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2014 Federal Budget Deficit at $486 Billion, Lowest Since 2008

Image: U.S. dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration taken at the Korea Exchange Bank in Seoul
U.S. dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration taken at the Korea Exchange Bank in Seoul November 10, 2010. U.S. lawmakers were working furiously on July 31, 2011 to hammer out details of a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and put in place a deficit-reduction plan to help avert a potentially catastrophic debt default. REUTERS/Lee Jae-won/Files (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: BUSINESS)Reuters

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The federal government ran an estimated budget deficit of $486 billion in fiscal year 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced Wednesday -- $195 billion less than the shortfall recorded in fiscal year 2013, and the smallest deficit recorded since 2008.

Relative to the size of the economy, that deficit—at an estimated 2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—was slightly below the average experienced over the past 40 years, and 2014 was the fifth consecutive year in which the deficit declined as a percentage of GDP since peaking at 9.8 percent in 2009.

For an Obama White House that’s faced difficult headlines in recent months – on ISIS, Ebola, the conflict in Eastern Ukraine – this is welcome news, especially on a subject that was a key Republican talking point during the 2012 presidential contest.

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