Obama Administration Projects $1.2T 2012 Budget Deficit

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The latest budget figures from the White House predict this year's federal budget deficit will end up at $1.2 trillion.

That would make the fourth consecutive year of trillion dollar-plus deficits during President Barack Obama's administration.

The White House budget office also predicts the economy will grow at a 2.6 percent annual rate this year and that the jobless rate will average 8 percent this year.

The 2012 budget year ends on Sept. 30. The White House also predicted that next year's deficit will fall just short of $1 trillion.

In the long run, however, the president's policy could be a driving force in lowering the federal deficit, namely in the form of his health care overhaul.

Contrary to Republican predictions of the health care act ballooning the deficit even more, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found this week that the Affordable Care Act will actually shrink the deficit by roughly $84 billion over the next decade.

The ACA is being rolled out slowly, with much of the law--including the much maligned individual mandate--not taking effect until 2014 or beyond, causing many of its effects to not yet be felt.

Despite that bit of good news from the CBO, leading economists still predict the deficit will hover around $1 trillion for the foreseeable future, regardless of which party is in power.

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