0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. budget deficit is set to fall to $514 billion this year, down substantially from last year and the lowest level by far since President Barack Obama took office five years ago, a congressional report said Tuesday.The Congressional Budget Office credits higher tax revenues from the rebounding economy and sharp curbs on agency spending as the chief reason for the deficit's short-term decline.But the budget experts see the long-term deficit picture worsening by about $100 billion a year through the end of the decade because of slower growth in the economy than they had previously predicted.The report also updates the budget office's analysis of the new health care law. It now projects that Obama's signature legislation will lead to about 2 million fewer full-time workers by 2017, a significantly larger effect on employment than predicted previously. The reduction in employment, the agency said, is because many people will choose not to work or will work fewer hours because of the law's incentives, which include subsidized health coverage for people who don't have workplace coverage.The agency also reduced its estimate of the number of uninsured people who will get coverage through the health care law. The budget experts now say about 2 million fewer people will get covered this year than had been expected, partly because of website problems that prevented people from signing up last fall when new markets for subsidized private insurance went live.Website woes have largely cleared up, but the nonpartisan analysts said they expect 1 million fewer people to sign up through the new insurance exchanges, for a new total of 6 million in 2014. Enrollment will pick up in 2015, topping 20 million in 2016 and beyond.CBO also revised its Medicaid projection down by 1 million, for a new total of 8 million in 2014. About half the states have accepted the health law's Medicaid expansion.Last year's deficit registered $680 billion. Obama inherited an economy in crisis and the first deficits ever to exceed $1 trillion. The 2009 deficit, swelled by the costs of the Wall Street bailout, hit a record $1.4 trillion, while the deficits of 2010 and 2011 both registered $1.3 trillion.