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Commentary: Descretion advised on budget

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WASHINGTON -- Discretionary spending, the part of the federal budget that is not on autopilot and is subject to annual appropriations, generally constitutes less than 40 percent of federal spending. Take out defense spending and that share drops to well under 20 percent. So if your goal is to slash government spending and your approach is to go after discretionary spending without touching the military, it will require punishing, drastic cuts to make any serious dent in the deficit.

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