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US deficit heads toward record $1.47 trillion

Even with the slight improvement over earlier forecasts, the White House is predicting a record high deficit that some Republicans are already calling 'a stark reminder of the legacy of Obamanomics.'

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There is some good economic news. The red ink the US is swimming in is not as bad as projected in February. Yes, at $1.471 trillion, it's still huge – 10 percent of the nation's gross domestic product – but an improvement of $84 billion from earlier estimates.

But bad news still looms large. In the next fiscal year, according to the mid-season review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Friday, the US deficit will be $150 billion more than earlier projections. It is expected to come in at $1.416 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP.

The White House, which released the change in budget estimates, was careful not to overplay the changing numbers.

“These are not substantial changes and nothing we want to make too big a deal about,” said Peter Orszag, director of the OMB in a press call with reporters. “The economy remains weaker than we would like and the unemployment rate higher than we would like.”

The deficit numbers are an important part of the election debate this year with many voters concerned about the implications of the red ink. In addition, since the US government is the largest borrower, any changes in the US deficit could make a difference to pension funds or retirees who have investments in US Treasury securities. And, the deficit will be watched carefully by other industrial nations, who vowed at the Toronto summit earlier this year to reduce their own budget gaps.

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