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Posted by Paula C. Squires on 8/25/2016 on Virginia Business

With the federal budget deficit projected to hit $590 billion by the end of the year — 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP — rating the state of the U.S. economy as a 5 on a 10-point scale may seem optimistic, especially since some experts offered an assessment as low as a 3 on Thursday.

Yet 5 was the grade that many members of a Richmond audience of about 110 commercial real estate professionals gave during an event sponsored by the local chapter of IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management) at the Country Club of Virginia.

Rep. Dave Brat, R-7th, a free market advocate and former economics professor at Randolph Macon College, described the economy as being “on a sugar high.”

“We had zero percent interest rates for years. Debt [held by the public] will hit $14 trillion by the end of the year … So how’s the economy? Not hot,” he said.

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