It is worth repeating this every so often, because this seems to have not sunk in.  People seem not to have figured out that the deficit is mostly -- almost entirely -- driven by a few factors: (1) the Bush-era tax cuts now mostly extended, (2) the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, (3) and the great recession.  Now, the TARP and stimulus are not contributing much at all to the current deficits.  

A few years ago, the stimulus and measures to deal with the recession contributed much more to the deficits, as this graph shows (from the CBPP [ ]. But by far the biggest cause of the deficits over time, the main cause has been the wars and the Bush era tax cuts.

Now that the economy is projected to turn around, the stimulus and TARP and other measures will end, and the direct effects of the recession will stop contributing the deficit (all the blue areas of the graph below) -- so the deficit will fall in half within the next couple years.  But the lingering effects of the wars and the Bush-era tax cuts will remain.  In fact the effects of the Bush-era tax cuts will grow, and remain the big problem going forward.