The Obama administration on Friday said the government ran a $1.42 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2009.
That made it the worst year on record since World War II, according to data from the Treasury and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Tax receipts for the year fell 16.6% overall, while spending soared 18.2% compared to fiscal year 2008. The causes: rising unemployment, the economic slowdown and the extraordinary measures taken by lawmakers to stem the economic meltdown that hit in fall 2008.
Consequently, the annual deficit rose 212% to the record dollar amount of $1.42 trillion, from $455 billion a year earlier.
As a share of the economy, the deficit accounted for 10% of gross domestic product, up from 3.2% in 2008. As breath-taking as that may be, it's still not in the same stratosphere as the 1945 deficit, which hit 21% of GDP.