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Obama Wants To Cut Government Spending

Kevin Drum pretends President Obama is fighting against cutting government spending:

[T]his poll does pretty clearly tell us [. . .] large majorities are pretty obsessed about cutting the national debt ó and those large majorities cut across practically every demographic subgroup. If you want to know why President Obama is willing to cut a deal with Republicans to drastically cut federal spending, this is it. We liberals have miserably failed to make the case for stimulus spending, and as a result conservatives have spectacularly succeeded in reverting the American public to its default state of believing that the federal books should always be balanced, the same as household books. On this score, we've just been flatly outplayed over the past couple of years.

(Emphasis supplied.) What does Drum mean "we?" The President has not been willing, he has been EAGER, to cut government spending. He has been talking like this for over a year:

Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we canít afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.

Kevin Drum needs to stop pretending the President agrees with him about cutting government spending being a bad idea right now. Obama wants to cut government spending now. I think the President's nuts. YMMV.

Speaking for me only

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    My reaction? Oh, brother... (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:30:30 AM EST
    Okay, so gee, Kevin, why do you suppose all these people are obsessed with cutting the debt?  Do you think it has anything at all to do with the massive con job that's been underway for a couple of years now?  Think it has anything to do with the fact that you cannot turn on the news without hearing the stenographic stylings being dutifully delivered by Very Serious People, and supported by experts who might need a search party to locate their butts?  Strangely reminiscent of the sales job we got on Iraq...clearly you didn't learn anything from that, or perhaps you bought into the belief that as long as something is being pushed by Democrats, it's all good.  Oops!

    I mean, take one economic near-collapse for which none of those responsible have been called to account, use the fear that resulted from massive layoffs and long-term unemployment, and make those hanging by their fingernails on the edge of the abyss feel small and selfish for not being willing to "sacrifice."  

    Sorry, Kev, but you're not going to lay this at the feet of liberals, but do feel free to use the "I" word if you think you didn't do a good enough job.  Maybe, if you and your ilk hadn't been spending so much time explaining and excusing the actions and policies of this administration, you might have been able to make a difference, but you chose not to.  Or you bought what they were selling.  And your readers bought what you were selling.  That's on you, Kevin, not collectively on "liberals."  

    Perhaps you meant that "progressives" didn't try hard enough - but that doesn't fly, either, because it is largely progressives who have been enabling and excusing and assuring us that there was some kind of grand plan which we were just not smart enough to see or figure out.

    News flash for Kevin: you're in Booman territory now; own that.

    Obama starting a long time ago (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:04:20 AM EST
    moved away from selling the stimulus.  His biggest supporters moved with him.

    Parent
    The debt ceiling/budget (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:37:46 AM EST
    strategy of President Obama seems to be (a) make huge cuts in keeping with the Republicans and his own objectives--they are approximately of one, (b) get just enough revenue increase to serve as a fig leaf for the cuts, and (c) wear the Democrats down with interminable up and down negotiating points, e.g, Medicare/Medicaid are off the table, no they aren't; Medicare cuts will be to hospitals not to beneficiaries,  cuts will be made to medical education, then, again, maybe not if hospital lobbyists have their way, social security must be dealt with now, no it doesn't, military expenditures are not immune, what?, no way! .   Upshot:  whatever happens was a victory, for Obama and Boehner, or so the story will go to their respective constituents.

    HOW long have we heard that progressives... (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:44:45 AM EST
    ...and liberals were the problem and not the solution?  How many months had O been Prez before his people started maligning us for our unreasonable and pie-in-the-sky and good-is-the-enemy-of-perfect demands?

    And now we weren't demanding enough?

    Jaysus, these morons can't even remember their own copy from a year ago.

    And Since When, Exactly (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by The Maven on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:06:30 AM EST
    have household books always been balanced?!?!

