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What happens if the ‘supercommittee’ fails, in one chart

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Little news of progress from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction probably means one of two things: Either the “supercommittee” is good at keeping secrets, or it’s not making much progress.

If it turns out to be the latter, you’ll want to keep this chart handy: The Pew Charitable Trust has outlined how various programs would fare if the supercommittee fails to come up with cuts and triggers $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending reductions (the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has also put together a similar graph). Here’s what it looks like:

Defense clearly takes the biggest hit. One point made clear here, but rarely discussed, is that lower spending on interest plays a relatively significant role. Sixteen percent of the savings, or $169 billion, comes from the United States paying less interest on its presumably smaller level of debt. The savings from lower interest spending are projected to be even higher than those from Medicare, where cuts are capped at 2 percent of the program.

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