Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's latest report says the Obama economy is weaker than previously forecast and that darker days lie ahead.

If you think the feeble economy under this administration is bad, wait until next year when CBO says it could fall into another deep recession if there's no end of the year deal to forestall nearly half a trillion dollars in income tax hikes and spending cuts.

Among the revised forecasts in CBO's report, released Wednesday, the economy in the first half of 2013 would see a severe 2.9 percent contraction in the gross domestic product (GDP), "similar in magnitude to the recession of the early 1990s."

By the second half of next year, CBO thinks the economy would be limping at 1.9 percent growth, weaker than it had previously forecast.

These are much gloomier forecasts than CBO reported in January, but the forecasting arm of Congress now says they think the nation's underlying economy is weaker than they had earlier estimated. No kidding.

"The magnitude of the slowdown we're discussing next year is significant," says CBO director Douglas Elmendorf, if the administration and Congress are unable to prevent the government from tumbling over the "fiscal cliff" that looms menacingly at the end of the year.

The president's remedial inability to foster strong growth is a significant factor in the soaring budget deficit that CBO says will be over $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row.

"At 7.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), this year's deficit will be three-quarters as large as the deficit in 2009 when measured relative to the size of the economy," CBO says.

That will further feed a grotesquely obese federal debt that will be 73 percent of our entire gross domestic product by the end of this fiscal year.

Obama's job-starved economy has been in steep decline since January when its growth rate tumbled to barely 2.0 percent in the first quarter, then nosedived to a barely-breathing 1.5 percent in the second quarter.

Unemployment has been over 8 percent for 43 straight months, and has begun climbing once again, rising to 8.3 percent in July. But that's the national average -- the real jobless rate is around 15 percent if you add in those are unemployment, underemployed and discouraged workers who have just given up looking for work and aren't counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.