    Last time I checked, there were still plenty of mortgages out there, not to mention outstanding credit card bills, student loans, etc., etc.  Is it that somehow only certain kinds of debt count for families, but every penny against the federal government is recorded as an imbalance?

    The idiocy of the vast majority of the media in failing to point this out is sad, but by now utterly expected.  That Obama has completely embraced this framing is just another example of how badly he misunderstands and distorts the role of government, and in so doing, puts a so-called "liberal" sheen on Grover Norquist's fondest dreams (a/k/a the common man's nightmares).

    You Forgot.... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:36:54 PM EST
    ... my biggest issue with that arguement, Household increase their revenue over time.  In 40 years of working that income increase would be changed by a factor very close to 10.  So at 25 the $30,000 income would be around $300,000 near retirement age.  Granted inflation would account for at least have of that increase, but non-the-less, incomes increase.

    Household's don't voluntarily decrease revenues because it would be financial suicide.

    Parent

    One wonders if they want to (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:35:18 PM EST
    go back to the gold standard based on some of their nonsensical rhetoric.

    As for a balanced budget for households?  LOL

    That would put those banks and other financial institutions he is so loyal to out of business.

    They don't want people to live their lives on cash.  They want everyone living on credit.

    Parent

    Yeah! (none / 0) (#11)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:29:53 PM EST
    The comparison used to just amuse me.  Now the comparison causes gastric upset.

    Most, the overwhelming majority, of households are always in debt and at various times that debt exceeds double annual income.

    The comparison is silly but pols and the press continue the narrative for the simple minded.

    Parent

    Whenever I hear a politician (none / 0) (#24)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:56:07 PM EST
    say: we need to run government like a business, I know they have no business in government.   And, most households, in figuring their finances include their assets.  The federal government looks at revenues and expenses, surplus/deficit and cumulative deficits as debt--but no assets such as government land, real estate, mineral/oil, or even our nice stockpile of armaments.

    Parent
    Obama is a spoiled Brat (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:23:18 PM EST
    At the height of the implosion there were two schools fighting for the President's ear: the Keynesians (led by Krugman, outside the administration, and Romer, Bernstein, Barofsky, and even Larry Summers within the Administration.)

    The first group pressed for large stimulus spending, even if it meant hiring a group of people to dig holes, and another group to fill them back up. The point was to get money into circulation immediately.

    The second group, Geithner, (& The Banks, led by Hank (Goldman Sachs) Paulsen, wanted to empty the Treasury and give it all to the perpetrators of the debacle.

    Geithner won, and that's why the President is fighting for his political life today.

    Hubris, stubbornness, and inexperience....not exactly the "Change" we thought we were voting for.

    Obama is a tool of (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:31:28 PM EST
    the Power Elites.

    A marionette being made to dance. He has no original thoughts. No original solutions. That's why it takes a month to six weeks following a crisis for him to take decisive action.

    He likes campaigning, and cheering crowds.

    George Wallace was the same for most of his career here. His last terms, though he did things, such as apologize, empower predominantly AA counties, and more.

    Obama only gets 2 tries. Wallace had many, he would have to sit out a term after 2 before running again. Once he ran his wife, she won, but died of cancer.

    I'm sorry for you Mr. President. you are the most transformative president since, oh, Millard Fillmore. But you've got the authoritarianism of Lincoln, Adams, and Wilson.

    I'd rather you had the spine of TR and FDR.

    ABG, I expect you to take issue. Let's agree to disagree, and not see how far we can shoot a stream, okay?

    Medicaid and Social Security in the (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 05:23:39 PM EST
    debt ceiling deal.

