WASHINGTON » The White House is predicting the government’s budget deficit for the soon-to-close fiscal year will hit $600 billion. That’s an increase of $162 billion over last year’s tally and a reversal of a steady trend of large but improving deficits on President Barack Obama’s watch.
The disappointing figures, while expected, come after the deficit has steadily declined since the huge $1.4 trillion deficit Obama inherited after the deep 2007-2009 recession and the associated fiscal crisis.
According to many economists, the improving economy, tax increases on higher-income earners and cuts to annual agency budgets have helped close the gap but the longer-term picture is troubling.
Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has focused much on deficits and debt, but the rising figures may lend more urgency to the issue.