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The gulf crisis complicates a last-ditch budget summit

Amid the fears of a U.S. war with Iraq, America's struggle against a no less threatening enemy has been all but forgotten. That foe is the soaring federal deficit. In the four months since President Bush and congressional leaders convened their budget summit, Administration estimates of this year's deficit have exploded from $100 billion to $149 billion, not counting the $100 billion bailout of bankrupt savings and loans. The gap could grow even larger if the economy, already on the brink, is pushed into a recession by surging oil prices from the Persian Gulf crisis.

That prospect makes coming to grips...

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