Spending! FREEZE!!!!

The sequel to "Fired Up! Ready to go! Ezra Klein writes:

[T]his announcement, coming off a week when the administration pointedly refused to stand up for its health-care bill, is not the sort of thing that's going to excite the base. You can attend a lot of Democratic rallies without ever hearing the chant, "When I say 'spending,' you say 'freeze!' 'SPENDING!'"

"Punch the hippies! Punch the hippies!

Speaking for me only

< The New Post- Partisanship: Punch The Hippies | Harmful Unseriousness >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    When will Broder and Co. realize (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:34:15 AM EST
    that the "hippies" in this case are often little old ladies across the country relying on social security checks and air conditioned senior centers?

    And little old ladies who rely on (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:57:11 AM EST
    their kids' help - and when their kids are unemployed...

    More and more it becomes clear that the Obama Administration really has no clue what the role of Federal Government is in people's lives.  They've been brainwashed by the anti-big government crowd to the point where they clearly think that government is some sort of abstraction - an entity apart from the people that it is supposed to serve - hell, the people are an abstraction to them too, it seems.


    They care about the people: (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:59:08 AM EST
    all the Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, Jeffersons, Grants and Franklins.

    And Lakers. (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:35:53 AM EST
    SOTU preview (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:41:14 AM EST
    WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing voter anger over mounting budget deficits, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to freeze spending for some domestic programs for three years beginning in 2011, administration officials said Monday. Separately, Obama unveiled plans to help a middle class "under assault" pay its bills, save for retirement and care for kids and aging parents.

    The spending freeze would apply to a relatively small portion of the federal budget, affecting a $477 billion pot of money available for domestic agencies whose budgets are approved by Congress each year. Some of those agencies could get increases, others would have to face cuts; such programs got an almost 10 percent increase this year. The federal budget total was $3.5 trillion.

    The three-year plan will be part of the budget Obama will submit Feb. 1, senior administration officials said, commenting on condition of anonymity to reveal private details. They said Obama was expected to propose the freeze Wednesday night in his State of the Union address.

    The Pentagon, veterans programs, foreign aid and the Homeland Security Department would be exempt from the freeze.

    The savings would be small at first, perhaps $10 billion to $15 billion, one official said. But over the coming decade, savings would add up to $250 billion.


    Among the president's economic ideas:

    _Nearly doubling the tax credit that families making under $85,000 can receive for child care costs, with some help for families earning up to $115,000, too.

    _Capping the size of periodic federal college loan repayments at 10 percent of borrowers' discretionary income to make payments more affordable.

    _Increasing by $1.6 billion the money pumped into a federal fund to help working parents pay for child care, covering an estimated 235,000 additional children.

    _Requiring employers who don't offer 401(k) retirement plans to offer direct-deposit IRAs for their employees, with exemptions for the smallest firms.

    _Spending more than $100 million to help people care for their elderly parents and get support for themselves as well


    Obama's initiatives also include expanding and simplifying a tax credit that matches retirement savings, and making 401(k) rules easier to understand.

    On the matter of gays in the military, Obama has promised to lift the ban on gays serving openly, and several lawmakers support a repeal of the law. But some senior military advisers and members of Congress have urged the president not to shake up the status quo at a time of two wars.

    Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he had planned to convene a hearing on the issue in January, but that the Obama administration asked him to hold off until the president's national address.

    "We were told by the Pentagon that they expected the president to say something in the State of the Union on it," Levin said.

    Levin, who favors repealing the law, said he does not know what Obama will say. He said he plans to hold hearings in February and would like to hear testimony from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mike Mullen.


    Gotta love it (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:50:19 AM EST
    the same mistake FDR made in 1937.  Get ready for a double dip recession.  

    Only FDR had done a lot of things (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:53:03 AM EST
    by that time that insulated him from the serious political ramifications of screwing up.

