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Federal spending was lower this year than Paul Ryan originally asked for

Back in 2011, we spent a lot of time debating House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's vision for shrinking the deficit with spending cuts. Democrats thought he was doing too much axing and not enough taxing. Well, the Congressional Budget Office put out a report Wednesday on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget deficit and — tada! — it's shrunk enormously. But what's really amazing is that according to CBO figures, both taxes and spending for FY2014 are lower than what Paul Ryan proposed they should be back in his budget plan from 2012.

Of course both the composition of the taxes and the spending ended up being different from Ryan's proposals. And the future course looks different from the one he outlined. But the basic numbers give you a sense of the scale of the fiscal austerity that's been enacted over the past few years.

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