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“Paying for what you spend is basic common sense. Perhaps that’s why, here in Washington, it’s been so elusive”

So stated Obama, new champion of fiscal responsibility, with commentary in The Economist article, Seeing Red .

But what are the numbers?

Bad as the deficit was under Mr. Bush, it will quadruple this year, from $459 billion in 2008 to $1.845 trillion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Mr. Obama vows to slash it in half within four years.

If the large numbers are hard to make sense of, try this: 1 times 4 divided by 2 = __

Of course, that’s assuming that the promised division comes through. According to The Economist :

His aides hint that he will get tough when the time is right, but he is reluctant to break campaign promises of tax cuts for all but the rich just yet.

Keep in mind that by that account, what’s “tough” is making the promised two-fold division. The not-breaking-promises part apparently isn’t even in the cards.

Perhaps common sense hasn’t yet hit Washington after all.

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