The following appeared in the Sept. 14, 2oo7 issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal deficit is running shaprly lower than last year even though spending in August set an all-time high, the government reported Thursday. The Treasury Department said that the deficit through the first 11 months of this budget year totaled $274.4 billion, down 9.8 percent from the same period a year ago. Analysts believe the deficit for all of 2007 will be even lower because they are forecasting a sizable surplus in the final month, reflecting in part timing issues related to Social Security and Medicare payments. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that when this budget year wraps up Sept. 30, the deficit will total $158 billion, which was down by 36.2 percent from last year's $248.2 billion.