    Yes, but Obama came into (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:56:22 AM EST
    office with his supporters convinced that on Jan. 19 2009 he was already a bigger success than FDR, so it's ok.

    But he did nothing to earn that (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:21:44 AM EST
    support and now he has refused to do anything to maintain that support.  I've no clue what they are thinking.  In political terms, this guy is turning out to be worse than Jimmy Carter.  A lot of people thought it was really cool that Obama told America that this recession was going to be hard and that it was going to take time to recover.  I winced.  It was like Jimmy Carter's put on a sweater moment.  The thing is that you can tell people something is going to be difficult when you know it is, but you can't maintain credibility with them unless you appear to be doing everything you can possibly be doing to ease their pain.  Obama has basically refused to do anything that makes people feel like he is working hard to help them.  

    If they are in search of symbolic acts, they should be looking for ways to create some jobs.  Even just a 1,000 in every state - a nominal number - would yield the appearance that they were trying to do something.  I'd like to see them actually do something substantive, but symbolic freakin cuts in governmet spending is pretty much the dumbest thing I've heard to date out of this White House.  And there has been a lot of dumb coming out of this Administration in recent months so I think that's sayin' something.


    Except I'm reading that (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:51:42 AM EST
    there are so many exceptions to this freeze that an anonymous aide (of course) says the freeze only has "symbolic" value.  Good luck with that.

    And that's a problem too (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:39:04 AM EST
    Because now the only thing that can happen is that his critics will now have a terrific time listing and investigating all the "exemptions" and if they spend money stupidly, it makes Obama look like an idiot.

    Yea, concede the rhetorical point ... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Demi Moaned on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:13:31 AM EST
    to the right wing without achieving any meaningful policy.

    Too late (none / 0) (#18)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:47:53 AM EST

    We Gave All Your Money to Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kidneystones on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:53:27 AM EST
    There's none left for you or your cruddy UI. Get a job, why don't ya!

    Exploding heads! Look-out!

    What happens when Ezra, Josh, Matt, and Markos figure out that the guy they put in office bankrupted the Dem party and the taxpayer by borrowing trillions and then handed almost all of it to fat-cat Democrats for a day.

    A lot of families are really, really hurting. It would be unforgivable if the GOP had done this.

    Time to lay the blame at the right door.

    Heard a great one from Joan Walsh the other day. Boehner warned Obama early on that 'no GOP' would support the Dems. So rather than just invite one of the minority in for a little discussion about base-closings and problems getting local projects funded, Obama simply accepted Boehner's threat and let it define his stratergy. Squeeze Dems instead. True.

    And the hits just keep on comin'... (5.00 / 7) (#14)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:25:22 AM EST
    If Obama is going to keep giving us Republican policies and Republican ideology, it's time to start responding to Obama as if he IS a Republican, and push back - hard - against all of his efforts to move this country even more to the right.  If the president who was proposing excise taxes on health benefits, and freezing domestic spending, and making noises about entitlements and creating special commissions on them were named McCain, or Romney or Huckabee, no one on the left side of the aisle would be making excuses for him or tempering their criticism, would they?  They wouldn't be telling us to give him more time, or blaming it on fate, would they?

    Hell, no.

    For those who say, "it's only been a year, give him time," I say, "It's only been a year, we don't have time."  When Obama gets his Republican Congress in November, all bets are off.

    The Fact That (none / 0) (#24)
    by The Maven on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:06:43 AM EST
    McCain has already given the spending freeze plan a giant wet kiss is extremely telling.  And the right wing will largely be bought off by the exemption given to multiple discretionary wars, plus other defense appropriations, plus expenditures for further domestic expansion of the national security state.  Indeed, this whole proposal is practically Bush/Cheney-esque in its perniciousness.

