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The U.S. federal deficit through the first half of this budget year is at an all-time high, underscoring the pressure the budget is coming under as the overall economy slumps.
The U.S. Treasury Department reported Thursday that the deficit through the first six months of the budget year totalled $311.4 billion US, up 20.5 per cent from the same period a year ago. That was the largest deficit for the first half of a budget year on record, surpassing the old six-month mark of $302 billion set in 2006.
The Bush administration, when it sent its budget proposal to Congress in February, estimated that the deficit for the whole year will total $410 billion, putting it very close to the all-time high in dollar terms of $413 billion.