Government Spending

July 12, 2013 • Volume 23, Issue 25
Will steep cuts hurt the country?
By Marcia Clemmitt


A hillside burns behind houses (Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian)
A hillside burns behind houses in Newbury Park, Calif., during a wildfire on May 2, 2013. Federal budget cuts triggered by so-called “sequestration” are squeezing programs ranging from firefighting and foreign aid to Head Start and hurricane forecasting. (Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian)

This spring, the first of what could be eight years of across-the-board spending cuts — known as “sequestration” — hit hundreds of federal agencies and programs, from the Pentagon to Head Start. Enacted by Congress in hopes of pushing lawmakers to compromise on a plan to shrink federal deficits, sequestration threatens annual cuts to programs dear to both political parties. In recent years, Washington budget debates have stalemated over Republican demands for cuts to many federal programs the party deems too large and expensive and Democrats' insistence that tax increases be part of any deal. With action stalled on spending for food stamps and farm subsidies and debate raging over proposed cuts to Social Security, compromise seems unlikely. Still unknown is whether the public will eventually oppose the sequester cuts or accept trimmed-back services as the new normal.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Federal Budget and National Debt
Sep. 01, 2017  National Debt
Jul. 12, 2013  Government Spending
May 15, 2012  State Capitalism
Mar. 18, 2011  National Debt
Nov. 14, 2008  The National Debt
Dec. 09, 2005  Budget Deficit
Apr. 13, 2001  Budget Surplus
Feb. 01, 1991  Recession's Regional Impact
Jan. 20, 1984  Federal Budget Deficit
Sep. 09, 1977  Federal Reorganization and Budget Reform
Nov. 24, 1972  Limits on Federal Spending
Jan. 08, 1969  Federal Budget Making
Dec. 06, 1967  National Debt Management
Aug. 01, 1962  Fiscal and Budget Policy
Nov. 27, 1957  National Debt Limit
Mar. 20, 1957  Spending Controls
Dec. 24, 1953  Public Debt Limit
Feb. 13, 1952  Tax and Debt Limitation
Nov. 30, 1949  Government Spending
Jan. 06, 1948  Legislative Budget-Making
May 23, 1944  The National Debt
Feb. 01, 1943  The Executive Budget and Appropriations by Congress
Dec. 27, 1939  Revision of the Federal Budget System
Oct. 10, 1938  The Outstanding Government Debt
Nov. 20, 1937  Budget Balancing vs. Pump Priming
May 02, 1936  The Deficit and the Public Debt
Oct. 19, 1934  The Federal Budget and the Public Debt
Feb. 10, 1933  Extraordinary Budgeting of Federal Finances
Dec. 01, 1932  Reduction of Federal Expenditures
Dec. 01, 1930  The National Budget System
Oct. 02, 1930  Federal Revenues and Expenditures
Nov. 02, 1927  The Public Debt and Foreign Loans
Nov. 15, 1926  Rising Cost of Government in the United States
Feb. 05, 1925  Four Years Under the Budget System
Budget and the Economy
Defense Budget
Deficit, Federal Debt, and Balanced Budget
Medicaid and Medicare
Social Security
State and Local Taxes