WHY IT MATTERS: Issues at stake in election - Article Photos 2/40

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 8, 2011, file photo, a statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin is seen outside the Treasury Building in Washington. A sea of red ink is confronting the nation and presidents to come. The budget deficit _ the shortfall created when the government spends more in a given year than it collects in taxes and fees_ is on track to top $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. When there's not enough to pay current bills, the government borrows, mostly by selling interest-bearing Treasury bonds, bills and notes to investors and governments worldwide. It now borrows about 40 cents for every dollar it spends. The national debt refers to the total amount the federal government owes; the deficit is just a one-year slice. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)