If the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office turn out to be accurate, it may not matter very much:
The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday predicted the deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012.Wait, the payroll tax holiday? I thought that was money that went into the lockbox. Anyone remember the lockbox?
The office also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013.
These are much dimmer forecasts than in CBO's last report in August, when the office projected a $973 billion deficit. The report reflects weaker corporate tax revenue and the extension for two months of the payroll tax holiday.
Actually, the key number is the unemployment number. That's the one that will drive the debate this year, along with the price of gasoline over the summer. As horrific as numbers in the trillions are, they are so huge that they end up being abstractions for most people. The numbers the average person experiences are the ones that matter, which is why, even though the Republican field has turned out to be weak, I think Obama is in a lot more trouble than some of my Democratic Party friends seem to understand.