McCain Backs Obama Spending Freeze, Opposes New Stimulus


Sen. John McCain will support President Obama's plan to freeze much of the federal budget for the next three years, but said the president must also promise to veto any bills that are stuffed with pork barrel spending items. [. . . However,] McCain said a freeze wasn't enough and that Obama should resist a $90 billion jobs stimulus bill that is making its way through Congress.

(Emphasis supplied.)This was predictable. And, let's face it, McCain's position is the more coherent. If you believe in a "spending freeze," what's the logic for spending more money for jobs? Good work, Obama political shop.

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    So... this White House is approaching (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by tigercourse on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:50:32 AM EST
    criminally incompetent at this point.

    I always thought Obama would be a bad President. I honestly didn't think he would be this bad, this fast.

    He had all the signs of being (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:51:35 AM EST
    a terrible CEO. I think he would have been a good SoS and a good Senator.

    He's totally competent (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by lambert on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:24:37 AM EST
    And doing a great job for his owners.

    You're assuming that Versailles is responsive to the electorate on policy. It isn't.


    Yes, but per Salo, he's (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:57:49 AM EST
    supposed to keep down public unrest as well.

    That is a job.... (none / 0) (#52)
    by lambert on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:20:15 AM EST
    ... for the coming Republican administration.

    If GOP President had been in office (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Salo on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:45:52 AM EST
    with official unemployment at 10+ %  there would have been riots and mass civil disturbances.  

    Obama personally keeps the lid on that without needing the Police state to lift a finger.

    It's genius.


    Considering how Obama is betraying the (none / 0) (#61)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:59:23 PM EST
    working class minority communities who are suffering the most in this economy, perhaps it's true that Clinton really was "the first black president." While Obama is not only a Republican pretending to be a Democrat, he's also the first white president able to intentionally pass for black.

    Obama's Incompetence Is Stunning (none / 0) (#80)
    by norris morris on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:15:52 PM EST
    It's hard to believe this kind of political stupidity exists in our White House. But it does.

    No matter what messages Plouffe,Axelrod,Jarrett have put out they all contradict each other but manage to do one thing.  Confuse everyone with false and unclear statements.

    Back to Obama's freeze.  This kind of stupidity is frightening and I believe he is totally clueless and/or totally frightened and in paralysis.

    Plouffe is not a policy maker and Obama bringing him forefront buys into the idea that Obama feels his great popularity will ride out anything especially if Plouffe does a big PR hype ala campaign.

    If the freeze is Obama's idea of policy then I believe he will become a cipher.


    Starbucks (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:53:00 AM EST
    Revenue way down.  Movie Theaters revenue up.

    So instead of having a Triple Hazelnut Sugar Free Venti Soy Iced No Foam Stirred Latte on a daily basis, people are going to the movies every couple of weeks (some who have not gone in more than 2 years).

    So you can cut your budget and add stimulus simultaneously.  

    Movie theatres boomed during the (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:58:35 AM EST
    Great Depression... cheaper than a hotel, and heated. Dear me, why is this happening again?

    And (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:00:46 AM EST
    can spend family time there instead of drinking overpriced coffee.

    and the escape from reality ta boot. (none / 0) (#12)
    by nycstray on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:04:52 AM EST
    How do book sales do during tough times? Or libraries for that matter?

    I know that libraries are doing more (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by tigercourse on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:10:05 AM EST
    business now.

    Libraries have been booming for the past couple of (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by DFLer on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:50:40 AM EST
    years....sometimes providing the only internet link for people looking for work, plus all media lendings.

    I will check book sales later (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:23:16 AM EST
    but thought you might enjoy this:

    It is a story from last January on the traffic increase for libraries in the boston area.  



    Movies Were The Depression's Drug (none / 0) (#81)
    by norris morris on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:22:20 PM EST
    Movies are a place where one can hide in a safe place for not too much money and find distraction from the stress of just plain trying to live.

    Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were wildly popular during the 30's and 40's as there was nothing more diverting and uplifting than watching them waltz through Rio and beyond.

    We hid in a nice dark place that offered some joy and gave us some relief from our struggles in unbearable times.

    I remember it well and this surge in movie atendance will continue as long as so many of us are unemployed, distracted, and stressed out.


    Heh (none / 0) (#29)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:59:28 AM EST
    Yes I saw that (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:10:54 AM EST
    But don't you think that it is relevant to show the whole picture then?

    Starbucks' profit drops 97% in the fourth quarter
    Starbucks says profit fell to $5.4 million, or a penny a share, from $158.5 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts expected profit of 13 cents per share and revenue of $2.58 billion. Actual fourth quarter revenue was $2.52 billion. November 2008

    Starbucks closed 600 stores and were competing against dog numbers from 2008.


    19% (none / 0) (#36)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:17:19 AM EST
    Wile.  So they were down 10% y/y last year q4.  And this year they are up 4% y/y.  

    Stateside they had a 1% increase Y/Y.

    Internationally they went up almost 20%.  

    That said, I would bet that their q1-2010 beats last year by 10-12%.  I wonder why that is????


    Um (none / 0) (#40)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:27:44 AM EST
    restructuring? Obama Checks?

    perhaps you should not invest (none / 0) (#41)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:32:14 AM EST
    at least on your own...



    meet in the middle (none / 0) (#48)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:12:19 AM EST
    Let's have a spending freeze on Medicare and Medicaid.  No rate increases from any of the vendors.  Being that the two together count for nearly 50% of the overall budget, and in light of the argument on HCR cost, shouldn't we stop paying increases for something that we know we are paying too much for?

    Sounds good (none / 0) (#56)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:04:19 PM EST
    More than 50% of the budget? Really? (none / 0) (#72)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:18:14 PM EST
    A fascinating stat, at the same time that in another thread, we're told that defense spending is more than 50% of the federal budget.  As that adds up to more than the federal budget, I looked it up and found that Medicaid is about 7% of the budget.  I couldn't find the Medicare share, but are you really suggesting that it alone is more than 43% of the budget?  If so, please cite link.  Thanks.

    Defense spending (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:20:17 PM EST
    is more than 50% of discretionary spending. (It is about 44.5% of the total budget).

    Yes, as noted in my comment (none / 0) (#74)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:27:22 PM EST
    so thanks for the affirmation.  But thus, I still await JLivingston's explanation of his comment -- the sort of thing that I fear that we are going to have to see, and challenge, a lot in coming days about what both Obama and Republicans call "entitlements."  

    Here's a pie chart of where tax $ went in '09 (none / 0) (#77)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:18:29 PM EST
    did i say 50%?" (none / 0) (#79)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:21:23 PM EST
    wow, i must have lumped ss into that number, sorry about that. As mistakes go, that is a big one.  I should have said nearly a third.  nearly a third to ss and a gajillion to defense.

    Either way, i would love to see medicaid and medicare rates frozen for customers and pricing capped for 5 years on drugs and any medical care under medicare. Hospitals have been crying poor
    for years over medicaid so I don't guess much can happen there.  So let's just freeze medicare price increases for 5 years.  How much would that save?

    Again, sorry for being so lazy in my post....


    Krugman wakes up and weighs in (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:55:26 AM EST
    "pure disaster"

    I love this (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:09:56 AM EST
    line from Jonathan Zasloff that Krugman quoted :

    Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with "the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon"
    [Hoover's treasury secretary]


    LOL, not just the man, but the rotting corpse of the man.  At this point, I'm pretty sure that Obama WANTS to destroy the Democratic party.


    That quote (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Zorba on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:53:20 AM EST
    about the "rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon"- best quote of the year.

    I am close to concluding the Dem Party ought (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:05:24 AM EST
    to be destroyed & replaced by a a party that offers real alternatives to the failed economic and military policies of the GOP.

