The federal deficit was 67 percent of our GDP in 2011, which is pretty bad, but not as bad as in that of the U.K., Italy, Japan, or Greece, according to a chart compiled by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. And, they claim, if our current rate of debt continues, we'll match Greece's current level in about 2030.
Using 2011 data from the International Monetary Fund and the Congressional Budget Office, Heritage illustrates the U.S. debt trajectory and places different financially-addled countries along its line. The CBO numbers are from an "alternative fiscal scenario," a budget outlook that assumes several policies that were set to expire would be renewed and both spending and tax cuts continue. Heritage tweeted the graph out today, a part of its Federal Budget in Pictures series.
Heritage's argument is that if the U.S. reaches Greece's debt level, the country will suffer similar economic distress. Regardless of what you draw from it, the graph does put national debt into perspective. The deficit is higher today than it has been in decades. It's not as bad as that of troubled European countries, but with some not-far-out circumstances, it could be.