:The White House has increased its estimate for next year's deficit to nearly $490 billion (against a previous prediction of $407 billion by President Bush earlier this year)
The actual 2009 deficit could climb still higher because the new projection does not reflect full funding for the wars. In addition, a worsening economy could add to the red ink by reducing tax revenue and increasing safety-net payments, such as jobless benefits and food stamps.Both presidential candidates have proposed tax cuts that could further swell the deficit.
The non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Republican John McCain's cuts would cost $4.2 trillion and Democrat Barack Obama's $2.8 trillion over 10 years. Neither candidate has specified major spending cuts he would make to reduce the deficit.
As a share of the economy, the 2009 deficit would be 3% to 4%, below the post-World War II record of 6% set in 1983.
In addition, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are about $10 billion to $12 billion a month, which may leave little room for other new initiatives in such areas as education or transportation.