People do have a great deal of trouble with scale, especially exponential scale. Developing an intuition of scale is one of the most important lessons when training in technical fields.
When talking about big spending, I like to cut every number down by a single factor that will put the numbers in a range that people deal with on a day-to-day basis. In this case, let’s cut everything down by a factor of a billion (10^9), so that a trillion (10^12) dollars becomes a thousand (10^3) dollars and a million (10^6) dollars becomes 0.001 (10^(-3)) dollars. This preserves all the ratios without giving people big-number MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over).
So, if the total 2010 budget comes to $3,500, then Obama wants credit for trimming 100 X $0.001 which comes to $0.1 which is one tenth of a dollar or one thin dime.
One dime out of $3,500 dollars.
Imagine that you go to buy a used car and the seller wants $3,500 for a clunker. You say that $3,500 is way too much and he replies that in order to compromise, he’ll take a dime off. Would you feel like the seller was taking your position seriously?
Heck, maybe Obama really light a fire under his people and increase the savings ten times over! Why that would bring us up to $1 out of $3500. Whoopee. I’m so excited I might get the vapors!
By contrast, if the total budget is $3500, then Obama is borrowing ~$1800.
The video is correct. Obama is counting on people hearing “a big pile of money taken out of a bigger pile of money.” He’s counting on them not understanding how badly he is misleading them.