Weak Economy Means Larger Deficit

As the economy weakens, the federal deficit grows.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting a $250-billion deficit for the current budget year. And that doesn't take into account the $100 billion President Bush wants for an economic booster plan, the spike in unemployment or disappointing holiday retail sales.

The nonpartisan CBO is reporting the estimate Wednesday to House lawmakers. The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says the 2008 red ink will likely be $350 billion.

The figures are well over the $163-billion deficit registered last year.

Also, unlike an increasing number of economists, the CBO isn't forecasting a recession this year. It's predicting a growth rate of 1.7 percent.

The 2006 deficit was $248 billion and had closed from a high of $413 billion registered in 2004.

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