The Deficit Is Ballooning, But Obamacare Is Cheaper Than Expected

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The Congressional Budget Offices released a mixed batch of budget figures on Tuesday afternoon (PDF) that are bound to impact the election, though it's not clear who looks worse. Let's start with the big news. Despite all those budget cuts and adjustments, the CBO expects that this year's federal deficit will be $93 billion more than previously thought. Obama will have to think hard about how to spin that. "The deeper fiscal hole could hurt the GOP's ability to brag about slashing deficits during election season," says National Journal's Katy O'Donnell. "But Democrats are unlikely to gain advantage either because they fought against Republican efforts to identify new spending cuts that would offset the cost of the payroll tax cut." 

There's another bit of news for both parties: Obama's health care reform will actually cost $48 billion less than previously thought. This should ease the nerves of some fiscal conservatives who hate the cost of the plan as well as some progressives who hope to prove better healthcare doesn't have to be wildly expensive. Either way, under- or over-estimating a budget by tens of millions of dollars is a bit mind-boggling, isn't it? Perhaps this is how we ended up with our many trillion federal deficit in the first place.

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