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2010 Budget Deficit to Hit $1.5 Trillion: CBO

New budget estimates released Wednesday predict the government's deficit will hit almost $1.5 trillion this year, a new record.

US Capitol Building with cash
US Capitol Building with cash

The daunting numbers mean that the government will have to borrow 40 cents for every dollar it spends.

The new Congressional Budget Office estimates will add fuel to a raging debate over cutting spending and looming legislation that's required to allow the government to borrow more money as the national debt nears the $14.3 trillion cap set by law. Republicans controlling the House say there's no way they'll raise the limit without significant cuts in spending, starting with a government funding bill that will advance next month.

The CBO analysis predicts the economy will grow by 3.1 percent this year, but that joblessness will remain above 9 percent this year. Dauntingly for President Obama, the nonpartisan agency estimates a nationwide unemployment rate of 8.2 percent on Election Day in 2012.

The latest figures are up from previous estimates because of bipartisan legislation passed in December that extended Bush-era tax cuts, unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and provided a 2 percent payroll tax cut this year.

That measure added almost $400 billion to this year's deficit, CBO says.

The deficit is on track to beat the record of $1.4 trillion set in 2009. That figure reflected huge outlays from the Wall St. bailout. The nonpartisan budget agency predicts the deficit will drop to $1.1 trillion next year.

"The fiscal challenge confronting us is enormous. To solve this problem, it will require real compromise and a great deal of political will," said Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "We need to have both sides, Democrats and Republicans, willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground."

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