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political notebook

Analysis shows higher deficit

A new analysis of President Obama’s budget for next year says the deficit scenario for next year isn’t as rosy as the White House figured last month.

Friday’s Congressional Budget Office report said Obama’s budget would produce a $977 billion deficit next year — $75 billion more than predicted by the White House.

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Over the coming decade, the office says Obama’s policies would result in deficits totaling $6.4 trillion. Deficits would be even higher were it not for Obama’s proposals to raise taxes on higher-income people.

The White House seized on the figures as validation of its assertions that Obama’s budget brings the deficit under control - at least when measured against the economy, the measure used by most economists in evaluating the deficit.

“CBO found that by 2016 deficits as a share of the economy would be below 3 percent - a key milestone of fiscal sustainability,’’ said Jeffrey Zients, White House budget office acting director “Debt held by the public will decrease and then stabilize as a share of the economy, also a key indicator of improving fiscal health.’’

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Obama’s budget office consistently overestimates tax revenues over the coming decade. CBO congressional office predicts revenues on average that are about $120 billion less each year than predicted by the White House.

Still, the congressional office said Obama’s budget would generate somewhat lower deficits over the coming decade than the White House predicts. Much of that is due to lower interest costs and less generous cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security benefits. The forecasting differences for 2013 aren’t unusual and generally are caused by the congressional office’s less optimistic view of the economy over the next couple of years. The White House forecasts higher income and corporate profits.

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For the current budget year, the congressional office says Obama’s policies, if enacted, would generate a $1.25 trillion deficit. That’s $74 billion better than the White House forecast but still represents the fourth consecutive year of trillion dollar-plus deficits.

The report is a precursor to the annual budget debate in Congress. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Budget Committee, plans next week to unveil his budget plan, which will call for sharply lower spending on federal health care programs, lower taxes than called for by Obama, and less money for the day-to-day budgets of federal agencies than called for in last year’s budget and debt pact.

“The president will not fulfill his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term - after four straight deficits in excess of $1 trillion, CBO estimates next year’s deficit will be even higher than the president claims,’’ Ryan said in a statement.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Donations as low as $2.50 requested by Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is asking supporters for donations as small as $2.50 to keep his GOP presidential campaign going.

The former House speaker told a New Orleans audience Friday that he can’t raise as much money as front-runner Mitt Romney can. But he said he is gaining 500 to 1,000 new donors a day. He said many of them give small but that he welcomes amounts that might lead to larger contributions later.

Gingrich asked for donations in multiples of $2.50, the amount he said a gallon of gasoline will cost if he becomes president.

The Louisiana primary will be held March 24. Gingrich promised to promote Louisiana’s energy, tourism, and sea food industries.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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