Apropos President Obama's insistence that his $17 billion in proposed spending cuts is "a lot of money" in the context of a $3.6 trillion federal budget, a reader points out that during the campaign Obama repeatedly suggested that John McCain's emphasis on eliminating earmarks was misplaced because they amounted to a relatively small amount of money: just $18 billion. Here he is in the third debate with McCain:
Earmarks account for 0.5 percent of the total federal budget. There's no doubt that the system needs reform and there are a lot of screwy things that we end up spending money on, and they need to be eliminated. But it's not going to solve the problem.
[Thanks to Chris Griffin for the tip.]