WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy could take a big hit from automatic government spending cuts even if Congress only leaves them in place for a month or two. The cuts were meant to be so painful that they would force Congress to find a more thoughtful way to tighten the budget. But many analysts assume they will take effect as scheduled, forcing federal offices to furlough some of their 2.8 million workers and trim spending on everything from paper clips to missiles. It is anyone's guess, however, how long lawmakers will be able to stomach the economic pain. …
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