Barack Herbert Hoover Obama

Please tell me our president is smarter than this:

President Obama will propose freezing non-security discretionary government spending for the next three years, a sweeping plan to attempt deficit reduction that will save taxpayers $250 billion over 10 years.

When the administration releases its budget next week, the discretionary spending for government agencies from Health and Human Services to the Department of Treasury will be frozen at its 2010 level in fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013. [...]

Exempted from the freeze would be Pentagon funding, and the budgets for Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.

Instead of delivering his State of the Union address this week, Barack Obama may as well hold up a big sign that says, "I want Democrats to lose Congress." Over at Daily Kos, eugene explains why:

That will be the equivalent of FDR's boneheaded move in 1937 to pull back on government spending. The result was a major recession that caused conservatives to win a lot of seats in the 1938 election and brought the New Deal to an end.

Yet FDR had already won his second term. Obama, on the other hand, is embracing a policy that has been proven to fail even before the midterm elections.

If he thinks this is even a realistic or economically feasible policy, he is out of his mind. If he thinks this will save his and Democrats' political bacon, he is very badly mistaken. Only greater government spending - MUCH greater spending - will pull us out of recession, create jobs, and produce lasting recovery.

Without greater spending, Obama is implying he is willing to live with high unemployment for the remainder of his first term. If one wanted to deal with the deficit, he could follow Bill Clinton's model of producing economic growth that would close the deficit in future years.

Economically, this course would be a disaster, but politically it's even a worse move. During the presidential campaign, Obama promised hundreds of times that we would be able to spend more on various domestic priorities because we wouldn't be spending $200 billion a year in Iraq. With the escalation in Afghanistan, the combined cost of our commitments there and in Iraq will now exceed Bush administration levels, and Obama isn't cutting fat from other areas in the Pentagon budget to make up for it.

It's as if he wants Democrats to stay home this November.

Obama told Diane Sawyer today, "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." If he follows through on a spending freeze he'll be neither.

UPDATE: So some people are claiming this is no big deal because the spending freeze isn't an across-the-board freeze, "would apply to a relatively small portion of the federal budget" and locks in a bunch of spending increases from last year. I am not interested in endlessly increasing the defense budget while holding the line on the EPA, Energy, Transportation, HUD and other areas. That's not the agenda Obama campaigned on, and it's not smart from any perspective.

Chris Bowers raises a better point, which is that "the people who actually write spending bills--members of the House Appropriation and Budget committees--say they won't be freezing or cutting social spending." So this is just window dressing for the State of the Union to show the wise men of the beltway that Obama is very, very concerned about the deficit. Still not the kind of leadership we need from our president.

Tags: Barack Obama, Economy, unemployment, jobs, deficit, sotu (all tags)

Comments

128 Comments

Obama the one-termer

He will get crushed in 2012 with this agenda.  Is that spooked by what happened in Massachusetts a week ago?  And he'll get no GOP support.

His only chance was stick to his original agenda.  What I'm concerned is there will be no one to primary him.   And the long-terlm damage to the Democratic brand will be incalculable.

by esconded 2010-01-25 10:21PM | 2 recs
You wanted populism

you got it.

by ND22 2010-01-25 10:30PM | 2 recs
Exactly

If this is even accurate.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-25 10:32PM | 1 recs
RE: Exactly

It is accurate.  Within minutes of this hitting the wires, Jared Bernstein (VP Biden's Economic Advisor) appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show and she asked him point blank if the report was true, and he confirmed it.

This is stupidity of the highest order.  And yes, if President Obama actually follows through with this, there's a pretty good chance Mitt Romney will be sworn in as our 45th POTUS on January 20, 2013.

by Obamaphile 2010-01-26 12:22AM | 0 recs
Is it really a big deal?

Other than to the netroots?

I'm an obamaphile too, and I duly note Obama's missteps with the 20/20 of hindsight.

but I'm having a very hard time coming up with conclusive evidence that capping increases in the budget for certain agencies the year after next (after they can be increased this year) is a disaster.

 

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 01:38AM | 0 recs
RE: Is it really a big deal?

It may not matter to you, unless you're one of the millions of people who depend on a program from one of those agencies, true.  Or unless you believe hundreds of millions of dollars in spending from those agencies plays a part in stimulating our economy out of the recession.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 09:06AM | 0 recs
RE: You wanted populism

I liked the old style populism.. you know.. the New Deal stuff?  This new style populism stinks...

by LordMike 2010-01-26 12:20AM | 2 recs
yeah well

this is not 1933 America. 1933 America would never elect Scott Brown to a Senate seat. 1933 America would never even give Republicans 3/5 of the Senate.

by ND22 2010-01-26 01:00AM | 0 recs
Arg

What? Why, this is what some Republicans were demanding all along! Geez - why should I support some guy who figured it out this late in the game? I want to back the party that had it right from the start.

 

What a great message to send heading into the midterms.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-01-25 10:35PM | 1 recs
Everyone: freak out!

A front page diary quoting a dKos diary quoting an "unnamed source" in TPM and not even bothering to read the whole article, which is key here, as Obama can propose whatever he wants, but it's up to Congress to pass budgets, and reports of this non-story have already been dismissed as DOA.

In the mean time, I will be listening to the major jobs announcement tomorrow.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-25 10:36PM | 1 recs
Edit to Add

Over at dKos, the comments on the story are amusing. The best being:

I'm proposing a panic freeze.

If even true, this will not kick in until 2011, and according to some, the fine print permits a great deal of wiggle room.

But it's always good to see the "Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter Herbet Hoover" zombie meme keeps on kicking because of something Paul Krugman said and a Senate special election in MA.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-25 10:47PM | 1 recs
And it didn't take long to get the full story

Daily Kos diarist puts this in perspective, which I hope the OP addresses, because otherwise, this diary is rather... embarassing... in its inaccuracy.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-25 10:51PM | 0 recs
RE: And it didn't take long to get the full story

Can you explain in simple terms how this is different from the freeze that everyone, including Obama, ridiculed McCain for proposing during the campaign?

by Steve M 2010-01-26 02:16AM | 0 recs
Easy

McCain proposed a cross-the-board (except for defense) spending freeze in the middle of a recession. Obama is proposing a targeted spending freeze coming out of a recession after increasing spending dramatically.

by ND22 2010-01-26 08:28AM | 1 recs
RE: Easy

I don't understand.  McCain carved out the same set of exceptions (defense, veterans, entitlement programs) that Obama has.  I actually don't see how you can call this proposal "targeted" with a straight face.

And whether we're "coming out of a recession" remains to be seen, doesn't it?  Unemployment remains high and there are still significant fears of a "double-dip" recession.  FDR's advisors probably thought we were coming out of a recession in 1937 too, until they put us right back into the soup.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 09:02AM | 1 recs
Big difference

FDR cut spending and balanced the budget. If we did that, it would mean cutting more than a trillion dollars out of the budget, which would be insane. Obama isn't proposing that, he's proposing freezing the budget after increasing it, completely different than what FDR did.

