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Thursday, December 8, 2016

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This year’s deficit will likely be $514 billion, down about a quarter from last year’s deficit of $680 billion, which was down by more than a third from the year before.

“Since 2010, projected 10-year deficits over the 2015-2024 decade have shrunk by almost $5.0 trillion, $4.1 trillion of which is due to four pieces of legislation enacted in the intervening years,” Richard Kogan and William Chen write in a new report for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

So — despite the fact that most Republicans think it’s still growing — America’s budget deficit has been reduced by two-thirds from the $1.6 trillion cost overrun President Obama inherited in 2009.

This is supposed to be good news. Centrists laud deficit reduction as if it were the only worthy goal of a government. While the improved budget outlook in the near-term has helped President Obama avoid the sort of debt limit standoff that nearly created another financial crisis in 2011, government policy is hurting the recovery and inflicting long-term damage on the economy.

Here are five reasons the deficit is falling in a way that’s hurting America’s long-term prospects.

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