03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The 44th President's $4 Trillion Headache

The presidential candidates all have big plans for their time in the White House. Reform health care. Reduce taxes. Close corporate loopholes. Encourage savings. The list goes on.

Like college graduates whose career choices may be limited by their student loan debt, however, the next president could be constrained by the federal budget.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the annual budget deficit will improve during the next president's four-year term and end in a surplus of $61 billion by 2013.

But that baseline projection is based on financial assumptions that no one expects to pan out. Two of the biggest roadblocks threatening to upend budgetary nirvana: What to do about the looming expiration of tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, and the growing cost of fixing - or nixing - the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

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Also: Read how the leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates' tax proposals could affect your take-home pay.