Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the deficit will top $1 trillion for a fourth straight year and could stay around that level for years.
A key reason the deficit has surged in the past four years is that the government collected less tax revenue. In part, that's because the economy has yet to regain the millions of jobs lost during the Great Recession.
And the government has had to spend more on emergency unemployment benefits and efforts to boost growth, such as the Social Security tax cut that will expire in February unless Congress extends it.
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