AND the freeze does not kick in until October, 2011, more than a year and a half from now. If we're not "coming out of a recession" (which we are now) by then, then the freeze is the least of our problems.

by ND22 2010-01-26 09:28AM | 1 recs
RE: Big difference

You and I have completely different definitions of "completely different."

Honestly, I'm not accusing you of anything, but you're writing the kind of comments I would expect from someone who's getting paid to spin.  "Targeted spending freeze."  "Freezing the budget after increasing it."  Good God, any time you freeze the budget it's going to come after it was increased the prior year!

by Steve M 2010-01-26 10:08AM | 0 recs
My point is

this is completely different than what FDR did or McCain proposed because FDR sought to balance the budget, not freeze spending, but actually cut it. To do what FDR did would be for Obama to cut $1.35 trillion from the budget to balance it...and it's different from what McCain wanted because McCain wanted an immediate cross-the-board spending freeze, this is a planned freeze, in the future, that will only reallocate money from places that don't particularly need it to places that do.

 

by ND22 2010-01-26 11:48AM | 1 recs
RE: My point is

If FDR cut more, that doesn't make it "completely different," it just makes it less of a reduction.  Unless you happen to know the magic amount by which we can reduce spending without sending the economy back into the doldrums, it makes no difference.  You don't have an economic crystal ball that would let you say "FDR's reductions were too much, but Obama's reductions are just right."

And I disagree, naturally, that spending money on the defense budget rather than Head Start is "reallocating money from places that don't particularly need it to places that do."  There's certainly as much waste within the defense budget and the homeland security budget (have you SEEN where some of those grants go?) as there is in the remainder of the discretionary budget, and probably much more.  I think you have to be quite naive to miss the fact that defense and homeland security are being exempted based upon political considerations (can't let the Republicans demagogue us as weak on national security!) rather than because "these are the places that need the money most."

by Steve M 2010-01-26 12:09PM | 0 recs
Ther are NO reductions

it's a spending FREEZE, no reductions, no increases. With inflation as low as it is, it means no real change.

Of course the defense and homeland security budgets are being exempted because of political considerations, that's obvious, but have you not been paying attention to Obama's reallocation of funds at the Pentagon, the F-22s?

 

 

by ND22 2010-01-26 05:13PM | 0 recs
RE: Ther are NO reductions

The argument that freezing the funding for a program or slowing the rate of growth is not a "cut" is a somewhat metaphysical debate that was long since hashed out between Clinton and Gingrich in the 90s.  Personally, I agreed with Clinton that if the costs of a program (like Medicare) are going up and you're not increasing the budget to match, that's a cut.  But call it something else if you like.  The bottom line is that if we have more kids each year that need government assistance to get a hot lunch, but we freeze the funding for the program, we end up with more hungry kids than we had last year.  The reality is indistinguishable from a budget cut.

Since you asked, I have been paying close attention to the funding decisions at the Pentagon.  I am a big fan of Robert Gates and I am glad Obama kept him on.  But while I think they are doing good things together, still there's a fundamental difference between shifting money around within the defense budget (while pledging that of course you'll never ever slow the overall rate of growth) and actually cutting the defense budget, which we could certainly afford to do.

I was simply making the point that your Panglossian view of the proposal (we're just shifting money away from programs that don't need it!) is belied by the fact that the defense and homeland security budgets have been granted this immunity totem for patently political reasons.  And it's a given that there are programs that would be getting their funding but for the political decision that the Pentagon and DHS can't be expected to spare a dime.  When the media starts reporting on the specifics of those programs that are getting shortchanged by Obama's budget in order to sustain further growth in the defense budget, there's not going to be a lot of accolades coming the administration's way.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 06:17PM | 1 recs
RE: Ther are NO reductions

Ahh, but you see, entitlements are not being cut or frozen so what does your metaphysical debate say in refrence to this situation. Secondly agency budgets like education are not being cut, or even frozen. Rather the entire pot is being capped at 2011 levels. Funds can, and will, be moved around between agencies depending on need and priorities.

And yes, the Pentagon and DHS have been exempted partly becasue of politics - these are sacred cows just as much as medicare, social security and the VA. But there is also a practical reason - their budgets are determined by unexpected events. Freezing them is an excersize in meaninglessness. Which is also why the foreign aid budget was not frozen - what if another event like Haiti was to happen?

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:00PM | 0 recs
RE: Big difference

Honestly, I'm not accusing you of anything, but you're writing the kind of comments I would expect from someone who's getting paid to spin.  "Targeted spending freeze."  "Freezing the budget after increasing it." 

It's not that we think this is swell, ar anything but vomitous political triangulation. I wish this hadn't been proposed, not because it is going to send us into a second recession, but because Ias I said elsewhere), it hurts the meme that bigger government is good. It's like it almost cedes the entire argument to the Republicans.

But I also don't see it as the end of the world, as so many Obama criticis are trying to spin it as. It isn't 1937. It's not even close. And it isn't what McCain proposed.This doesn't stop Obama from passing a second stimulus, etc.

The WH may be in one bubble, but a good deal of the netroots is trapped in another bubble with the Krugmans of the world.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 12:38PM | 0 recs
RE: Big difference

How about calling this what it really is, a miscalculated and shameless cheap political gimmick. What money will he save? Because anything he is proposing is so gimmicky that it will do nothing. But beyond that it betrays a shcoking lack of policy vision.

by tarheel74 2010-01-26 12:51PM | 1 recs
How so?

Deficits are unattractive and dangerous, even when necessary.

Real world, remember, real world.

Also, what if it frees up more money for job creation? Hmmmm.....

Nah, I'd just rather here blah blah blah PUMA trash blah blah blah.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 03:38PM | 0 recs
RE: How so?

It makes the biggest, most wasteful part of the budget untouchable (defense spending) and puts most of the rest of the budget off-limits as well. 

So they are going to cut a lot from a small fraction of the budget, and that happens to be the fraction that has a lot of stuff to help the poor.

He's acting like a damned brainless Republican.

 

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 03:46PM | 0 recs
RE: How so?

No point arguing with him, he has revisited the primaries. How pathetic!!

by tarheel74 2010-01-26 04:49PM | 0 recs
three year old staleness

An automatic FAIL

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-27 12:15AM | 0 recs
I wish they'd cut Pentagon spending

I really really really wish for such a world.

But after the underwear fiasco over Christmas, to do so would be political suicide.

I don't agree with this move. In fact, I disagree with it. I think it's a political wedge against the GOP at best.

But it's not Hooverism. That's all.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 05:58PM | 0 recs
RE: I wish they'd cut Pentagon spending

You can't cut Pentagon spending or DHS spending arbitarily. All you can do is change to mission or the size. Unlike other agencies these do not determine thier activities for the year by their budget, rather their activities are determined first and then the money is provided to pay for it.

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:03PM | 0 recs
RE: I wish they'd cut Pentagon spending

I'm not disagreeing with you, but could you please elaborate?

Unforseen circumstances are often paid for through later bills (such as war supplemental funding bills, etc)

Extra funding can be added on outside of the budget.