    I just watched this discussion (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:30:55 AM EST
    on CNN.  I think better choices can be made on our spending, better choices than turning millions over to huge food corporations to stock food banks. The economic multiplier there is really pathetic.  It's almost as if nobody even tried, they just threw huge chunks of money at something that sounded good.  We spent $100,000,000 and it created 195 jobs?  A spending freeze on discretionary spending does not give me warm fuzzies though because in this economy the government is the primary purchaser at this time and we have no choice on that, that is the fact of this life at this time.  Freezing spending isn't smarter than just throwing truckloads of money at problems hoping they'll go away, it is just a different dumb!  This is what happens though when all you can do is try to save Wall Street with what they did to everyone, nobody could even focus on smart solutions for the little people....and now the Fed is running dry.

    And on a different vein (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:36:05 AM EST
    I had to watch Carville and Rollins talk about how the internal D.C. narrative is always wrong, but unfortunately Obama bought what was sold to him and now he's probably coming to grips with the fact that following that narrative will only lead to a really P.O.ed country.  They kept talking about how Obama needs to change his narrative, and such talk at this point of crisis really ticks me off.  We need solutions now.  Things are so broken we really need to move beyond talking about narratives you idiots.  Fix things for the American people so they can at least live and then write all the narratives you want!

    Bob Herbert today's NYT column (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by noholib on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:36:59 AM EST
    Bob Herbert's "Obama's Credibility Gap" makes for such incredibly painful reading.  It's all worth reading.  It ends:
    "Mr. Obama will deliver his State of the Union address Wednesday night ... But more important than the content of this speech will be whether the president really means what he says.  Americans want to know what he stands for, where his line in the sand is, what he'll really fight for, and where he wants to lead this nation.
    They want to know who their president is."

    A compelling individual story and fine words, but all over the map ideologically and a deep-seated desire to please all at all costs; a prizing of centrism and illusory bipartisanship instead of allegiance to long-held Democratic values -- all this was evident to many of us during the primary. Others are now waking up and smelling the roses!  Pass the smelling salts ... I am incredibly dispirited to see Republican policies and Republican "narratives" coming from a Democratic president who has been cloaked in a mantle of "progressivism."

    I wish (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:42:33 AM EST
    Herbert would have been this aware in 2008.  

    Yes, he should have judged Obama (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:22:26 AM EST
    by the content of his character.

    Let's remember his toxic antagonism (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by rennies on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 04:44:55 PM EST
    to Hillary.

    we remember (none / 0) (#40)
    by noholib on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:42:03 PM EST
    Of course many of us here remember how differently  Herbert wrote in 2008. Yes, he was VERY excited about Obama.  For him to ask the questions he's asking now shows the extent of his disillusionment and disappointment -- and concern for the real economic hardships that many are experiencing.

    By the way, I don't forget who were viciously anti-Hillary; I still won't watch MSNBC or even look at DK.)


    I do not remember Herbert alerting (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:48:23 AM EST
    us to this assessment of candidate Obama.  

    Again (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:35:56 PM EST
    I can't believe he's doing this when he has Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

    Assumes facts not in evidence: That Democrats and Obama actually want good policies that help average Americans.

    They want policies that help their puppetmasters. In this regard they have been extremely successful and gotten everything they wanted.

    Like lambert keeps telling us, it's not incompetence or weakness. When it comes to sending roses and chocolates to the military-industrial-corporate elite and shoving the rest of us into the sewere, they have been both competent and strong.

    Not to worry. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:55:00 AM EST
    He does not have to will power to actually force the democrat congress to go through with the freeze.  Imagine telling waxman and pelosi to stop spending money when there is a huge pile just inches from their hands.  

    Double disappointed, appalled (none / 0) (#10)
    by Coral on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:57:51 AM EST
    actually. I can't believe he's doing this when he has Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

    I'm really shocked. What are he and his people thinking?

    And last winter I thought he was off to a good, albeit timid, start.

    But you're right. He was timid then. (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:00:00 AM EST
    Now he's more confident about acting on his core beliefs.

