Obama's deficit woes linger despite rosier estimate

By : Jeff Mason - Analysis
Date posted :2009-08-20 02:23:00

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A stabilizing U.S. financial sector may have freed the White House to trim its 2009 budget deficit projection but the still-record-breaking figure will not make it easier to sell healthcare reform.

President Barack Obama's administration will lower its budget deficit forecast next week for the current fiscal year to $1.58 trillion from $1.84 trillion after removing $250 billion set aside for bank bailouts, officials said.

The decision shows the administration has enough confidence in the financial sector's strength to forego an option to ask the U.S. Congress for further rescue funds.

But the lower figure's release, which comes at a convenient time for Obama as he tries to overcome critics' concerns about a nearly $1 trillion overhaul of the healthcare system, does not change a key problem: it is still in the trillions of dollars.

"The size of the deficit remains large and most Americans will see it that way," said Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University.

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