    From David Dayen:

    The most dangerous plans I've seen coming out of the debt limit talks are chained CPI and the Medicaid blended rate. I've written extensively about chained CPI, which would cause a Social Security benefit cut of hundreds of dollars a year for the average beneficiary. The way that can be most easily combated is by calling it what it is - a tax increase. Only $100 billion of the $300 billion projected savings in chained CPI comes from Social Security; the other $200 billion comes from the effect of slowing the cost of living adjustment in other programs, including... tax brackets. In other words, where as a tax bracket stops now at $50,000 and may go up to $51,000 next year, under chained CPI it would only go up to $50,500. Therefore people making $50,750 get thrown into a higher tax bracket than they otherwise would. As soon as Republicans figure out that messing with the COLA equals a tax increase, including on the top tax bracket, they'll veto that without delay.

    So the real issue is in Medicaid. And the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has the best explanation of what the Medicaid blended rate would do. Essentially, if you strip away the jargon, this would reduce the federal share of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), forcing the states to reduce provider payments or reduce coverage in their programs.

    [snip]

    Combined with this is a proposal to limit or bar states from raising taxes on medical providers to make up the costs. Forty-six states currently use provider taxes, and would see a key source of revenue for Medicaid and CHIP lost. These combined limits - restricting federal dollars for Medicaid through a different rate of payment, and banning provider taxes - have the effect of forcing states, which have less money to sustain their programs, and no way to raise that money outside of stressed general revenue pots, to cut back their Medicaid and CHIP programs. This lowers federal costs even more. The total target for the reductions is $100 billion.

    What does this mean in the real world? It means that poor people and children will either have less generous health care services through Medicaid and CHIP, or that providers will see their payments cut again, which could lead to a lack of access to those services. Medicaid reimbursement rates are already as low as you can get. So cutting them even more could represent a tipping point, where providers simply refuse to accept Medicaid patients.

    Oh, and by the way - we don't call this a "cut in benefits," but a "shift in costs;" the feds leave it up to the states, so the blame for reduced benefits, or reduced access, is on them.  No take-backs!

    And we're actually paying people to come up with these little bits of cleverness.

    plus... (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by pluege2 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 05:35:13 PM EST
    We liberals have miserably failed to make the case for stimulus spending

    what could be a more affective case than people keeping their jobs!!!

    Its the dutiful plutocrat-controlled corporate media that has been in hyper-drive to promote the plutocratic message and working tirelessly to convince people that everyone should not believe what they know to be true: that millions were put to work because of the stimulus that otherwise would have been out of work.

    p.s. (none / 0) (#35)
    by pluege2 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 05:37:19 PM EST
    drum is definitely stupid enough to deny what everyone knows to be true and to make-up horse crap that the meme he promotes somehow is a failure of "the left". Way to carry the wingnut message sh*t-for-brains.

    Parent
    Liberals like Drum started failing (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 06:01:23 AM EST
    to make the liberal economic case when they pretended a fan of Reagonomics was a liberal presidential candidate.


    Obama could lift the hiring and (none / 0) (#1)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:56:24 AM EST
    pay rise freeze on Federal Employees immediately without Congress' approval.  But he hasn't.  The fact that he imposed those freezes in the first place was crazy.  I am told that agencies calling the White House to complain aren't getting their calls returned. Agencies are suffering and as a result so is their work product.

    I'm (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:06:02 AM EST
    out of town and out of the loop of politics for the most part this week but happened to turn on MSNBC for a few minutes yesterday and the story was GOP gets 87% spending cuts and Obama gets 13% in some sort of minor tax changes. I was so disgusted I cut off the TV but thought I would check in here to see what everybody was saying.

    If you remain (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:35:49 PM EST
    in the dark for the rest of the week you'll notice on emerging into the 'sunlight' that nothing has changed.  Obama continues to offer everything in exchange for nothing, will not chisel a line in the concrete, will not use the bully pulpit, will change message from day to day, will not call Republicans to account, etc., etc.

    The beat goes on.  

    Enjoy the break, you'll catch up fast.

