The White House prediction Friday that the deficit would hit a record $1.47trn this year poured new fuel on the fiery argument over whether the government should begin cutting back to avoid future inflation or instead keep stimulating the economy to help the still-sputtering recovery. But increasingly, economists and other analysts are expressing concern that the United States could be edging closer to a different problem — the kind of deflationary trap that cost Japan more than a decade of growth and economic progress.