Hey Obama, Is $100 Million a Lot of Money or Not?

About a month ago, Obama administration officials like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod were storming Washington, D.C. television studios to insist that $165 million in AIG bonuses wasn't a big deal. The basis for their argument was the contention that, in the context of the federal budget and financial crisis, $165 million is a tiny amount of money that nobody should really care about (this rationale is why the Congress ultimately did nothing to stop the AIG bonuses).

Yet, last week, the same Obama administration is running back to the same Washington, D.C. media insisting that the president's demand for his cabinet officials to cut $100 million in federal spending is a very big deal:

"Only in Washington, D.C., is $100 million not a lot of money," Gibbs said. "It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans."

I'm confused. Does the Obama administration think $100 million (or $165 million) is a lot of money or doesn't it? Or are we expected to believe it's a tiny amount of money when it might embarrass the administration, but a huge amount of money when it might cast a positive light on the administration?


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