    Maybe when Specter felt comfortable enough to call himself a Democrat, maybe then we should have known.


    I have read (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:20:44 AM EST
    some pretty dumb things supposedly from the perspective of the Obama administration this weekend (here).  But a spending freeze...that is the most cliched BS ever.  Obama can't come up with and then defend an actual proposal that would work?  That's just not done??

    Oh and how about this:

    A poll conducted on behalf of the AFL-CIO found that 49% of Massachusetts union households supported Mr. Brown in Tuesday's voting, while 46% supported Democrat Martha Coakley. The poll conducted by Hart Research Associates surveyed 810 voters.


    It's almost as if (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Zorba on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:56:01 AM EST
    he wants to put the Republicans back in power this year, and lose the presidency in 2012.  He's acting like a mole for the Republican Party.

    Public will applaud O's gutting of SS, MCs (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:24:28 AM EST

    O is setting up the public to not only accept but outright applaud the gutting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid...as we know them.

    If the opportunity to sign legislation doing the above happens on O's watch, most of those traveling the dark journey with us will greet the gutting with a rousing round of applause for his genius and

    Can you imagine being a Republican (5.00 / 13) (#22)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:30:14 AM EST
    and realizing that the only thing better than having a Republican president is having a Democratic president who is carrying out your agenda, entrenching your policies and condoning all the illegal stuff the last Republican president did?

    And, if you are a Republican, not only do you get to see your crappy policies implemented, but when things go to hell in a handbasket, you get to blame it on the Democrats, and ensure that you will quickly and easily regain the majority and the presidency!  

    Now, that's some 11-dimensional chess for you...

    At a time when unemployment is high, people have been forced out of their homes, health care is more expensive than ever, jobs are few and far between, it escapes me how cutting domestic spending when people need it the most makes any sense at all.

    What a ^&%$#*!!&% disaster.

    you said it... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Nathan In Nola on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:50:23 AM EST
    couldn't agree more.

    clapping all around (none / 0) (#34)
    by jeffhas on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:11:15 AM EST
    This is why I think Obama may still win 2012: (none / 0) (#78)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 06:56:23 PM EST
    The only thing better than having a Republican president is having a Democratic president who is carrying out your agenda, entrenching your policies and condoning all the illegal stuff the last Republican president did.

    Obama is the perfect stooge: a reactionary hidden in plain view; a beneficiary of reverse profiling, to a point where many people simply can't believe their own ears and eyes. But, but...he's a Democrat and he's black and he's cool and he's young and he lived abroad as a child and he understands Islam and he used to hang out with leftist radicals from the Weather Underground - so he couldn't possibly be presiding over Bush's 3rd term.

    The public may eventually pull the wool from their eyes but the corporate benefactors who brought Obama to power in '08 are still perfectly capable of keeping him there for another term to more thoroughly destroy the Democratic brand.


    Wall Street Appluading (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by SOS on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:35:53 AM EST
    Dow      10,231.25      +34.39      +0.34%

    Now just shovel that Social Security into our jaws and paws so we can feed our gambling addiction.

    The country is not mad about (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:46:32 AM EST
    spending, it is mad about spending that only goes to save the next round of Wall Street bonuses.  They are angry about bailouts that are now only producing more credit default swaps.  Trying to appear successful on Republican talking points will not get Obama any place longterm beneficial for himself or other Democrats and a "freezing" spending narrative only sets Obama up for failure.....he is setting himself up for failure again.  Do yourself a damned favor Obama, grab a plank off the Democratic platform and get successful with it today and stop punching yourself in the face.

    If Clinton is as ruthless as people think she (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:05:40 AM EST
    is, she should start preparing to resign, on principle, from this fool's administration right now and get ready to lead a real opposition in 2012 (obviously the Republican candidate is not going to provide any real opposition.)

