How much has the deficit grown? Economist Diane Rogers offers some perspective.
"It tells us a lot about how dramatically the near-term budget outlook has changed, when $300 billion buys you only two months' time," Rogers wrote recently in her blog EconomistMom.com. By comparison, she noted, "the average annual budget deficit over the past 7 years has been $304 billion."
"It's all on the shoulders of leadership. They're responsible for making sure we don't default," said Charles Konigsberg, chief budget counsel of the Concord Coalition, a deficit watchdog group.