New estimates from the White House on Friday predict the budget deficit will reach a record $1.47 trillion this year. The government is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar it spends.
That's actually a little better than the administration predicted in February.
The new estimates paint a grim unemployment picture as the economy experiences a relatively jobless recovery. The unemployment rate, presently averaging 9.5 percent, would average 9 percent next year under the new estimates.
The Office of Management and Budget report has ominous news for President Barack Obama should he seek re-election in 2012 — a still-high unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. That would be well above normal, which is closer to a rate of 5.5 percent to 6 percent. Private economists don't think the unemployment rate will drop to those levels until well into this decade.
The gaping deficits are of increasing concern to voters. But Obama and Democrats controlling Congress are mostly taking a pass on deficit reduction this year as they await possible recommendations from Obama's deficit commission.
While there's a slight improvement in the deficit for the current year, next year's predicted $1.42 trillion worth of red ink — that's 37 cents of borrowing for every dollar spent — is looking worse. It's about $150 billion more than previously predicted, because of still-slumping tax revenues.
White House budget director Peter Orszag said the numbers represent a "fiscal situation that requires attention."
Deficits have skyrocketed since the recession took hold in 2008 and Congress responded with a massive bailout of the financial system and last year's $862 billion stimulus measure.
Associated Press writer Jeannine Aversa contributed to this report.
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