    Whether she runs or not, she and her husband are going to end up damaged by any association with the disaster Obama is preparing for his party and for us all.

    She will not run against... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by trillian on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:33:10 AM EST
    ....a sitting Dem president. She is too much a party loyalist......but she told Tavis Smiley that she would only serve one term at State.

    On a side note.....I think many see the writing on the wall.  I have a suspicion that Biden told his son to keep his powder dry.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:35:14 AM EST
    I was really just indulging in wishful thinking.

    I'd like to believe there was some way out of the catastrophe Obama in preparing for us. But, most likely there isn't.


    The Clintons (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Emma on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:00:29 AM EST
    are politically irrelevant as they are out of power.  HRC serves in the Obama administration and Bill is running his own thing.  "Damage" to them a) is not going to happen and b) would be totally irrelevant in american politics even if it did.

    Whatever one thinks about HRC, and I like her a lot for a number of reasons, I see no reason to believe that she's going to be the knight on a white horse who saves us all from the venality and arrogance of this administration.

    IMO:  Stop hoping for it.  Stop thinking about it.  Stop hypothesizing about.  Do something else more useful.  Hell, at this point even just picking up a sign and marching around in the town square is more useful than playing the "Hillary as savior" card.


    Her policies would be the same (none / 0) (#32)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:09:28 AM EST
    so she might be more effective at "fighting" for what are essentially DLC, at times GOP, initiatives.

    Big whoop.


    Oh come on. Obama is giving away (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by observed on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:12:01 AM EST
    the store without a fight.
    There's more than a dime's worth of difference between Obama and a Democrat.

    Which "Democrat?" (none / 0) (#38)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:24:41 AM EST
    The Clinton's may not be Lefties (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:33:59 AM EST
    but they are not fools. Clinton raised taxes when they needed to be raised and pursued, generally with little fanfare or recognition in the media, economic policies that were genuinely useful to the constituencies Democrats claim to represent. The upshot was a huge upsurge in small business and job creation (separate from the high tech boom) and the first increase in wages, most especially at the low end, American workers experienced in 3 decades. Plus, a genuine reduction in the deficit that he hoped would allow room to secure and expand important entitlement programs into the future.

    There's a lot to criticize about Clinton and if that was germane to this discussion I could spend hours doing so. As a Southerner, he wasn't as attuned to Labor as someone like me would have liked, but, he did "understand the pain" of America's striving lower middle and unorganized working class. His record on Civil Liberties is a disgrace (in my view).

    The real differnce between him and Obama isn't that both are too conservative. The difference is that Clinton shared and responded to the concerns, and worked to find ways to improve the conditions, of the people who put him into office.

    That, apparently, is the last thing Obama wants to do.


    I'm having a hard time imagining that (5.00 / 10) (#46)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:51:12 AM EST
    the woman who has a long history and record of standing up for those most in need of services, who has not just paid lip service to the disadvantaged, would now be proposing a domestic spending freeze if she were President.

    I don't disagree that Hillary could triangulate with the best of them, but the difference - as I see it - is that her end game was much more in line with traditional Democratic support of those with the least power.

    After months of the American people losing their jobs, and their homes, enduring unpaid furloughs, cutbacks in hours, working several part-time jobs to cobble together an income, of rising health care costs - and at the same time watching the Wall Street Fat Cats making out like the bandits they are, without so much as an eye-twitch from Obama, this is about as politically - and economically - stupid an idea as I have heard this week...but it's only Tuesday.  

    In no way can I imagine Hillary exhibiting such an immense disregard for the sacrifices people are already making, an inherent disrespect for those who have the least, and a disturbing lack of core Democratic principles.


    It's time for a divider (none / 0) (#68)
    by kidneystones on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 02:47:04 PM EST
    Always is. Politics is practiced differently in the US, I suppose. Most places I know, voters appreciate a sharp distinction between parties on policy.

