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About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations

Thanks in advance!

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