And how is that any different than if, for example, more people need unemployment benefits than we thought, or more people go onto welfare or food stamps?

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 09:16PM | 0 recs
RE: I wish they'd cut Pentagon spending

Unemployment benefits, welfare or food stamps are not part of the freeze either...

Only the regular budget total is frozen.

by vecky 2010-01-27 12:11AM | 0 recs
RE: I wish they'd cut Pentagon spending

ok, but that still doesn't answer why the normal security budget can't be frozen with unforseen costs passed in a seperate supplemental bill (since those bills are not uncommon, see the War Supplemental, etc)

 

by jeopardy 2010-01-27 09:46AM | 0 recs
RE: Big difference

When Bruce Bartlett and Paul Krugman are saying the exact same thing it's kind of hard to pretend that they're in some kind of bubble.  This is bad economic policy, plain and simple.  As to whether the effects will be as bad as 1937, look, I don't think I'm misguided because I don't want to see any kind of regression at all.  In my book, what will balance the budget most quickly is getting the country out of this recession once and for all so the economy can grow and tax receipts can grow along with it.

But I confess that even as a matter of pure politics I don't understand it at all, even on a Sista Souljah level (and I doubt there are really that many independents who will become happier with Obama simply because the Angry Left opposes his budget).  Obama is basically setting up a budget fight with a Democratic Congress leading into an election year in which Obama is not on the ballot, but Congress is.  Assuming they're going to resist at least some of the cuts, and they surely will, all this does is make it that much easier for the "big spender" label to stick to Congressional Democrats.  And either the Democrats look dysfunctional when Obama vetoes their big-spending budget or, in the more likely scenario, Obama looks impotent when Congress ignores his spending freeze and he signs the budget anyway.

I am far more concerned about the bad policy than about the politics but I really don't even understand the political argument.  There is not an actual political constituency for spending cuts, at least not one that is accessible to Democrats.  Not only did Bill Clinton get zero political payoff from deficit reduction, voters didn't even know he had reduced the deficit!  This is all based on the assumption that the Washington Post editorial page has its finger on the pulse of the American public, which above all wants deficit reduction and entitlement reform.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 01:08PM | 2 recs
RE: Big difference

Voters did however know that Clinton balanced the budget. There was indeed a whole debate/campaign of what to do with this new found windfall (tax cuts or lock box). The people voted for one, but got the other.

But as I said before, none of this would matter if the GOP was not on track to take effective control of congress in 9 months.

by vecky 2010-01-26 05:48PM | 0 recs
RE: Everyone: freak out!

Finally someone who gets it.  All of this is a red herring. The Obama administration is trying to distract us from the fact that they are trying to recalculate the Jobs index - they changed the metric. And that means, by my math - you won't be able to count whether or not stimulus actually produced jobs.

The real thing going on right now is healthcare reform - we can hope for real change, if we can finish that job. I for one say the time for half-measures has passed and we need to let Congress have a good old fashioned showdown between the house progressives and the lobbyist - paid- off members of the senate.

Because in the end, isn't that what populism is really all about - government to the highest bidder?

 

Did I say highest. responsible? bidder...

by Trey Rentz 2010-01-26 05:18AM | 1 recs
Pentagon exempt

The most ridiculous part of this is that the Pentagon is exempt, so we'll probably never see any of the $250B projected savings anyway, beacause we'll spend it all in Afganistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Columbia, etc, etc

by brooklyngreenie 2010-01-25 10:45PM | 2 recs
In fairness

he cut a lot of wasteful crap out of the Pentagon already, remember the planes?

by ND22 2010-01-25 11:04PM | 1 recs
In fairness

he cut a lot of wasteful crap out of the Pentagon already, remember the planes?

by ND22 2010-01-25 11:04PM | 3 recs
Bill Clinton got the deficit under control,

and the economy exploded. The only problem with this proposal is that $250 billion is a miniscule amount; to put it in perspective, it's less that that one-third of the stimulus (i.e., sedative) bill that was passed in February. That said, this is a hopeful sign from Obama; at least now he's finally seeing reason.

But to have real impact, the President should strive for $500 billion in spending cuts, matched by $500 billion in tax cuts. Now that's what we'd call REAL stimulus, and the economy (not to mention the equity markets) would boom.

Hope+growth+opportunity=FREEDOM!

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-01-25 11:29PM | 0 recs
Don't forget

eliminate the department of education and the epa.  maybe the dol and eeoc too.  get rid of the death tax and the capital gains tax.  BOOM!!  FREEDOM!  FUCK YEAH!!  obama needs to make a new contract with america y'all!

by JJE 2010-01-26 12:10AM | 4 recs
Nobody's getting rid of anything!

Sheesh. They are proposing capping the increase in growth the year after next.

And running a huge deficit isn't the greatest idea either.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 01:39AM | 0 recs
RE: Nobody's getting rid of anything!

I believe jje was merely being sarcastic and ribbing bjj's "Underpants+????=Profit/Freedom" voodoo.

by vecky 2010-01-26 01:43AM | 1 recs
RE: Bill Clinton got the deficit under control,

Clinton, of course, had a big tax increase in his first budget.  And yes, the economy did explode.

The idea that government spending is somehow crowding out private investment during a deep recession sounds economically illiterate to me... like, on a Larry Kudlow level.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 02:18AM | 1 recs
Take a hard right

The moral of MA should have been shore up the base, instead he took a right turn. This and the endorsement of the so-called deficit reduction panel that is a sure-fire prescription for cutting entitlement programs. Not long ago Huffington Post ran a piece ridiculing Harold Ford for endorsing this panel:

Let's just take a look at his op-ed in today's New York Times, where he comes foursquare behind the Beltway's latest political hack idea: the blue-ribbon deficit commission

But TPM reports that this panel has the backing of Obama himself:

On Saturday, President Obama came out with explicit support for the proposal, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), just as Republicans were pulling back from their early support. Meanwhile, progressive groups and other supporters of entitlement programs, like the AARP, are protesting the proposal, saying that such a commission would limit congressional debate, and shield lawmakers from the political fallout of altering popular social services.

You know judging by the action the WH is in all out panic bipartisan schtick mode, forget the oil cloth, "bed-wetting" on this scale requires storm drains. What a joke this administration is becoming!! No policy, no vision, no message control, no sense of solidarity or fight, just one knee-jerk reaction after another. Principles be damned!!

by tarheel74 2010-01-25 11:31PM | 1 recs
Take a hard right

The moral of MA should have been shore up the base, instead he took a right turn. This and the endorsement of the so-called deficit reduction panel that is a sure-fire prescription for cutting entitlement programs. Not long ago Huffington Post ran a piece ridiculing Harold Ford for endorsing this panel:

Let's just take a look at his op-ed in today's New York Times, where he comes foursquare behind the Beltway's latest political hack idea: the blue-ribbon deficit commission

But TPM reports that this panel has the backing of Obama himself:

On Saturday, President Obama came out with explicit support for the proposal, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), just as Republicans were pulling back from their early support. Meanwhile, progressive groups and other supporters of entitlement programs, like the AARP, are protesting the proposal, saying that such a commission would limit congressional debate, and shield lawmakers from the political fallout of altering popular social services.

