The federal government ran a deficit in December, marking the 39th straight month in the red, according to preliminary estimates Monday by the Congressional Budget Office, continuing a streak that dates back to the last days of President George W. Bush and encompasses President Obama’s entire term.

And in a bad sign, December’s deficit of $84 billion was slightly worse than the deficit in December 2010, reversing a trend that had seen a slightly improved picture over the previous few months.

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