Given a lot of the rhetoric coming out of Washington and mainstream media outlets these days, one could be forgiven for believing that the United States has entered a new age of unprecedented austerity. This is hardly the case. Indeed, despite the best efforts of an insurgent Republican majority in the House of Representatives — elected in 2010 as a rebuke to Democratic fiscal recklessness — federal spending continues to rise.
When Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) — legislation to raise the debt ceiling that called for about $1.8 trillion in spending cuts over ten years — in August, the agreement was hailed by both sides as “the deepest spending cut since World War II” (freshman GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois) that would bring federal spending “to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower administration” (President Obama).
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