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Budget Cut Warnings May Prove Harsher Than Reality

Get ready for two weeks of intensifying warnings about how crucial government services are about to go away — including many threats that could eventually prove true.

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President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans made no progress last week in heading off $85 billion in budget-wide cuts that automatically start taking effect March 1. Lacking a bipartisan deal to avoid them, the administration is offering stark details about the consequences: trimmed defense contracts, less secure U.S. embassies, furloughed air traffic controllers.

Past administrations have played up how budget standoffs would wither federal programs the public values. When a budget fight caused two government shutdowns, in 1995 and 1996, some threats came true, like padlocked national parks. Others, like ending feeding programs for the elderly, stayed afloat.

 

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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