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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The U.S. deficit was down 35 percent to $755 billion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year, after posting an August shortfall of $148 billion, the Treasury said Thursday.

Although larger than the average monthly spending gap, the August deficit was 22.5 percent lower than August 2012, helped by a slight rise in receipts against a sharper fall in spending.

The 35 percent decline over the first 11 months from the same period in the 2012 fiscal year came as receipts rose 13.0 percent to $2.47 trillion while outlays were down 3.9 percent at $3.19 trillion.

Despite the gains in narrowing the deficit from the 2009 full-year high of $1.4 trillion, the administration of President Barack Obama is girding for a tough battle with congressional Republicans in the coming weeks over putting through a new financial plan for fiscal 2014, which begins on October 1.

Republicans are threatening to block the budget to get further spending cuts and reverse Obama’s far-reaching health reforms.

But the battle threatens to shut down parts of the government if a new budget cannot be passed.

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On July 21, Verizon followed in DirecTV’s footsteps and announced it would not be renewing its contract with the far-right conspiracy theory network One America News. Having learned nothing from its catastrophic response to DirecTV, OAN denounced Verizon and encouraged viewers to harass and boycott the “radical Marxist corporation.” And since then, OAN has only further proved its worthlessness.

Without a major carrier, OAN remains focused on national issues like a fear of roving transgender gangs harassing conservatives, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s support for gay men who flash “their genitals to little boys and girls” (she appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race -- a show with no children -- two years ago), and Verizon’s “censorship” of OAN.

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Postcards from the great American labor shortage: A couple arrives at the Seattle airport after a five-hour flight and stands in line at the car rental desk. People are angry. At the desk sits a harassed employee explaining that he simply has no cars of any kind to rent. Nothing. Why? There aren't enough employees on hand to vacuum, wash, fuel and process the cars.

Another snapshot. A couple has been driving for several hours and requires a bathroom stop. They pull into a Burger King. The doors are locked. The only service is at the drive-thru. Why? Lack of employees.

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