While a deal to raise the debt ceiling is looking like a done deal, there still has been no word from Standard & Poor's about the United States' credit rating. While we have enjoyed a AAA rating since 1941, S&P put the U.S. on credit watch negative on July 14 when a debt deal was far from certain. Given that, we wanted to know how other AAA-rated sovereigns' checkbooks looked. Here are the five best and five worst AAA-rated countries based on revenues and expenditures according to the CIA World Factbook.
Entrusting its protection and foreign relation matters to the United Kingdom, the country retains its autonomy. Offshore banking and tourism are the main drivers of its economy.
GDP growth in 2010: 5.2%
Revenues: $965 million
Expenditures: $943 million (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 97%
Difference: $22 million surplus
Under the military protection of the United Kingdom, this Channel Island country's light taxes has made it an offshore center for private equity funds.GDP growth in 2010: 3.0%
Revenues: $563.3 million
Expenditures: $530.9 million (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 94%
Difference: $32.4 million surplus
With the world's lowest external debt, this landlocked country in central Europe has a strong financial sector and often is considered a tax haven.
GDP growth in 2010: 1.8%
Revenues: $943 million
Expenditures: $820 million (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 87%
Difference: $123 million surplus
The country that once sent Vikings to terrorize the rest of Europe is now one of the most cost-efficient AAA-rated sovereigns.
GDP growth in 2010: 0.4%
Revenues: $226.8 billion
Expenditures: $187 billion (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 82%
Difference: $39.8 billion surplus
While its British ties only were cut in 1997, the small quasi-nation has the best expenditures-to-revenues of all AAA-rated sovereigns and had a revenue surplus of over $9 billion last year.
GDP growth in 2010: 6.8%
Revenues: $48.1 billion
Expenditures: $38.9 billion (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 80%
Difference: $9.2 billion surplus
Being the best of the worst isn't saying much, but when your economy is tied so closely to the United States, it helps put that feat into perspective.
GDP growth in 2010: 3.1%
Revenues: $605.7 billion
Expenditures: $677.7 billion (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 112%
Difference: $71.93 billion deficit
Being the world's fourth largest financial center and having one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore still overspent its revenues last year by almost $5 billion.
GDP growth in 2010: 14.5%
Revenues: $29.87 billion
Expenditures: $34.01 billion (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 113%
Difference: $4.14 billion deficit
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made it his personal mission to blame commodity spectators for the rise in food prices. That still doesn't explain a $20 billion deficit last year.
GDP growth in 2010: 1.5%
Revenues: $1.241 trillion
Expenditures: $1.441 trillion (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 116%
Difference: $200 billion deficit
Rising inflation and anemic growth is a hard combo to overcome. Being the sixth largest economy in the world just means it's that much harder to get going again.
GDP growth in 2010: 1.3%
Revenues: $926.7 billion
Expenditures: $1.154 trillion (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 124%
Difference: $227.3 billion deficit
While overspending is a theme among the worst sovereigns, the United States takes things to a new level. Take your pick of political party for the talking points.
GDP growth in 2010: 2.8%
Revenues: $2.092 trillion
Expenditures: $3.397 trillion (2010 est.)
Percent revenues spent: 162%
Difference: $1.305 trillion deficit