As a rule, I steer clear of the budget process in the early going because very little of what you're reading about will ever see the light of day. That's especially true this year, given the contentiousness in Congress about deep cuts. That said, the enormity of the deficit is worth understanding, and ABC's Jonathan Karl does a nice job in explaining how absurd the budget-cutting rhetoric has become. Specifically, he notes that defense and entitlements are mostly off limits during this budget cycle, which leaves only a sliver of discretionary spending that's available to trim. Basically, it's the problem that state and local governments must confront - except instead of entitlements they're dealing with sacrosanct pension and health care obligations. So far, lawmakers at all levels are responding in the same cowardly way - that is, by doing nothing. The reality, of course, is that only an epic financial crisis - one that makes the recent recession look like child's play - will lead to substantive change. Until then, it's just a lot of jawing.