WASHINGTON Feb 26 President Barack Obama will
forecast a 2009 deficit of $1.75 trillion on Thursday in a
budget that covers big goals including reforming the health
care system and stabilizing the U.S. economy, an administration
The huge deficit figure, to be published in the president's
budget later on Thursday, would represent 12.3 percent of the
U.S. economy -- its largest share since World War II.
Obama, a Democrat, has pledged to halve the more-than $1
trillion deficit he inherited from former Republican President
George W. Bush by early 2013, when his current term in office
ends. The budget lays out a series of spending cuts in
agriculture subsidies and other areas to meet that goal.
Two senior administration officials, speaking on condition
of anonymity, laid out broad outlines of the budget ahead of
its release and said Obama's expensive policy goals would be
offset by cuts to put the country in better fiscal shape.
"There's no doubt that there are going to be things that we
do that are going to create some political heartburn," one
"But our fundamental mission is restore the health of the
economy, put the budget on a better (footing) moving forward."
One official said Obama expected the deficit to decline
steadily in the coming years, reaching $533 billion by 2013. He
said the deficit would represent 3 percent of the economy that
year and stabilize from there.
(Reporting by Caren Bohan and Jeff Mason)