You know judging by the action the WH is in all out panic bipartisan schtick mode, forget the oil cloth, "bed-wetting" on this scale requires storm drains. What a joke this administration is becoming!! No policy, no vision, no message control, no sense of solidarity or fight, just one knee-jerk reaction after another. Principles be damned!!

by tarheel74 2010-01-25 11:31PM | 1 recs
He was a great actor on the campaign trail.

I suppose the jury must still remain out regarding whether he is really not all that bright, not all that brave, not all that concerned with the American People, or not laying all of his cards on the table.

I, for one, don't have all that much confidence in the last of these possibilities.

The causal universe seems to want the American People punished. Maybe it's because 29,000 kids die every day from poverty in our world, and collectively we couldn't care less. Maybe it's because we are unwilling to do anything about global warming.

The great irony here, of course, is that the causal universe compels that we act one way or the other, and then rewards of punishes for what we were causally and completely bound to do.

Go figure.

 

by Georgeo57 2010-01-25 11:36PM | 0 recs
hey, its incremental improvement

First he steals McCain's healthcare proposals, and now he's stealing McCain's economic proposals.

However, I'd rather him be following McCain, than his continuation of following Bush's combined economic disaster of deficit-busting Gov't growth alongside massive corprate welfare-- I'll take the mild improvement.

But as an aside. Sotomayor is one hell of a supreme court justice. I listend to the SCOTUS arguments on CSPAN while I had to drive up to pick up a nephew that's going with us to CR yesterday, and she was phenomenal in the Q & A. Obama would make a gread judge, but as a President, he's not very impressive.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-25 11:45PM | 1 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

"The old Obama used to mock this kind of gimmick."

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-25 11:58PM | 1 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

I'm referring the the actual substance (which ain't much):

The freeze would cover the agencies and programs for which Congress allocates specific budgets each year, including air traffic control, farm subsidies, education, nutrition and national parks.

But it would exempt security-related budgets for the Pentagon, foreign aid, the Veterans Administration and homeland security, as well as the entitlement programs that make up the biggest and fastest-growing part of the federal budget: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-26 12:03AM | 0 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

Some of those idiotic TSA measures(part of the Homeland Security budget, I assume) which micromanage trivial stuff while overlooking some big gaffes can be eliminated. Those savings could be used for our underfunded air traffic control.

Farm Subsidies.  No biggie here as they help a lot of rich corps.

Education: SAY WHAT??? Is Obama crazy ?

Nutrition: ?????? Preventive health care is important.

National Parks: I do not know about you. But our land is one of our most treasured assets in the world. Giving people jobs to manage such unique vastness of these parks is money well spent.

Let's look at the ones untouched:
1) Pentagon: Geez.
2) Foreign aid: double geez. more money that gets wasted by corrupt foreign officials.
3) VA: No problem here.  It does make sense politicially and morally to not limit funding for this.
4) Homeland Security: Ughhh. Spend more money on improving intelligence data analysis instead of just data gathering, but I would cut back everything else behind the scenes on such a redundant agency borne out of instilling fear in the electorate.

by Pravin 2010-01-26 02:18PM | 1 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

If you look at that list, it's all stuff Republicans are likely to exempt. And you can guess who will be in control of Congress in 2011.

by vecky 2010-01-26 05:52PM | 0 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

so the answer is to give in years ahead of time because the Dems will just give the GOP what they want anyways years later?

 

come on now....

by jeopardy 2010-01-27 09:48AM | 0 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

It's so gimmicky that it does not pass the smell test. Who is he kidding? I thought Plouffe warned the Dems against bed-wetting, maybe he should start the message at the WH.

by tarheel74 2010-01-26 12:29AM | 1 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

This is what's called a pre-emptive attack. Congress could just ignore Obama, but it's completely likely that in 2011 Congress will be dominated by the GOP & Blue Dogs. So a big fight over the budget is brewing anyway... better to frame the debate now rather than have it done for you. This is a direct result of MA.

by vecky 2010-01-26 12:46AM | 1 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

No, they've been planning this since last fall when they decided to go into stomp the hippie mode...

by LordMike 2010-01-26 02:29AM | 2 recs
RE: hey, its incremental improvement

The writing was on the wall last fall too, when the hippies stayed home and the tea-baggers swarmed the streets.

by vecky 2010-01-26 05:53PM | 0 recs
I have been reading a lot of Presidential History lately.

The one year reviews for several succesful Presidents, notably Lincoln, wouldn't have been to rosy. FDR also suffered great criticism and backlash.

I'm not saying Obama equals either of these men in greatness, but the hysterics on the left, epitomied by this shameful diary (which even confuses Herbert Hoover with FDR), are reaching new heights.

This past month, we have seen a President who is listening. The ansers may not be exactly what the netroots wants, but who is to say we are right?

Big mistakes have been made, but it is still way too early. I'm not ready to throw in the towel until late 2011-2012. To do so earlier ignores quite a bit of American History.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-25 11:59PM | 1 recs
RE: I have been reading a lot of Presidential History lately.

I don't see how anyone can be suprised by this. The writing was on the wall and confirmed by the MA results. Blue-dogs and the GOP are going to dominate the next congress.

by vecky 2010-01-26 12:49AM | 1 recs
RE: I have been reading a lot of Presidential History lately.

Yea, this "time to pay attendion with some words to the deficit" was telegraphed many months ago, and its not surprising to anyone that was paying attention.

Their next move will come in late July/early August, and it will be geared to put the Republicans on the defensive. But for now, their agenda shows its time to coddle up to the Republicans to make them sort of soft.

Its enough to make even the most jaded reach new heights of cynicism...  congrats to Gibbs, Axlerod, Plouffe & Rahm.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-26 12:55AM | 0 recs
RE: I have been reading a lot of Presidential History lately.

It's not about the GOP - it's also party branding. Despite being the party of record deficits (Reagan and Bush) the GOP is slow to shake off it's "fiscal conservative" reputation, while the Democrats well earned reputation for managed budgets (Clinton) is extremely quick to disappear in the face of "tax and spend" accussations. So not allowing any further slippage of the democrats "fiscal responsibility" is important given the electorates short memory.

Think a Democrat, any Democrat, can push the Cheney line "Deficits don't matter"? If that was the case HCR would have been easy, just put it all on the national debit card and lie about the costs.

 

by vecky 2010-01-26 01:24AM | 1 recs
Interesting

Is this a wedge against the GOP?

I really cringe when I hear anything to the contrary of making the case fo increased government expansion.

you know, Al Gore said that they're for the powerful and we're for the people. Barack Obama said that we're the party of fiscal responsibility. If I had to take my choice of which theme was betrayed in this first year, I'd rather it be Obama's than Gore's.

