Obama's choice to keep Gate's as Secretary for Defense is a disappointment. The defense establishment, after all, is the first place we need change. With the economy in free-fall (and in my opionion, poised to get much worse), the first thing the U.S. should do is to cut out the roughly trillion dollars a years that we throw away on defense and related areas. If Russia can survive in a much more hostile geopolitical niche on roughly 40 billion dollars (2008 projection) in annual defense expenditures, the U.S., situated in a much safer neck of the woods, should be able to survive on much less, perhaps 3-4% of our current budget. A trillion dollars more per year suddenly added to our budget like magic without a single new dollar in taxes would change the economic outlook dramatically. Current military personnel couldn't all be fired, but they could be brought back to the U.S. and retrained for positions in key emerging industries. For example, our burgeoning cadre of torturers could be put to work waterboarding billionaires and CEOs to find out where they stashed all the loot.