Katie Couric's Notebook: Discretionary Spending

Pop quiz:  Who said, "A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you're talking about real money?"

If you guessed Senator Everett Dirksen, you're right - and wrong. According to the Dirksen Center that famous line attributed to him never passed his lips.

Yet, it's on everyone's mind as President Obama rolls out a $3.7 trillion budget.

So as they argue over education costs or clean energy initiatives both parties are doing the discretionary spending dance - which accounts for only 12 percent of the budget....and omits entitlements.

Medicare and Medicaid: $1.1 trillion of mandatory spending. Social Security: $808 billion.

Sure, they can debate whether or not $40 million dollars should go to train science teachers. Every penny counts.

But until someone has the political courage to tackle entitlement costs...it's all just a billion here...a billion there.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.



Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

On Twitter

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.