I have been at pains for years now to explain to all who will listen the difference between budget and actual when it comes to government spending. Now from the New York Times (January 30th, 2012) comes the fascinating revelation that the Pentagon has slashed its budget by $259 billion. But as the Times points out, all that it has done is to slash its BUDGET!Actual spending according to the Times is scheduled to remain almost unchanged. All that the Pentagon has done is to reduce its future spending projections not its future actual spending. Add to this the equally Alice in Wonderland disclosure that the actual spending of $531 billion did not include the spending on the war of $115 billion — the latter if “off-budget!” With accounting like this, no wonder we are in a mess.