*sigh*

I hope they know what they are doing with this message. It isn't warming a fire in my heart.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 01:44AM | 0 recs
RE: Interesting

I can say that the leftwing-blogosphere demanding increased regular appropriations while the country is still absorbing the bush defecits is fairly out-of-touch with the populace at large. BO promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term. How is he going to do that without some sort of cuts to spending. Even a full repeal of the Bush tax cuts (even on those making <200k) would only put a tiny hole in our deficit.

by vecky 2010-01-26 05:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Interesting

The way to balance the budget is, first and foremost, to get out of the recession so the economy grows and tax receipts go up.  Not only is there no economic rationale for this proposal, they're not even trying to pretend there's an economic rationale.

If deficit spending is the correct economic policy in a recession, then the proper way to govern is to do it, not to take an opinion poll and say "oh well, 54% of voters want spending cuts right now so I guess we have to do it even though it's the wrong policy for the economy."  Pander on school uniforms or something, but do the right thing on the stuff that actually matters.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 06:27PM | 1 recs
RE: Interesting

I'm sure the admin can walk and chew gum at the same time. Get the economy growing again while also making prudent bugetary choices. None of the money being frozen is part of the stimulus anyway. Individual agency budgets are not being arbitarily cut either - rather it's simply the entire pot that is being frozen - it's still a very large pot 477$ billion is not something to sneeze at.

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:08PM | 0 recs
If Obama doesn't get Health Care Reform passed

and we lose control of Congress, then I believe Obama will be the worst President of my lifetime.

Why?

Because he would have destroyed the Democratic Party for a Generation allowing the GOP to complete their destruction of the country.

I hoping I will wake up to find out this past year has been a bad dream.

by srliberalguy 2010-01-26 02:15AM | 1 recs
Since the Right Wing whackos have taken 'Tea-Party'

May I suggest that you start a new wing of the Democratic Party and call it

'The Pony Expess'

 

by QTG 2010-01-26 06:33AM | 0 recs
This is insane

I doubt that it will really happen. But it's a stupid idea that reaks of pandering (yet again) to the right-wing who will keep on calling the guy a Kenyan and attacking him for putting mustard instead of ketchup on his burgers.

I just don't understand the reflexive need to keep kicking your own voters in the balls.

 

 

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 08:06AM | 2 recs
Spending Freeze

Is this Hoover or FDR in 1937? Haven't heard the word Jobs in connection with this plan. After failing to lead and push his party on the stimulus and healthcare, if he does not improve the job situation, Obama will be a mediocre one term president.


homer   www.altara.blogspot.com

by altara 2010-01-26 08:20AM | 0 recs
Lets see

Hillary was for the individual mandate, McCain was for the spending freeze and the "Cadillac Tax".

Why did I work to get Obama elected instead of them?

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 08:33AM | 2 recs
Question

Is there anybody who really believes that if the spending freeze comes, it will target powerful interests (farmer's subsidies) instead of falling on the poor and disenfranchised like always?

 

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 08:35AM | 1 recs
RE: Question

This is a gimmick, plain and simple and it does not fool anyone. It's unfortunate to see that instead of outlining long-term fiscal policies this president is outlining gimmicks. What next? Mission accomplished banner? FYI read Bob Herbert's column today, where he outlines what he, and for that matter many of the progressives, calls Barack Obama's growing credibility gap.

by tarheel74 2010-01-26 08:40AM | 1 recs
MyDD gets some love

The reviews are in and President Hoover McCain Obama’s hope and changey spending freeze has not been well received.

  • OpenLeft: “This is Bush-style idiocy.”
  • Americablog: “I guess Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson will think it’s a good idea.”
  • 538: “…on par with John McCain’s “suspending my campaign” gaffe.”
  • Orange Satan: “…unalloyed idiocy.”
  • MyDD: “Barack Obama may as well hold up a big sign that says, “I want Democrats to lose Congress.”
  • Atrios: “We are ruled by idiots.”
  • DeLong: “…a perfect example of the fundamental unseriousness of Barack Obama and his administration.”
  • Digby: “We are all neo-Hooverists now.”
  • Yglesias: “I suspect this initiative was deliberately leaked to progressive bloggers in an effort to get denounced by the left and I don’t want to give them the satisfaction.”

http://firedoglake.com/2010/01/26/early-morning-swim-special-mind-numblingy-stupid-spending-freeze-edition/

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 08:51AM | 0 recs
With a link to Liar Blog Fake, we're supposed to feel vindicated?

All this does is further my manufactured outrage theory.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 12:43PM | 1 recs
RE: With a link to Liar Blog Fake, we're supposed to feel vindicated?

it's a list of links and quotes from the lefty blogs.

But if you can't argue the point, attack the source that linked to other sources, I guess. Good one. 

 

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 02:06PM | 1 recs
What point?

That this is just manufactured outrage? That this is a political gimmick to drive a wedge in the GOP and that it isn't much of a freeze? I think that's been covered in this thread pretty thoroughly.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 03:29PM | 0 recs
RE: What point?

The administration (and its supporters) must incredibly naive if they think this silly political gimmick will drive a wedge into the GOP. No, this is more like a concession to the conserva-Dems, or worse a token lip-service towards the same failed bipartisanship meme.

by tarheel74 2010-01-26 03:36PM | 1 recs
Ha ha ha!

by Hammer1001 2010-01-26 09:13AM | 0 recs
by Hammer1001 2010-01-26 09:16AM | 0 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

The real ha ha ha is the fact that there are too many bloody polls on races six to nine months from now and very few polls on the tax referendum in Oregon today and the Illinois races next week. Rasmussen, PPP and others have their priorities screwed up!

by Boilermaker 2010-01-26 09:20AM | 0 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-26 09:35AM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-26 09:36AM | 2 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

Nice to see you grabbed that image from FDL Jerome.... See where you're going with this. 

Am I missing something beyond a premature sense of retribution?

Obama is proposing a 2 per cent cut in spending for next year - 2011. Not a balanced budget, or a reversion of the stimulus. Gordon Brown is proposing the same here in the UK. Yet, though the Labour Party is significantly to the left of the Democratic Party, he is not being met by howls of traitor because of it.

Bizarre. On this level, I really don't get US democratic politics: practically centrist, theoretically leftist, emotionally dysfunctional 

by brit 2010-01-26 12:25PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

I don't think someone is "emotionally dysfunctional" because they don't believe in cutting school lunch programs to fund continuing increases in the defense budget.  I don't think someone is "emotionally dysfunctional" because they have concerns about ignoring the economic history of one's country in order to repeat the same well-documented mistake made by FDR in 1937.  I don't think that kind of rhetoric is helpful, at all, and I'm not the least bit surprised by anyone who expected Democratic priorities from a Democratic President.

