White House Adds $2 Trillion to Deficit Forecasts

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By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 22, 2009

The nation would be forced to borrow more than $9 trillion over the next decade under President Obama's policies, the White House acknowledged late Friday, bringing their long-term budget forecast in line with independent estimates.

The new projections add approximately $2 trillion to budget deficits through 2019. Earlier this year, the administration had predicted that Obama's policies would require the government to spend $7.108 trillion more than it collects in tax revenue over the next decade.

An administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report will not be formally released until Tuesday, said the change is due primarily to updated projections of economic growth that are far less rosy than data used when the White House released its first long-term budget outlook in February. At that time, the White House predicted the economy would shrink by 1.2 percent this year; in fact, the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter, the sharpest drop since 1980.

Critics called the administration overly optimistic, charging that Obama's figures masked the depth of the nation's fiscal crisis and falsely suggested that his policies would stabilize the nation's growing debt to China and other foreign creditors.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has predicted that Obama's policies would force the nation to borrow $9.1 trillion between 2010 and 2019. Like the White House, the CBO is scheduled to release an updated forecast on Tuesday.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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