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The Boston Globe

Nation

Feared spending cuts rooted in years of dysfunction

WASHINGTON — The potentially massive cuts in federal spending that could cascade through federal and state agencies beginning in three days were conceived a year and a half ago as Washington’s own version of a game of chicken.

The across-the-board reductions in everything from military spending to aid to the poor would prove so politically unpalatable, the thinking went, that the political parties would be forced to agree on a more sound plan to bring the deficit under control.

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