The National Priorities Project was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and currently focuses on taxes, the national debt, and government transparency.
First, information from a second source with links.
“Government Budget in the United States averaged -3.02 percent of GDP from 1948 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 4.60 percent of GDP in 1948 and a record low of -12.10 percent of GDP in 2009.” – TRADING ECONOMICS quote from their page United States Government Budget
Now back to the NPP; this article discusses the basics to understanding the federal debt.
A few overview points are as follows though the article is an excellent resource for much more information and explanation.
- Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 contributing impact to deficits
- Total federal debt listed in article as of 4 June 2015: $18.153T
- Foreign investment in U.S. Treasury Bonds
- China $1.3T
- Japan $1.2T
- Brazil $262B
- oil exporting nations $297B
- Caribbean banking centers $293B
The entire article and links to several others for research or study can be found through the link below.