WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Piling up on the desk of the person who will succeed President George W. Bush when he leaves the White House in January 2009 will be higher budget deficits and looming long-term fiscal problems likely to demand immediate attention.
The leading Democratic and Republican candidates in the race for the presidency all have ambitious domestic agendas, including plans to overhaul the U.S. health-care system and change the tax code. The deficits will complicate those plans.
Deficits in that range would approach the $413 billion shortfall in 2004, an all-time record.
"The next president is going to inherit a mess of historic proportions," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said in an interview. "The debt is going up like a scalded cat."