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SCOTT JAGOW: You know what else is down? The federal budget deficit. More now from Tess Vigeland.
TESS VIGELAND: For the first eight months of the fiscal year the federal deficit is running around $227 billion. That's down almost 17 percent from the same period last year. And the drop comes despite figures that show the deficit jumped sharply in May.
The Bush Administration is touting the fact that the numbers are better this year. But Bob Bixby of the deficit watchdog group The Concord Coalition asks, better relative to what?
BOB BIXBY: We maybe were expecting a $350 billion deficit earlier this year and we may come in at $300 billion or a little bit below that. But I think even with a strong economy and unexpectedly large revenues, you've still got a budget deficit of around $300 billion."
Government spending continues to rise as well, up eight percent from last year. That's in part due to the war in Iraq.
But Bixby points out it's also because of all the interest we're paying on the national debt, which has grown by more than 20 percent this year.
I'm Tess Vigeland for Marketplace.