    Parent

    Last night Rachel Maddow (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by hairspray on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:46:40 PM EST
    interviewed Frank Rich now of the New Yorker magazine.  From cheerleader of the first order to disgruntled supporter.  I never thought I would hear him beg Obama so show some spine.  Back in 2008 he became vitriolic if anyone questioned his favorite.  Obama could do no wrong.  It is getting more than sad to see Rich, Dionne, Herbert and others trying to motivate Obama to stand up.

    Parent
    If people still think this is about spine, (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 02:29:31 PM EST
    they haven't quite come into the Land of Reality, and are still "hoping" for Obama to be who they thought he was.

    He's never going to be that person - mainly because he was never that person to begin with; he was never a liberal who believed in the power of government to improve the quality of people's lives.  Obama's all about whether people "deserve" help - it's the primary reason he could never get behind any program that might provide mortgage relief and it's why HAMP has been such a failure.

    No, this isn't an orthopedic problem, it's an ideological one, with some psychodrama on the side.  Even as he tries, in that Dad-In-Chief way he has that ends up sounding like he thinks we're children who might have to go stand in the corner unless we behave, to convince us common folk that he's on our side, his actions and policies, his rhetoric, his general cavalier attitude, what he's willing to fight for - those all say something entirely different.  All that's missing is, "trust me, this is huring me more than it's hurting you."

    I'm glad people like Frank Rich are beginning to see the light, but I also have no doubt that by the time November, 2012 rolls around, they will fall into line and once again choose the lesser of two evils.  

    Where else are they gonna go, right?

    Parent

    Obama's the fattest fat cat (none / 0) (#27)
    by observed on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 02:48:46 PM EST
    I have ever seen in US politics.
    We need Thomas Nast to draw a picture for the slow ones.

    Parent
    No, no, no. (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 04:21:19 PM EST
    It's the boyars, said the peasant.  If only the Czar knew.

    Parent
    You mean, (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by me only on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:22:04 PM EST
    only if Joe knew.

    Parent
    I recently read A singular Woman the story (none / 0) (#37)
    by hairspray on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 09:46:07 PM EST
    of Barack Obama's mother to see if I could get a handle on him. She was a great free spirit, but it was clear to me at least,  that he was very conflicted about her mothering and kept his distance. Nothing that he said in the book indicated any real caring for her.  He seemed angry with her a lot and turned his back on his whiteness in his adulthood.

    Parent
    Yeah (none / 0) (#3)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:18:43 AM EST
    who is this "we."  The Obama Administration has done very little to promote the success of the stimulus.  Voters in 2010 didn't think it worked because no one really said that it did.  The Obama team hasn't asked for more stimulus.  It's not my fault Americans don't believe in Keynesian economics when people like Geithner apparently don't and Obama pivoted to the deficit.

    This is from Pew Research in April 2010:

    Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not believe the $787 billion stimulus package the president passed last year has helped create jobs, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

    This is old news.

    "large majorities" of who (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 10:52:36 AM EST
    are obsessed with cutting the debt? teabaggers who don't, for the most part, even know what the debt is? wall streeters who apparently can't read their own financial reports, and realize the debt level has had zero impact on the market for gov't bonds? the "village" idiots, lounging in their versaille palaces, wondering which cocktail party will have the best shrimp?

    oddly enough, the vast majority of poll data that i've seen, over the past few months, show the primary concerns of the majority of respondents to be unemployment and the housing market, with the national debt trickling in a distant 3rd, if that. again, the average american probably has no clue what the national debt is, where it comes from and how it impacts our economy. of course, the average american knows more about eating competitions and NASCAR, then they do about basic economics.

    Don't expect them (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:38:29 PM EST
    to trade cocktail weenies for shrimp anytime soon.  They're unaffected by the sacrifice they ask of everyday people.

    Parent
    cal, we're "little people," (none / 0) (#18)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:40:47 PM EST
    in the vernacular. There are Cops, Crooks, and "little people." When the cops and crooks join forces, it's almost time to think about taking up arms. ALMOST.