    It's a mistake to overstate the abilities of the Clintons, but given the over-the-top nonsense about what a one-term Senator was going to accomplish after Bush/Cheney, there's no immediate danger of overselling attributes, I mean compared to the super-human transformational abilities of the ONE.


    STOP THE PRESSES!!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 02:28:46 PM EST
    Never fear, my brethren and sistren - all this hoopla is for naught!  You are all getting crazy for nothing and your criticisms "will be muted" once Obama reveals the details of his plans to you:

    A White House official said Tuesday that liberal critics of President Barack Obama's proposed discretionary spending freeze will be "muted" once they are fully rolled out.

    Rob Nabors, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), emphasized to reporters that the spending freeze will not affect all agencies and that the White House is still committing to accomplishing its goals.

    "The liberal crtiics will be somehwat muted when they see the details of what we are proposing," he said on a conference call with reporters. "People are all afraid that their favorite program is getting gutted."

    The administration's announcement Tuesday that it will take on the $1.4 trillion deficit by freezing discretionary spending has already earned criticism from both liberals and conservatives, but has been praised by centrist Democrats who are concerned about the ballooning deficit.

    The administation will unveil the new budget next week, Nabors said.

    Liberals, along with many House Democrats, are concerned that a spending freeze will hamper the government's ability to stimulate the economy that is still stuck in a recession.

    "It is a top line freeze, it is not a freeze on every agency," Nabors countered.

    But Nabors admitted that the freeze and cuts will likely "lengthen the amount of time" it will take for Obama to accomplish his domestic agenda.

    "We were looking to accomplish things in four or five years that will perhaps take us six or seven years now," he said.

    Six or seven years? (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 02:52:17 PM EST
    Feel the arrogance!

    (lift that chin!)


    I thought (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by kmblue on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 02:52:53 PM EST
    he wanted to be a good one term President!

    Mortimer B. Zuckerman (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 04:53:01 PM EST
    "In the Clinton administration, the policy people were at the center, and the political people were on the sideline. In the Obama administration, the political people are at the center, and the policy people are on the sidelines."

    He should have jammed a stimulus plan into Congress and said, "This is it. No changes. Don't give me that bulls$it. We have a national emergency." Instead they turned it over to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who can run circles around him.

     Let me tell you what a major leader said to me recently. "We are convinced," he said, "that he is not strong enough to confront his enemy. We are concerned," he said "that he is not strong to support his friends."

    I realize it isn't 2008 (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:43:27 AM EST
    But this is just fun for comparison:

    Barack Obama flatly rejected an across-the-board spending freeze when John McCain advanced the idea during the last debate of 2008 held at Long Island's Hofstra University.

    Times have changed -- the October debate came in the midst of the financial crisis -- but Obama rejected the idea, which he now sees as a first step to fiscal discipline, as a fiscal "hatchet."

    MCCAIN: OK, what -- what would I cut? I would have, first of all, across-the-board spending freeze, OK? Some people say that's a hatchet. That's a hatchet, and then I would get out a scalpel, OK?

    Because we've got -- we have presided over the largest increase -- we've got to have a new direction for this country. We have presided over the largest increase in government since the Great Society.

    Government spending has gone completely out of control; $10 trillion dollar debt we're giving to our kids, a half-a-trillion dollars we owe China. [snip]

    OBAMA: Well, look, I think that we do have a disagreement about an across-the-board spending freeze. It sounds good. It's proposed periodically. It doesn't happen.

    And, in fact, an across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet, and we do need a scalpel, because there are some programs that don't work at all. There are some programs that are underfunded. And I want to make sure that we are focused on those programs that work.

    Obama said scalpel... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:01:49 AM EST
    McCain said hatchet...that means we probably need a spending cut guillotine.

    DEA...good bye.  Corporate welfare/future bailouts....no mas.  CIA...you have a budget now. Occupations...too expensive.

