MITCHELL SCHNURMAN: Desire in D.C. for deep spending cuts is strong, and Texas is vulnerable

Bernard Weinstein, an economist and associate director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, writes about the U.S. reducing its oil imports by developing indigenous energy resources, in particular natural gas that's locked in shale formations.

By Mitchell Schnurman
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The battle between Republicans and Democrats over the debt ceiling overshadows one consensus that has emerged in Washington: Most leaders want to cut federal spending deeply, shaky recovery or not.

Absorbing those hits down the road may prove even more painful than watching the bickering federal government.

Uncle Sam has been priming the economy for a couple of decades, and states and cities have been among the biggest beneficiaries. That includes Texas, where federal spending topped $227 billion in 2009, up from almost $107 billion in 2000, according to the Census Bureau. . .

"At some point, people will want to invest again in public schools and services," said Bud Weinstein, an economist at Southern Methodist University. "Whenever federal spending has pulled back over the past 50 years, state and local government stepped in. We're looking at a tough slog for a couple of years, but people still care about education, highways and prisons."

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