Recent quotes:

Government has no room to maneuver

the US government is slowly giving up its room for fiscal maneuver. Non-defense discretionary spending made up over 60% of the federal budget in 1962. By 2017, that figure has fallen to 15%, and it’s expected to continue its decline. As that share falls, I wonder how that affects the mindset of legislators, who anticipate diminishing responsibility for allocating funds. In absolute terms, the budget they control is still enormous. But I suspect that it takes away the initiative of US politicians: they can simply let the government go on autopilot, since their predecessors have already committed most available funds. If legislators no longer have room to identify new initiatives for spending, what is there to do except find new things to ban, and then argue with the other side?