    Put me in charge, I'll get us in the black (with a nest egg and taxcuts) in no time...its easy if you ain't got cronies to carry.  


    There are three things that have us in trouble (none / 0) (#58)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:25:39 PM EST
    A) Military
    B) Social Security
    C) Medicare/Medicaid

    That's it.  The rest is window dressing.

    We need to cut all three.  The age for SS should be raised.  The cost of Medicare/Medicaid must be raised for the receiver and the benifits cut.  The military complex must be cut and troops must be withdrawn from Germany/Korea at a minimum and Afghanistan at a maximum.

    If this president was serious about our deficit this is what he would say tomorrow night.

    He's not so he won't.

    You can't do what Bush did and only go after SS while raising military spending.  You can't do what democrats want to do and only attack our serurity/military spending.

    You have to takle all three equally.

    This spending spree is a gimmick.  It solves nothing.

    Our problems are our commitments are larger then our economy can support.  They need to be cut.


    You forgot (none / 0) (#59)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:30:07 PM EST
    Defense, which is discretionary spending, as opposed to the the three you mentioned, which are mandated by law.

    Good point (none / 0) (#62)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:59:48 PM EST
    What I'm really referring to is the fact that those three items account for around 62% of our government spending according to this chart.

    Point being is no serious fiscal discussion in terms of our deficit can start or end without discussing these three issues.

    As a republican I grow tired of the vitriol used by my side against those who suggest cuts in military/security spending.  

    I grow equally tired of the vitriol used against those who suggest we cannot afford our entitlement programs.

    We spend too much on everything and it is past time that all federal spending is put on the table and all federal spending is cut.

    We no longer can pretend that our economy can support the amount of federal spending and commitments our politicians have committed us too.

    The selfishness on both sides is awe hypocritical and the reason we are in this mess.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 01:07:38 PM EST
    But with regards to defense spending being discretionary - it is over 50% of our discretionary spending, which means less than half can be spent on everything else combined.

    Glenn Greenwald makes the point that for decades we've all agreed spending needs to be cut.  The problem is we disagree on what should be cut, but lo and behold, military spending is never on the table and is never touched (except to increase it - even when we expect other equally, if not more, important programs to take a back seat).

    Maybe if one side would compromise on this issue occasionally, it would be a little easier to work through.


    I'm in agreement (none / 0) (#64)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 01:21:33 PM EST
    Our military/industrial complex is simply out of control.

    It needs to be cut.

    Also our social security and medicare programs are insolvent.  They grow as a percentage of our federal budget every year.  

    In a few dacades there will be no money left for anything else when you include the interest we pay on debt.

    We must cut spending everywhere and raise taxes.

    Arguing for only one is partisan foolishness.


    I'll never see it (none / 0) (#65)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 02:11:12 PM EST
    I won't live long enough to see a president take on defense spending! (Not in the environment that exists in DC now). Between the budgeted amount and the subsidies, it the cash cow for pork that just keeps on giving.

    There should be a mechanism set that in time of war, a war tax is automatic.


    Please separate Social Security from Medicare (none / 0) (#84)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:28:58 AM EST
    in your comments about "solvency" There are vast differences between these two programs. SSI IS NOT insolvent currently, nor will it be in the near and semi-distant future.

    The main trouble is that (none / 0) (#60)
    by Salo on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:55:19 PM EST
    insurance corps and perhaps even hospitals are fleecing people to fix them up so that they are able to make useful things.

    That's the basic failure of the American model.


    If there is anyone who should know a stunt (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:46:25 AM EST
    when he sees one, it is John McCain. Of course he is going to jump on it and call the bluff.

    I'll add... (none / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:50:18 AM EST
    This is a case study in why the Dems should not go along with even a smidgen of the Republican narrative frame. Dems will never get whatever credit they hope to get for it. Never. there will always be a Rep standing by to say 'well, if you're doing that, you really should be doing this too'.

