For the US government, the period 1947-2007 (omitting WWII and the GFC) experienced a budget deficit for 49 out of 60 years (80%). On average, the US government budget was in deficit equal to 1.5% of GDP for the whole time period and 2.5% of GDP since 1975. Since the US data also include absolute dollar values of the budget position, the net deficit over the period can be calculated at $8 trillion dollars (corrected to FY 2009 dollars), or $16 trillion dollars if WWII and the GFC are included.
|UK Public Sector Net Borrowing (1956-2014) as a percentage of GDP (source: ons.gov.uk)|
|US government budget deficit (1946-2014) as percentage of GDP (source: whitehouse.gov)|
Incidently, this equivalence of spending and income is one reason why the analogy of the government as a household is flawed. The government's spending adds to national income which in turn increases government revenue (i.e. tax). It's a lucky household wherein income increases with increased spending!
This perspective is quite different from that we normally hear from politicians who like to couch the deficit only in terms of funding government. I am not sure how they reconcile their view with the historical record of massive, long-term, net deficits. The view described here also explains why the government debt never gets paid off. Why would savers intent on increasing their savings accept repayment of their savings? Will they suddenly decide that they want to spend the money they were saving? No. Government debt that is due repayment simply gets "rolled over" as continued savings.