The US budget deficit for the current year will be about four times that of last year, reflecting government spending to ease the deep recession. The huge increase could hinder US President Barack Obama’s hopes of reforming health care, energy and education.
The deficit reflects government spending to bail out Wall Street and the banks, as well as Obama’s economic stimulus bill.
Obama, while acknowledging his reforms will cost large chunks of money, defends the deficit on the grounds that he inherited a massive amount of red ink from the previous administration.
The deficit is now forecast to climb by US$89 billion to US$1.84 trillion in the fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, meaning the government will be borrowing US$0.46 for every US$1 needed to run the government under the Obama administration’s plan.
In one of the few positive signs to emerge in the period of deep global recession, the actual 2009 deficit was likely to be US$250 billion less than predicted because Congress is unlikely to provide another US$250 billion in financial bailout money.
Meanwhile, the White House proposed on Monday to raise nearly US$60 billion by closing tax loopholes including those related to the estate tax. It also revived a bid to cap deductions wealthy individuals can claim.
Funds raised from the estate tax and other changes would beef up a reserve fund of US$634 billion that Obama wants to use to revamp health care and expand insurance to tens of millions of Americans who lack it.
The proposals “take on what we believe are a series of unjustifiable loopholes, unjustifiable tax breaks that we simply can not afford,” said a senior administration official who could not be identified under the ground rules of a briefing for reporters.
The domestically designed Teng Yun 2 drone passed development milestones over the weekend, flying for more than 10 hours straight and circling Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in the longest flight of an indigenous uncrewed combat aerial vehicle. Developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the Teng Yun 2, or “Cloud Rider” (騰雲二型), recorded its longest flight yet over the weekend, after a three-hour test flight last month, followed by five and seven-hour stretches in the air. The Teng Yun 2 No. 1812 departed from Chiashan Air Base in Hualien County at 6:46pm on Saturday and flew on a
OVER THE HUMP: In a seven-day period ending on Wednesday, the nation reported 366,628 new cases, down 19 percent from the 451,358 reported in the previous week The nation might further open up to more arrivals in the next two months, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 48,283 new local COVID-19 cases, down from more than 50,000 in the previous few days. Taiwan on Wednesday last week introduced a plan to allow up to 25,000 arrivals per week as part of efforts to gradually reopen borders, which includes reducing mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers from seven to three days, followed by four days in “self-initiated epidemic prevention.” The quota covers inbound Taiwanese arrivals, businesspeople and migrant workers. Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday said
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CECC UPDATE: Officials said the definition of a confirmed COVID-19 case has been revised to include those who are positive in a PCR home test confirmed by a doctor The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would probably list monkeypox as a category 2 notifiable communicable disease today or tomorrow. The WHO is to convene an emergency committee meeting today in accordance with the International Health Regulations to discuss whether the spread of monkeypox to 39 countries, including 32 non-endemic countries, constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. On Tuesday, the Singaporean Ministry of Health confirmed its first imported case of monkeypox, which is also the first case reported in Southeast Asia. South Korea yesterday reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox — a South Korean national who