last para of today's times article on the long-overdue minimum wage increase (!!!):
"The White House had opposed many of the domestic spending provisions, which totaled $22 billion. Republicans managed to remove some of them shortly before the bill reached the floor, including $660 million to stockpile medicine for a flu pandemic and $400 million for energy assistance for low-income families."
i totally love it when we take comparatively small amounts of money away from real problems so that we can (a) keep pretending we're fiscally conservative and (b) stuff it down other, more swiftly flowing cash drains.
just for instance, total congressional appropriations for the iraq war as of november: $300 billion. the same CFR article places the possible total cost (that's direct costs, not economic fallout, btw) at something closer to a trillion dollars over the long run.