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On the other side of the ledger, existing laws would lead to a drop in unemployment benefits, crippling cuts in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients and automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending totaling $65 billion in 2013 — the so-called “sequesters” from last year’s debt deal.

The good news is those changes would cut the annual deficit by $560 billion, from $1.2 trillion this year to $612 billion in 2013. The bad news is that without the government pouring billions into the economy in spending, and without taxpayers keeping more money, which they, too, pump into the economy, gross domestic product will drop in early 2013 by 1.3 percent.

“Given the pattern of past recessions as identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research, such a contraction in output in the first half of 2013 would probably be judged to be a recession,” CBO warned.

CBO said the downturn would be brief and the economy would grow at 2.3 percent in the latter half of 2013 — but the prospect of a double-dip doesn’t sit well with either party.