    You're assuming the legacy parties... (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by lambert on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:23:45 AM EST
    .... are actually opposed to each other. In fact, they are part of a single, self-reproducing system. Which should not surprise anyone, since they are owned by the same persons (as Citizens United -- love the name -- makes explicit).

    That is undeniable (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:13:38 AM EST
    But if they are going to continue the charade, they should take my advice on how to be more convincing.

    When I first heard (none / 0) (#3)
    by Lil on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 08:47:08 AM EST
    about the "freeze", my first thought was I guess there won't be any stimulus bill then. So it really comes off as disegenuous. or a contradition or something.

    Expect an Bump in Probama (none / 0) (#15)
    by kidneystones on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:11:36 AM EST
    Commentary from the Ellie Lights here and elsewhere.

    Plouffe is using their email lists to try to get the bunker-dwellers together to watch the Wed night and be heartened.

    First year was for getting the hang of things and for cleaning up after Bush. No wonder folks are still mad...at Bush.

    When Dems lose seats or governorships it isn't because voters are mad at Dems or, heaven forbid, you know who, it's because they're angry at Bush.

    So they throw the Dem out. By the way, did I mention I want to be a good one-term president. I'd rather not be elected. That's why I got into politics. Did I mention I won the Nobel. True. And Chicago would have gotten Olympics if only..

    Old times.

    "May I speak to Representative Coakley?" (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by lambert on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 09:25:47 AM EST
    That's how I started my call to my rep. Maybe put a little fear into them, who knows...

    Ellie Light (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 12:11:45 PM EST
    Lives in California and says her name is Barbara Brooks

    Ellie Light, the ubiquitous letter writer arousing blogosphere suspicions that she is a White House operative spreading the gospel of Barack Obama, is actually a registered nurse. She lives in a California community near Bakersfield.

    And her real name is Barbara Brooks. Or so she told The Plain Dealer today after a series of phone interviews, e-mails and records checks involving Brooks/Light, a family member, licensing records and property information.

    The 51-year-old woman provided her address on Monday night to The Plain Dealer, and what she says is her real name in conversations today that followed checks of public records.

    This followed The Plain Dealer's publication on cleveland.com Thursday that a woman using the name Ellie Light was duping newspapers nationwide by giving them "local" addresses in letters to the editor that she penned defending President Obama's progress in advancing the Democratic agenda. Many newspapers will not publish letters unless they are from local readers.

    News of Light's tactics left multiple newspapers embarrassed, with some apologizing to their readers. But it also triggered suspicions in the blogosphere that Ellie Light might not even be real, and that the letter-writing campaign was a duplicitous spin strategy from the Obama White House or the Democratic Party.


    She focused mostly on smaller papers, she said, although she succeeded in reaching larger ones, too, including USA Today and the San Francisco Examiner.

    "That was by design," she said of her small-newspaper strategy, "because I want to address people who never talk to a liberal. By design, I talk to smaller presses, hoping to get a dialogue going with some of the editors and some of the readers."

    A proud Democrat, she said that "I want to deliberately talk to the enemy" and "people deep, deep in the red states."

    I know it won't happen... (none / 0) (#37)
    by magster on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:21:33 AM EST
    ... but a progressive like Howard Dean (or just maybe Howard Dean) needs to announce now an intent to run in 2012 and tap into the Democratic base dissilusionment, get some poll numbers that scares Obama straight, and maybe salvage the rest of this presidency.

    No just poll numbers, CASH (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:26:45 AM EST
    I'd donate to Dean in a heartbeat.  Hell, even Kucinich just to show Obama in terms he can understand how disgusted I am as a progressive.

    A political "move your money" movement.


    No Chance of Winning. Black Voters would (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Dan the Man on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:34:15 AM EST
    overwhelmingly vote for Obama.  Besides, who really wants to be called racist over and over again just for opposing Obama?

