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In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama proclaimed, "Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion." It's a claim that the president makes frequently -- along with the notion that having done all that heavy lifting, Washington now needs to find a trifling extra $1.5 trillion in spending cuts or tax increases to end the nation's debt problems.

But have Washington politicians really reduced the deficit by $2.5 trillion? "They have not," answered budget guru Patrick Knudsen of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "They have put in place some...

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