A new estimate from congressional economists says the government will run a $1.2 trillion deficit for the budget year ending just a few weeks before Election Day. It would be the fourth straight year of trillion dollar-plus deficits.
The almost $100 billion spike from earlier projections for the fiscal 2012 deficit comes almost exclusively because Congress passed legislation recommended by President Barack Obama to renew a 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes and jobless benefits for people languishing on unemployment rolls for more than six months.
Last year's deficit registered $1.3 trillion.
The Congressional Budget Office report is just the latest confirmation of the government's severe fiscal problems. While the official CBO forecast predicts the deficit sliding to just 1 percent of the size of the economy within a few years, that estimate relies on revenues averaging about $500 billion a year over the coming decade — mostly from expiration of Bush-era tax cuts on income, investments, large estates and for families with children.