US President Barack Obama's budget is 244 pages long but it is one paragraph on page 46 that has earned him praise from the Republicans. On first reading, it seems like a simple accounting change. The president plans to switch the way social security benefits are indexed for inflation - from the standard Consumer Price Index to what is called the chained CPI. But in fact the action has enormous significance, not just to the millions of poor and elderly who may find themselves unable to keep up with the cost of living in the future, but to the whole debate over budgets in Washington. Finally President Obama has officially accepted a long held goal of the right and made social security just another bargaining chip in negotiations. In total, the budget proposes cuts of more than $1 trillion from government programmes. But there was some comfort for the base - the president wants nearly $250m in spending on jobs, public works and an expansion in pre-school education. He has also proposed $800bn in new taxes.