President Obama is more optimistic about the nation's economic prospects than most economists, Bloomberg reports. His budget plan forecasts a GDP contraction of 1.2% this year, followed by a 3.2% expansion in 2010. The median forecast of economists calls for a contraction of 2% this year and growth of 1.8% next year. If the economists are right, Obama's pledge to cut the nation's deficit—from a staggering $1.75 trillion in 2009 to $533 million by 2013—is in trouble.
The discrepancy in forecasts is easy to explain, says a former White House economist who advised candidate McCain. “You cannot put out a projection that says, ‘At the end of my first term, my economic policies haven’t worked,’” he said. Doing so is tantamount to forecasting "failure." As a result, “you get some really rapid growth rates late in the game.”