[SIZE="5"] White House projects record deficit for 2009[/SIZE]
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House on Monday predicted a record deficit of $490 billion for the 2009 budget year, a senior government official told CNN.
The deficit would amount to roughly 3.5 percent of the nation's $14 trillion economy.
[B]The official pointed to a faltering economy and the bipartisan $170 billion stimulus package that passed earlier this year for the record deficit.[/B]
The fiscal year begins October 1, 2008.
The federal deficit is the difference between what the government spends and what it takes in from taxes and other revenue sources. The government must borrow money to make up the difference.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official is not authorized to speak publicly ahead of an official briefing later Monday by Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle.
President Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion when he took office in 2001 but has since posted a budget deficit every year.
The Bush administration has spent heavily on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and faces a large budget shortfall in tax revenue because of Bush's tax cuts and a souring economy.
But the senior administration official says the budgetary problems stem from what is believed to be inadequate defense, intelligence and homeland security resources that were handed down from President Bill Clinton.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in March projected the deficit for the 2008 fiscal year, which ends September 30, would be $396 billion. It predicted the 2009 deficit to be $342 billion, if the president's proposals were adopted.