“Politicians tend to target what some people think of as waste,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of theConcord Coalition, a bipartisan research group that advocates a balanced federal budget. “The public basically has a view that the government is bloated and there's a lot of waste. The conversation always seems to go to these small programs.” . . .
“Nondefense discretionary programs are the smallest part of the budget and the least-threatening when you think of the fiscal future,” Bixby said. “Those aren't the programs that are growing faster than the economy.” . . .
Making meaningful headway on the revenue side of the deficit equation means targeting what Bixby referred to as “tax entitlements”: deductions for home mortgage interest, charitable donations and employer-provided health care.