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MARCH DEFICIT: The federal government recorded a $188.2 billion deficit in March, bringing the red ink to $829.4 billion for the first six months of the budget year.
RECORD PACE: The deficit is on track to set a new record, with economists at the Congressional Budget Office forecasting an imbalance of $1.5 trillion this year, exceeding the old record of $1.41 trillion in 2009.
SPENDING CUTS: Analysts say the $38 billion in spending cuts that negotiators agreed to last week to avert a government shutdown won't prevent the deficit from climbing to a record this year because most of those cuts will either not take effect until future years or amount to accounting gimmicks that won't reduce actual spending.