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Big or small, spending-cut efforts hit roadblocks


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WASHINGTON (AP) — After the budget gurus in Congress failed to find a grand bargain to reduce the U.S. debt, they decided to go small instead. But that's not working, either.

Their modest goal was to shave 1 percentage point from the annual cost-of-living increase in military pensions for veterans under age 62. But Congress voted last month to restore the bigger pension increases it had cut just two months earlier.

The episode shows how hard it is for Americans and their elected officials to cut spending with a program-by-program approach despite all the talk of needing to tackle deficit spending.

Advocates of deficit reduction are discouraged. They say they fear Congress's reversal on military pensions will lead to unraveling of other recent spending cuts.

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ANDREW TAYLOR - Associated Press, CHARLES BABINGTON

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