Perhaps the UK isn't dealing with an outgoing administration that created a massive deficit by slashing taxes on the wealthiest, and thus doesn't have the same urgent need for balance to be restored.  When Bruce Bartlett, the conservative economist who wrote Reagan's tax cut, says that it's clearly too soon to start cutting spending in anticipation of a recovery, I'm pretty sure he's not being a hysterical leftist.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 12:51PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

Not to mention Gordon Brown has been ahead of the curve. In November 2009, he proposed a transaction tax for banks only to be opposed by...wait for it...the Obama administration. He has also shown no qualms about recapitalizing failing institutions like Lloyd's of London or the Bank of Scotland, instead of giving them backdoor deals like this administration done for AIG and Citi. At one point a gimmick has to be called a gimmick, there can be no sugar-coating, because this is not a serious policy initiative.

by tarheel74 2010-01-26 01:00PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

At one point a gimmick has to be called a gimmick, there can be no sugar-coating, because this is not a serious policy initiative.

If this is just a gimmick, not going to change much, then why the outrage?

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 03:40PM | 0 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

Having lived in London for a larger portion of 2008 I can tell you that Gordon Browns handling of the financial crises rivals only that of Bush. Maybe you'll want to check in how much of a pay-out the RBS exec took off with in return for the governments "nationalization". Brown is on his way out.

by vecky 2010-01-26 06:02PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

I did type a reply to this - but it's lost on the software.

The comparison with Hoover is clearly inane and provocative 'rhetoric'. You want to make this about FDR, then go right ahead, but how can reasoned voices be heard when the owner of this site is troll baiting.

By 2011 it may be time to cut the deficit. Personally I'd prefer Obama to do that by reversing tax cuts, but it seems the American public, having already punished the Dems for HCR, would punish them further for a tax hike. 

I don't know why this can't be discussed without people jumping on assumptions. I call this emotional dysfunction. Call it rhetoric if you like. 

by brit 2010-01-26 01:26PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

Every poll shows the electorate is hugely in favor of increasing taxes on the upper brackets, so I have no idea where you get your conclusion that the Democrats would be punished for enacting a tax hike.

This is a subset of a larger issue, which is that I vote for Democrats because I expect them to pursue Democratic priorities, as do many other voters.  After a while you get sick of hearing, "We'd like to pursue Democratic priorities, but it turns out the Republican priorities poll better, so we're going to pursue those instead."  Of course in this case, as I said, they don't even poll better.  You'll get much better political results by raising taxes on the rich than you will by cutting Head Start.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 01:35PM | 2 recs
The public is in favor of many things today

Buttomorrow, we're tax and spend liberals.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 03:41PM | 1 recs
RE: The public is in favor of many things today

And of course, the most important thing is not governing the country well, but governing it so as to minimize the chance that the Republicans will call us names, which of course they will do anyway.

So the public says they're in favor of more taxes on the rich, but if we actually raised taxes on the rich, we'd get called tax and spend liberals and we just know the public would buy into it and punish us for implementing the thing they said they supported, so therefore we can't do it.  This is a great exercise in rationalizing bad behavior.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 03:59PM | 1 recs
RE: The public is in favor of many things today

Ahhh, see the "emotional dysfunction". The Bush tax cuts, while giving a the largest peice of the pie to the wealthy, also did include some middle-class tax cuts. The upper tax bracket (200k and up) will go back up to pre-Bush levels, those below are sacrosant, pledged and promised in the campaign.

Revoking the entire Bush tax cuts will reduce the defieict from 1.3 trillion to 1 trillion. Raising taxes, even on the middle-class, will only raise so much revenue. Drastic times call for drastic measures. And anyway the populace will have their chance to vote on this issue in 2010.

by vecky 2010-01-26 06:11PM | 1 recs
Also, hitting the nail on the head

This is a subset of a larger issue, which is that I vote for Democrats because I expect them to pursue Democratic priorities, as do many other voters.

This, I agree with 100%. If we had a public option, or other progressive initiatives from the WH, no one would care much. This issue gains traction because people ont he left are already upset.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 03:48PM | 0 recs
RE: Also, hitting the nail on the head

I think liberals could be convinced to bite the bullet if they felt this was a tradeoff for getting other stuff they want, sure.  But the belief that it's a terrible idea to implement a spending freeze in the middle of a recession is a basic policy belief of many progressives that easily predates their dissatisfaction with the health care bill or anything else.  I do not believe in any scenario that "no one would care much" about a freeze on discretionary spending.

And lest we forget, the administration chose to put this news out last night with a pretty goshdarned conservative frame.  I dunno if Matt Yglesias is right that they were intentionally trying to provoke an angry reaction from the liberal blogs, but I'm confident the presentation was calculated.  Can't really blame people for taking it at face value even if it seems like they're trying to walk it back now in a nuance-y way.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 04:10PM | 1 recs
oh for Chrissakes

he is NOT freezing spending in the middle of a recession...he's doing it beginning almost two years FROM NOW when, from all accounts, there will NO LONGER be a recession.

by ND22 2010-01-26 05:04PM | 1 recs
RE: oh for Chrissakes

I don't know who "from all accounts" is but I hope he gives stock tips.

Go explain your superior knowledge of the economy to Bruce Bartlett and Paul Krugman, both of whom agree that it is clearly too soon to start cutting back on spending.  How about if we get out of the recession first and then start playing the deficit hawk game, as opposed to acting like we can predict the future.  The fundamentals of the economy continue to really really suck.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 06:23PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

But does one become "emotionally dysfunctional" when one sees stuff like "cutting school lunches" where no actual cuts have been proposed? Clearly there is some sort of disconnect there, and it's not coming from a rational source.

by vecky 2010-01-26 06:05PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

Oh god. Every time I post a comment it disappears...

Anyway, I couldn't agree with you more. Something very disturbing is going on, with the left emulating the emotional rhetoric of the right. We're supposed to be the rational ones, remember? It's also very sad to see the blogosphere, which I once had high hopes for replacing the MSM, copying their tones of high drama, outrage, and betrayal.


by brit 2010-01-26 06:28PM | 0 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

I agree with both you and Vecky that it is a bit early to talk about starving children.

However, it comes from a place of deep distrust of this president's (and Congress's) ability to do the right thing to the detriment of powerful special interests.

In all seriousness, after the bank bailouts and subsequent executive bonuses, after the backroom deals with Big Pharma, after the Insurance giveaways, after rescuing the automakers, after the AIG scandels, after Summers and Geitner, after the special exemption for the unions, after exempting Defense spending and Homeland Security from the freeze, etc....why the hell would ANYBODY think that stuff like farm subsidies are going to get cut instead of help for the relatively powerless?

Really, it takes a gigantic leap of faith to think that the correct things will be cut in face of all the evidence that points towards the protection of powerful special interests instead of protection for the common man.

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 07:20PM | 0 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

Yup... I agree with you on the cycncism. 2010 will be a "throw the bums out" election. Ofcourse the new bums we will get will not be any better than the old ones.

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:12PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

of course they won't be any better. they'll be worse.

the problem is that we are screwed with either "bad" or "worse"

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 09:22PM | 0 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

We're not going to have a great conversation if you're going to accuse me of emotional dysfunction and a lack of rationality.

