They have not mattered for eight years, my sweet reader. But now they do. They matter more than getting jobs for the unemployed, more than fixing health insurance, more than almost anything. And even more ominously, Obama's planned proposal to freeze some types of federal spending is seen as a way to start boiling the frog that is us:
But one administration official said that limiting the much smaller discretionary domestic budget would have larger symbolic value. That spending includes lawmakers’ earmarks for parochial projects, and only when the public believes such perceived waste is being wrung out will they be willing to consider reductions in popular entitlement programs, the official said.
“By helping to create a new atmosphere of fiscal discipline, it can actually also feed into debates over other components of the budget,” the official said, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity.
Those "other components" of the budget are Medicare and Social Security, not spending on the military.
I must say that I agree with Atrios.