The sequestration provisions of the 2011 Budget Control Act are having a disastrous impact on federal programs. Military readiness has plummeted, life-saving research has been canceled, and the FBI can’t find money to train its agents. But sequestration isn’t doing much to alter the underlying drivers of budget deficits. If Congress wants to slow growth in the national debt over the long term, it will need to find a better approach. Four guidelines could provide a framework for lasting fiscal restraint: (1) Aim for permanent, structural reductions in spending; (2) Keep savings targets, but let cuts ramp up over time; (3) Focus on the way business is done to reduce waste; and (4) Give managers the flexibility to make balanced reductions. I have written a commentary based on these precepts for Forbes, which you can read here.
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