Budget Deficit Numbers Leaked
by Gary Therkildsen*, 8/20/2009
The Associated Press reported last night that when the Obama White House announces the federal deficit next Tuesday, the number will be about $262 billion less than officials predicted earlier this year – in part because the administration has provided less aid to Wall Street than originally expected.
The federal deficit this year, according to an anonymous White House official, will total $1.58 trillion, three times as large as last year's deficit but much less than the $1.825 trillion predicted in June by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). As noted by the AP, the new deficit numbers are record-breaking, but provide "the administration the opportunity to say that its policies have avoided a more extreme financial crisis and eliminated the need for further bank infusions." Obama's budget included a $250 billion placeholder for a second financial bailout of troubled banks, but the administration did not ask Congress to authorize it.
Next Tuesday – the day the administration plans to officially release these numbers in a budget report – the CBO, coincidentally, will issue its mid-session review, originally scheduled for release in mid-July. Because releasing the two reports on the same day would have decreased media attention to the improved budget numbers, it is entirely reasonable to assume the White House intentionally leaked the figures early.
Image by Flickr user loop_oh used under a Creative Commons license.