Dose Of Reality

After a decade of budget delusion, Congress and the White House take a significant step toward controlling the deficit

For once the overworked phrase was apt: an era ended last week. Almost 10 years to the day after Ronald Reagan won the Presidency by promising to simultaneously cut taxes, expand defense spending, balance the federal budget and foster a new prosperity, Congress passed and sent to the White House a deficit-reduction plan that made no pretense of trying to accomplish those mutually exclusive goals. Capping more than five months of partisan wrangling, finger pointing and evasion, a new reality had forced itself upon a reluctant Washington: there is no way for the U.S. to get its fiscal house in order...

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