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August Surprise: A Lower Deficit

On August 25, the Office of Management and Budget will release its latest estimate of the federal budget deficit. In May, the administration projected a deficit of $1.84 trillion. That's now down to about $1.58 trillion, according to an administration official. The basic reason: the financial sector didn't hit rock bottom, and so a lot of the money the administration set aside to pay for emergency actions wasn't needed. Still, $1.58 trillion is... a big number. But remember: the WH was initially very worried that the August estimate would dwarf previous numbers... and would infect the health care debate. It'll be interesting to see whether the Congressional Budget Office revises its deficit projection downward, too; the CBO releases its number the same day as OMB.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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