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U.S. Financial Position Worsened in 2012 on Higher Debts

The U.S. government’s net financial position worsened to a $16.1 trillion deficit in fiscal 2012 from $14.8 trillion the previous year, the Treasury Department said today in its annual assessment of the government’s assets and liabilities.

“Our current fiscal challenges are not, of course, the only economic obstacle facing the United States,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in the report. “While the economy has expanded and businesses are investing and hiring, our efforts must continue to strengthen growth long into the future.

‘‘This will require economic policies that protect middle-class families, promote retirement security, and reduce the deficit in a balanced fashion in order to preserve room for the investments that spur economic growth,’’ Geithner said.

Debt held by the public and accrued interest contributed $11.3 trillion to the deficit, up from $10.2 trillion in 2011, according to the report.

The Treasury’s financial report of the U.S. government is a broader look at the nation’s finances than the primarily cash-based accounting that is usually used to analyze the federal budget. The government budget deficit for the year ended in September 2012 was $1.09 trillion, the fourth-largest since World War II, the Treasury said on Oct. 12.

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