The way this proposal was rolled out last night, by the infamous "senior administration officials," was that it was going to be a blanket, across-the-board freeze on discretionary spending, with the only exceptions being defense, homeland security, and a couple others.  There's absolutely nothing irrational or emotionally dysfunctional about reacting to that the exact same way we reacted when John McCain proposed basically the same thing during the campaign, which is to say, with shock and ridicule.

What we're hearing today is that the whole "freeze" framing was a complete myth to grab the headlines and instead it's just going to be your basic budget proposal that purports to be lean, with some funds shifted in the direction of greater job creation.  Now if that's the truth of the matter then I agree with you, let's wait and see what actually gets cut and maybe we'll have complaints and maybe we won't.  But even if that's the case, I don't blame Paul Krugman or anyone else for losing their shit over what was at best a dishonest rollout and at worst a disastrous policy for the country.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 07:26PM | 0 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

I think the original article was rather innocous. It merely stated that Obama will freeze discretionary spending at 2010 levels for 3 years:

" The cuts would target "duplicative," "ineffective" and "inefficient" spending withing government, the official said on a conference call with reporters.

"This is not a blunt, across-the-board freeze," the official said, adding that some agencies will see spending increases while some will see spending cuts as the total remains constant."

Was the exact quote. Yet many seem to have read into that - cutting school lunches, this is just like McCain, oh no he's cutting spending! We all can agree the government wastes a lot of money. 8 years of Republican rule have resulted in bloated agencies that provide inefficent services. It's not like there is not spare cash floating in the system. If this money can be made to work harder all the better. And suruely everyone can rejoice that the Department of the Treasury will be among those cut?

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:19PM | 1 recs
RE: Ha ha ha!

You are not going anywhere with joining the group that thinks FDL is some sort of pariah. Its one of the best progressive blogs and group of writers around, more power to them.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-27 12:20AM | 1 recs
Which is it?

The first or the second picture? I think those two pictures together sort of sum up my feelings on this.

Reality will of course fall somewhere in the middle; it is as much not Hoover as it is not 11-dimensional chess.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 12:45PM | 1 recs
Gutless

God, Obama is a coward of the highest order. I am ashamed to have supported this guy.  And Evan Bayh has become my most hated senator since Lieberman.

 

Why not cut spending on that idiotic TSA or defense? Our terrorism related spending is better spent on intelligence. Aren't defense contractors a special interest of sorts? Why spend MY TAX DOLLARS on defense programs that I do not want. I will adopt the right wing talking poitnt stoo. I do not want my money to subsidize defense contractors. I do not want MY TAX MONEY to go to comfort some cowards insecurity about terrorists. It is not my problem. So do not spend my tax money on useless wars that are of no use to me.

 

Obama should learn to SELL progressive programs he articulated dyuring his program. Instead, he just gives up instead of learning how to intelligently market those programs with easy to understand talking points. Talk about how crime can go down if more people are doing something productive through stimulus programs and not sitting idly with no money. Use right wing tone to sell progressive policies if you must.

by Pravin 2010-01-26 09:49AM | 1 recs
RE: Gutless

I agree.  I was reluctant to support him in the primary because I had seen in back off from the right thing when faced with opposition from conservatives.  He did it when he said that lives were wasted in Iraq and then backed down.  He did it when he talked about how Palestinians have been shafted and then backed down.

by TheUnknown285 2010-01-26 10:54AM | 0 recs
all part of the DIM strategery

in order to secure votes from the right (you know, the folks who disapprove of his policies in a nearly unanimous fashion), obama is simply moving to the right in order to reach out a hand for bipartisanship, in order to bring about change (the change in this case being, from the progressive candidate he portrayed into (either) a neoconservative corporate lawyer blue dog DIM (who he apparently is) OR a bloody idiot... brilliant hey?  

by thelonegunman 2010-01-26 10:51AM | 1 recs
Paul Krugman speaks
Obama Liquidates Himself

A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?

It’s appalling on every level

It’s bad economics...

It’s bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead...

And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008...

 

Right now, this looks like pure disaster.

by srliberalguy 2010-01-26 12:50PM | 0 recs
RE: Paul Krugman speaks

Here is the link to Paul Krugman's view:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

by srliberalguy 2010-01-26 12:52PM | 0 recs
It's so easy for Krugman: He doesn't have to run a country.

Just keep putting ideas out there that don't have to be bounded by practicality. Krugman wanted to let the banks fail. Krugman wanted trillions more in stimulus. The problem is, neither of those are practical. I don't know who is a bigger enemy here?

I disagree with this freeze gimmick.

But I disagree more with Krugman's pandering to the manufactured outrage on the left.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 03:33PM | 1 recs
RE: It's so easy for Krugman: He doesn't have to run a country.

This argument that no one who objects to the proposal is arguing in good faith is extremely annoying.  Nope, there is no one who honestly believes that it's bad policy to cut spending while there's a recession going on; everyone on the blogs is just pretending to be outraged, and Krugman is just pandering.

You seem to have divided the world up into two categories; those who support Obama, for whom everything is of course just fine, and those who don't support him, who are just looking for excuses to bash him at any cost.  And of course, anyone who criticizes Obama automatically establishes himself as a member of the latter group, and since we don't need to take seriously the criticisms of anyone in the latter group, there you have it.

And of course we have the syndrome, which I've remarked on before, where anything Obama doesn't do must have been politically impossible or else he would have done it.  Krugman's proposals on the banks (which you inaccurately characterize as "he wanted to let them fail") are a prime example.  Since Obama didn't implement his ideas, they must not have been possible.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 03:57PM | 2 recs
Jumping in here

...because this software sucks, and I can't seem to reply upthread. You talk about good faith

You seem to have divided the world up into two categories; those who support Obama, for whom everything is of course just fine, and those who don't support him, who are just looking for excuses to bash him at any cost.

I think this kind of division is fatuous as you do. It's not because I supported Obama's presidency that I understand the limits of deficit funding. 

But it's hard to get around these antimonies when you upbraid others for not taking arguments in good faith, and yet fail to see that the title of this diary, and the proprietors dual posting of an Obama/Hoover image, just looks exactly like bad faith, and an 'excuse to bash him at any cost'

The economics of this are worth discussing. The personality politics of resentment, less so

by brit 2010-01-26 06:17PM | 0 recs
RE: Jumping in here

I think if the proposal on the table was what administration officials told the NYT last night, which apparently is the farthest thing from reality according to today's set of administration officials, the comparison would be wholly apt.  I mean, you have this Nobel Prize-winning economist who has been 100% consistent in supporting the Keynesian theory that says it's disastrous to try and balance the budget in the middle of a recession, and then there's an announcement that this administration is going to try and balance the budget in the middle of a recession.  What the heck do you expect him to say?

The comparison to Hoover is inapt only because the reality of Hoover's presidency does not, in my opinion, look anything like the popular conception of it.  But the comparison to FDR's disastrous decisions of 1937 is entirely appropriate, in my view.  When you announce a policy that is directly contrary to the way progressives understand the world to work, you ought to expect progressives to get a little angry about it.  They chose to roll it out in the way they did and the reaction is completely understandable.