    Parent
    Obama is a tool of (none / 0) (#13)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:31:52 PM EST
    the Power Elites.

    A marionette being made to dance. He has no original thoughts. No original solutions. That's why it takes a month to six weeks following a crisis for him to take decisive action.

    He likes campaigning, and cheering crowds.

    George Wallace was the same for most of his career here. His last terms, though he did things, such as apologize, empower predominantly AA counties, and more.

    Obama only gets 2 tries. Wallace had many, he would have to sit out a term after 2 before running again. Once he ran his wife, she won, but died of cancer.

    I'm sorry for you Mr. President. you are the most transformative president since, oh, Millard Fillmore. But you've got the authoritarianism of Lincoln, Adams, and Wilson.

    I'd rather you had the spine of TR and FDR.

    ABG, I expect you to take issue. Let's agree to disagree, and not see how far we can shoot a stream, okay?

    Sounded so nice I had to say it twice. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 12:38:45 PM EST
    Sorry for the double post.

    Parent
    I'm curious (none / 0) (#19)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:01:34 PM EST
    as to how the bill will eventually be passed.  With more Dem votes than GOP votes in the House?  Will primarily the GOP in the Senate pass it with a few added Dem Senate votes?  

    All of those wannabe rich dems, (none / 0) (#20)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:07:49 PM EST
    like former sen. Evan Bayh, who want to accommodate the big d!cks in their states, will stand on their principles. In other words, they'll cave. Boxer won't, Harry won't but i can't think of others who would off the top of my head.

    Parent
    ugh (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 01:45:59 PM EST
    I guarantee you two senators who will vote for it, no matter what piece of cr@p comes out - Scott Brown and John Kerry.  They just love this wishy washy - no one likes it so it must be good - cr@p legislation.

    The flip side of that is that I bet most of the MA house delegation will not vote for it.

    Parent

    McCaskill will probably run over other (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 04:53:46 PM EST
    Senators to be first in line to vote for the cr@p legislation. Then she will send out solicitation letters claiming the cuts were necessary to save the programs from the Republicans.

    Parent
    Yeah (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 02:26:34 PM EST
    Booman, for example, seems to believe that the Senate Democrats are going to be a major issue in getting anything passed.  It would be nice if that were true, but I don't think it is.  They haven't really indicated that they have any particular demands.  I mean, hell, you know Durbin will vote for anything at this point, he is so invested in the idea of a Grand Bargain, and you can throw in Lieberman, Nelson, etc. on top of that.

    Parent
    ahhh the senate (none / 0) (#28)
    by CST on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 02:56:53 PM EST
    Senate Democrats are apparently only a "major issue" when attempting to pass Democratic legislation.

    Public option, medicare for all, fuggedabaudit.

    The Iraq war on the other hand, or the patriot act, now those are things they can all get behind.

    Parent

    Ugh (none / 0) (#29)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 03:11:59 PM EST
    yes.  

    I am also curious as to what would happen if Boehner can whip the GOP to vote for whatever ridiculous deal they make.  I don't think they are crazy enough to let the government default.  And if Boehner can whip the GOP to vote for it, it cuts against the only apparent argument the Dems have for 2012 - "Vote for me, the GOP's nuts."  Although this whole affair probably won't have much of an impact on the 2012 election unless nothing gets done.

    Parent

    Was there much attention (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 04:58:40 PM EST
    pd. here to former Pres. Clinton's speech in Aspen?  It ain't just Pres. Obama.

    Clinton (none / 0) (#39)
    by CST on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:08:13 AM EST
    was saying this 2 years ago on the Daily Show too.  It's been his schtick for a while.  He's using it to fundraise though which is a bit different.  You want to give people a reason to invest.

    Parent
    Remember his old schtick too (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:47:14 AM EST
    That is as old as the hills, we have to educate ourselves into jobs because the labor jobs are leaving the U.S. and he couldn't stop them.

    Parent