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Government spending rises 9% in 2010

Basic government spending rose by 9 percent in fiscal 2010, driving the country to a $1.291 trillion deficit down $125 billion from 2009, but still the second-largest hole on record, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday.

CBO said the 9 percent rise in spending for defense, social programs, entitlements and interest on the debt was “somewhat faster than in recent years” a stark evaluation at a time when President Obama and Congress are working to convince voters they are pursuing a fiscally frugal course in Washington.

Still, the nearly $1.3 trillion deficit for fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, is lower than prior projections, thanks in large part to expiring tax breaks, higher corporate tax receipts and the winding-down of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“While the CBO deficit number is lower than expected, the fact that we are still in a very serious fiscal situation remains unchanged and the president is committed to getting us back on a sustainable fiscal path,” said Meg Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget.

She said the rise in non-bailout spending is largely a result of last year’s $814 billion Recovery Act, whose outlays peaked in the middle of this year and which was supporting between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

Overall, the government paid out $3.453 trillion in 2010, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

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