Washington officials say the U.S. deficit is being driven to an all-time high by a sagging economy and the stimulus payments made to 130 million households in an effort to keep the country from falling into a recession. The deficit, now approaching $490 billion, would surpass the record deficit of $413 billion set in 2004. The deficit may be an underestimation because it does not include about $80 billion in war costs, according to reports. The deficit represent about 3% of the economy, and may discourage the next president from adding to it with expensive spending programs or new tax cuts, despite campaign rhetoric. Also, some tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 will expire at the end of 2010. The deficit for 2007 totaled $161.5 billion.