Economics

What Should We Cut First?

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With the federal budget due out in a couple of days, President Barack Obama is delivering a prime-time speech about budget and economic issues tonight, with the goal of explaining "how he thinks all the economic pieces are entwined," says USA Today.

Early reports are not particularly impressive. Pointing to a deficit that is likely to run well north of $2 trillion this year, here's presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs:

"The biggest thing we're going to do is cut the amount of money we spend each year in Iraq."

That's good news, given that Iraq was a mistake on every level from the beginning, back when Vice President Joe Biden and everyone else in Obama's cabinet who was in office at the time was voting in favor of it. Assuming an immediate 100 percent cut, however, that saves somewhere between $100 billion and $200 billion annually, depending on how you count present and future costs. And you gotta wonder how much ramping up in Afghanistan will cost.

In any case, expect more and bigger spending plans. Here's Obama adviser David Axelrod:

"I think the bigger concern," he said, "is to not be aggressive at a time when a tepid approach could really consign us to a long-term economic catastrophe. We believe the times demand vigor and aggressive action, and so we're having to do a lot of things at once."

When I hear the word vigor, I reach for my wallet.

Too late, it's already gone!

More on the president's speech and plans for yours, mine, and our money.