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February 22nd, 2013
05:31 PM ET

Budget cuts' upside, explained with dental tools

By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – For the past two days, we’ve reported on the problems with and scope of the forced spending cuts that are due to go into effect March 1. Today, in the final part of our series, we look  at why some politicians want the cuts to happen.

[:36] Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY says, “This is not enough cuts. So if we get rid of this, it just shows we are not as a nation serious about doing anything about our debt crisis.”

Fiscal hawks, largely conservative, and Tea Party-leaning Republicans argue that money saved by the budget cuts just scratches the surface of the U.S. budget problem.

Paul calls the $85 billion in cuts this year a “pittance”, but insists it must happen as a first step toward tougher fiscal reform. He points out that the next nine years of the forced  cuts do not reduce or cut overall government spending, but instead cut down on how fast government spending grows.

Even with the budget cuts, the Congressional Budget Office predicts the nation’s debt will reach the highest level relative to GDP since just after 1950.

[2:22] Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of presidential commission on the debt and deficit observes, “We’ve done all the easy stuff. The hard decisions lay ahead of us.”

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