Useful data via George Will:
Barack Obama, an unbeliever genuflecting before the altar of frugality, is asking Congress, as presidents do, to give him something like a line-item veto. Coming in today's context of his unrelenting agenda of expanding government, his proposal constitutes a counterfeit promise to get serious about controlling spending and the deficit. . . .
Today, 62 percent of federal spending goes to entitlements (56) and debt service (6). Both will be growing portions of budgets, and both are immune to any vetoes. Defense and homeland security are 21 percent of the budget and will be almost entirely immune. So the line-item veto's target would be at most 17 percent of the budget.
What about earmarks? If all 9,499 of last year's had been vetoed, this would have saved $15.9 billion, or a risible 0.45 percent of spending. . . .
Last year, Obama ordered 15 department heads to find economies totaling $100 million, which was then 13 minutes (0.0029 percent) of federal spending. His new rescission proposal also is frugality theater and is similarly frivolous.