The rise and fall and rise of the budget deficit

Data: FRED and U.S. Department of the Treasury; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The federal deficit is now 17% higher than it was at the end of the last fiscal year, according to figures the Treasury Department released this week — but that just begins to tell the story of all the red ink we've been building up. Here's how the deficits have grown, shrunk, and grown again over the last 58 years.

Why it matters: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview with Bloomberg that the deficits are "driven by the three big entitlement programs" — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — and most budget experts agree that entitlement programs drive most of the spending in the federal budget. But the latest increase also provides evidence that the new tax cuts could be making the deficits worse, as the Congressional Budget Office said they would.