United States federal budget deficit/surplus, as percentage of gross domestic product (source).
‘Elected politicians enjoy spending public monies on projects that yield some demonstrable benefits to their constituents. They do not enjoy imposing taxes on these same constituents. The pre-Keynesian norm of budget balance served to constrain spending proclivities so as to keep governmental outlays roughly within the revenue limits generated by taxes. The Keynesian destruction of this norm, without an adequate replacement, effectively removed the constraint. Predictably, politicians responded by increasing spending more than tax revenues, by creating budget deficits as a normal course of events.’ (James M. Buchanan and Richard E. Wagner, 1977, Democracy in Deficit: The Political Legacy of Lord Keynes).