    Caught between the consequences of harmful (5.00 / 6) (#50)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:16:22 AM EST
    policies and loyalty to the first African American President, I think many disillusioned African American voters will stay home. Which would not be at all a good thing for Obama.

    The fact is, minorities are suffering more than others -- unemployment in the black community is at or reaching Great Depression levels -- from current economic condidtions. And Obama appears prepared to make things worse.

    If he really proceeds the way he is proposing, his betrayal of those who put him into office will be immense -- and unprecedented.


    Some defenses (none / 0) (#51)
    by lilburro on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:19:56 AM EST
    of this proposal have said it's so small it will be irrelevant.  But if so, why do it at all?  

    And also Ezra makes a good point:  

    But you can't look at this as anything less than a tremendous defeat for the Obama administration. It's not the policy itself. The freeze locks in a post-stimulus, and potentially post-jobs-bill, level of spending. It's not terribly onerous. But it's also the administration's white flag on the argument that the deficit must be understood as a health-care reform problem rather than a taxes and spending problem. This was their most audacious effort to change the way Americans think, and it didn't work. For all the effort Democrats put into building a health-care bill that cuts the deficit, a full 60 percent of Americans think (pdf) the legislation increases the deficit. Only 15 percent think it's a deficit reducer.

    Why make up some b.s. that is meaningless and just lip service (spending freeze) when you are actually trying to do something that would accomplish a similar goal?  I guess Ezra needed to see Scott Brown elected to realize this, but the lack of coherent messaging on the health bill has been just atrocious.

    Ezra saw it. (none / 0) (#54)
    by Salo on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 11:48:31 AM EST
    Teh excise tax stuffed the whole bill electorally speaking.

    Wow, the logic is incredibly simple. (none / 0) (#66)
    by s5 on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 02:27:23 PM EST
    Not to pick on you, BTD, but I've heard this exact argument in so many places, and it makes no sense.

    The argument (right or wrong) against a jobs bill is, we can't afford it. So, how do you do stuff you need to do but you can't afford? You find the money for it elsewhere. Think of it as cutting the cable bill to make the roof repairs easier to swallow.

    Seriously, the logic is that simple. People will get it. Progressives are way over-thinking this one, obsessing over "framing" and what McCain said vs what Obama said. No one will say "but you cut the cable bill and now you want to repair the roof? Why, you're a hypocrite!".

    I have no idea what the details of his proposal are. They could very well be awful. But cutting spending in unnecessary areas while boosting spending on jobs is very clear, easy to understand, easy to sell, and maybe even good policy. We will see. So far all we know is that someone said the word "freeze" and now everyone is freaking out. It's really getting crazy out there.

    I don't see a second stimulus (none / 0) (#71)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 03:01:38 PM EST
    Considering the CBO just announced that the original is now $75 billion more than originally forecast.

    The Congressional Budget Office hiked its forecast Tuesday for how much the stimulus bill will add to the nation's deficit, raising its estimate by $75 billion to $862 billion.

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in February 2009, was initially believed to have a price tag of $787 billion. With the glaring exception of skyrocketing unemployment compensation costs, the CBO said the Recovery Act's effects on government spending and revenues have closely followed its initial estimate for 2009 and 2010.

    The vast majority of the increased deficit impact is linked to anticipated spending in 2011 to 2019. It now appears to the Budget Office that stimulus will have a larger impact on the deficit in the years to come based on changing economic factors since the bill was signed into law 11 months ago.

    Bill Clinton is back (none / 0) (#76)
    by diogenes on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 04:56:57 PM EST
    Only triangulation is starting one year into Obama's term rather than two years in, as with Bill Clinton.

    Well, ... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Yman on Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:27:15 PM EST
    ... and it's starting by Obama's choice when he has a large majority in Congress, rather than by necessity when Republican's controlled Congress.

    We could only wish (none / 0) (#83)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:22:51 AM EST
    At least we had a good economy under BC.  

    Obama doesn't have the chops.