That’s the projected deficit, per the White House’s estimates

Driven by the cost of hurricane relief, the federal budget deficit is expected to balloon back above $400 billion for the fiscal year that ends in September, reversing the improvements of 2005, a White House official told reporters yesterday.

And here’s a nifty little trick the Administration pulls. Overestimate the defecit numbers early in the year and then take credit for coming in well under those numbers.

Spin, spin, spin…

This is the third straight year in which the White House has summoned reporters well ahead of the official budget release to project a higher-than-anticipated deficit. In the past two years, when final deficit figures have come in at record or near-record levels, White House officials have boasted that they had made progress, since the final numbers were below estimates.

“This administration has a history of overestimating the deficit early in the year, lowering expectations, then taking credit when it comes in below forecast,” said Stanley E. Collender, a federal budget expert at Financial Dynamics Business Communications. “It’s not just a history. It’s almost an obsession.”

Brilliant strategy, but intellectual dishonesty can only snow people for so long.

After all, these media types are pretty smart ya know…

Business $400 Billion