    Goodness, what's the problem? (none / 0) (#13)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:00:19 AM EST
    To quote Cheney:  "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."

    When you're fighting unnecessary wars, that is!

    More fun stuff! (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:11:36 AM EST
    Obama plans to outsource NASA!

    h/t lambert at Corrente

    The White House has decided to begin funding private companies to carry NASA astronauts into space, but the proposal faces major political and budget hurdles, according to people familiar with the matter.  

    The controversial proposal, expected to be included in the Obama administration's next budget, would open a new chapter in the U.S. space program. The goal is to set up a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar initiative allowing private firms, including some start-ups, to compete to build and operate spacecraft capable of ferrying U.S. astronauts into orbit--and eventually deeper into the solar system.

    Congress is likely to challenge the concept's safety and may balk at shifting dollars from existing National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs already hurting for funding to the new initiative. The White House's ultimate commitment to the initiative is murky, according to these people, because the budget isn't expected to outline a clear, long-term funding plan.

    The White House's NASA budget also envisions stepped-up support for climate-monitoring and environmental projects, along with enhanced international cooperation across both manned and unmanned programs.

    Oh, that explains NPR piece on (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:44:39 AM EST
    museums deciding what NASA stuff they would like to acquire.  Meanwhile, people at NASA are still using the stuff.  And one of the museum persons sd. they really wanted to get some orange foam.

    Krugman Responds (none / 0) (#20)
    by Dan the Man on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:42:21 AM EST

       "Andrew Leonard asks when I'm going to "blow my top" over Obama's statement that now is the time to "get serious" about reducing debt. Um, never?"
       "Look, it has been obvious since the primary, if you were paying attention, that Obama -- who has many excellent qualities -- has an unfortunate tendency to echo "centrist" conventional wisdom, even when that CW is demonstrably wrong."
       "And right now, deficit-phobia has quickly congealed into the latest CW."
       "And Obama, being who he is, apparently feels compelled to give at least rhetorical obeisance to the CW. We can only hope that his economists, who know better, can convince him not to act on it."

    Oops.  Wrong date.

    Yet another done deaf reaction by this (none / 0) (#21)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:43:27 AM EST

    What the heck?  

    We can argue over whether government spending helps the economy but this is trying to have it both ways.

    He sold us on the stimulus, right said waste of money, left said not enough and it hasn't worked (yet).  So if you bought his original argument then this is what?  An admittance of wrongdoing? Giving up?    

    He's going to freeze some spending but not enough to really do what the right wants and too much do do what the left wants.

    This is pure political gimmicktry that will upset his base and make the opposition laugh out loud.

    There's still (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:52:20 AM EST
    a base?

    Check out the comments on the New York Times article.  I've never seen such rage.


    It's just shocking really (none / 0) (#23)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:58:06 AM EST
    It's as if president Bush had all of the sudden half way through the Iraq war said we need to withdraw troops but we still need to win but we need to not be in Iraq etc.. etc..

    It's just so blatently political and lacks any kind of coherency.  

    So now how does he transition to health care?  Nobody really believes it will reduce gov't spending.  Is he now going to pretend that it does and push through something while admitting that the government spends too much money?

    And how are we to take him seriously when he's dumping millions into the middle east?   Why not reduce our bloated military budget?  

    ON and on such a total lack of credibility.

    He must think "HE" still had the ear of the American public.


    So, (none / 0) (#31)
    by Emma on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:46:57 AM EST
    is this Obama being a brilliant politician and reinventing himself?

    Is the "wake-up call" the WH received (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:49:11 AM EST
    from Scott Brown's election that the federal deficit is "the problem"?

    I checked, and Brown actually did (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:39:48 PM EST
    speak a lot about the deficit.  Seems to have resonated.  So this is the Dems looking good in response -- although really doing very little to reduce the deficit, of course.  Good politics, bad economics.

    sewere = sewer ACK (none / 0) (#37)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:36:33 PM EST