The difference between you and me is I see a policy proposal that is anathema to progressives and that would have engendered virulent opposition if ANYONE had proposed it, and you see "the personality politics of resentment."  This is how we get to a place where even someone like Paul Krugman, who ought to be utterly unimpeachable, is regarded with a jaundiced eye because he had the audacity to make policy criticisms of Obama during the primary.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 07:34PM | 1 recs
RE: Jumping in here

Again with the assumptions:

The difference between you and me is I see a policy proposal that is anathema to progressives and that would have engendered virulent opposition if ANYONE had proposed it, and you see "the personality politics of resentment."  This is how we get to a place where even someone like Paul Krugman, who ought to be utterly unimpeachable, is regarded with a jaundiced eye because he had the audacity to make policy criticisms of Obama during the primary.

Did I mention Krugman or impugn him as part of my reply to you? I think you've confused me with someone else.

I don't actually think that any economist or otherwise who comes out all guns blazing in a morning column is unimpeachable. But that's not got anything to do with Krugman's position in the Primaries. You'll note economists who supported Obama then are critical too. So I think you're a victim of your own diagnosis there.

As I also pointed, out I have no problems with comparison with FDR. It's an interesting analogy - but fails close inspection. You talk about 'balancing the budget' during a recession. But this minimal freeze, thought it's not something I'm enamoured, is not doing anything like that.

You've made another assumption.

I have not problem with Keynesian economics, having been brought up on them for most my life. Though I also ought to point out that Keynes himself warned that reflationary policies should be trimmed and re-examined once recession was over, and to make sure expenditure wasn't concentrated on investment rather than consumption.

What I do have a problem with - as I said at the start of this thread in my comment to Jerome, is naming Obama after probably the worst President of the 20th Century - Hoover. It's premature, tendentious and - if someone (i.e. the diarist and Jerome) is trying to persuade fellow democrats of a valid political argument - exactly the right way to alienate them.

by brit 2010-01-26 08:52PM | 0 recs
Jumping in here

...because this software sucks, and I can't seem to reply upthread. You talk about good faith

You seem to have divided the world up into two categories; those who support Obama, for whom everything is of course just fine, and those who don't support him, who are just looking for excuses to bash him at any cost.

I think this kind of division is fatuous as you do. It's not because I supported Obama's presidency that I understand the limits of deficit funding. 

But it's hard to get around these antimonies when you upbraid others for not taking arguments in good faith, and yet fail to see that the title of this diary, and the proprietors dual posting of an Obama/Hoover image, just looks exactly like bad faith, and an 'excuse to bash him at any cost'

The economics of this are worth discussing. The personality politics of resentment, less so

by brit 2010-01-26 06:17PM | 0 recs
RE: It's so easy for Krugman: He doesn't have to run a country.

Three categories really: Those who support Obama based on his campaign and record, Those who opposse Obama because they hope for Edwards or Kuinich to be President and act differently, and those who oppose Obama becasue they can.

Witness the "outrage", outrage, where everyone is talking about spending cuts even though none have been proposed on budgets that were already increased at way above inflation last year.

As for nationalizing the bank - we can disgaree on that one. But I guess we can agree that nationalizing Citi would not have made the bank any more popular today. Sort of like GM. So the government would be left with a deeply unpopular bank which it is responsible for. It's a win-win right there.

by vecky 2010-01-26 06:21PM | 1 recs
It's the same old dichotomy

People who feel one way about Obama will see one thing, and people who feel another way about Obama will see another thing.

The issue here isn't whether this is a good policy politically or economically. For the record, I think it is neither.

The issue here for me is the hyperbole. My exception was at the rather poor quality front page diary, echo chambering manufactured outrage and melodrama. One mist understand Hooverism to understand that this policy bears little resemblance. And as Brit notes above:

Obama is proposing a 2 per cent cut in spending for next year - 2011. Not a balanced budget, or a reversion of the stimulus. Gordon Brown is proposing the same here in the UK. Yet, though the Labour Party is significantly to the left of the Democratic Party, he is not being met by howls of traitor because of it.

So what's the difference?

It's not that people here see either no good or no evil in Obama. As you stated above, progressives already feel shafted, and I think this rubs salt in the wounds.

My worry is that if we become hysterical and lose perspective, we're just circling up for the firing squad.

 

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-26 06:23PM | 1 recs
RE: It's the same old dichotomy

so if it doesn't really do anything (besides tell the country that the GOP is correct on economics), why is the administration doing/saying this stuff?

Again, they seem to think that whenever they piss off a progressive, they get a return of more than one vote from the center or the right. Do you think they are correct about that?

Is is enough to make up for the fact that it's the left that supplied a lot of the groundwork and enthusiasm? Is it enough to make up for Obama looking like political oportunist when he flips to positions he ridiculed during the campaign? Is it enough to make up for having crappy-to neutral-policies for the country? Is it enough to make up for the collateral damage to the Democratic Party?

Some of us have suspected for a few months now that Obama is far more focused on positioning himself for political gain/protecting his bipartisan image than he is on helping out others (the country, the party, Democratic Ideals and platforms, etc)

 

 

by jeopardy 2010-01-26 07:44PM | 1 recs
RE: It's the same old dichotomy

The Democratic party is useless, they can't even get on the same page with HCR despite it being a fundamental platform for 60 years. What loyalty do we have there? They sell out to special interests and corporations just as quick as Republicans and are only slightly less stinky.

OTOH there is no real progressive movement in this country. I read the net-roots were turning on Ron Wyden of all people. Wyden... what do we stand for...

 

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:29PM | 1 recs
RE: It's the same old dichotomy

The Democratic party is useless, they can't even get on the same page with HCR despite it being a fundamental platform for 60 years. What loyalty do we have there? They sell out to special interests and corporations just as quick as Republicans and are only slightly less stinky.

OTOH there is no real progressive movement in this country. I read the net-roots were turning on Ron Wyden of all people. Wyden... what do we stand for...

 

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:29PM | 0 recs
WTF

I voted for Obama in the Primary and in the General and I thanked god Obama won the Election. But I am disappointed in Obama's Job Performance so far.

Why?

Because I believe he can be a Great President during a period of our history which we need a Great President.

Let's face it so far Obama has been average at best, but I still believe Obama can be Great, so I am demanding him to be Great. Better than Bush or McCain is not good enough at this moment of our history.

by srliberalguy 2010-01-26 07:05PM | 2 recs
RE: WTF

What would you have him do?

by vecky 2010-01-26 09:31PM | 0 recs
RE: WTF

An example of what many of us thought was possible with Obama:

Greg Sargent sees Obama's shift as a body blow to the "larger argument" of liberalism:

Obama defenders will point out that he’s always been a pragmatist. But fairly or not, liberals saw in him someone who would use his extraordinary communications skills to expand the field of what’s pragmatically possible, to move public opinion — not someone who would ever play by the other side’s rhetorical rules. Each time he falls short of this ideal, people grow less willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

by jeopardy 2010-01-27 09:51AM | 2 recs
Perfect Answer

I was going to list a whole bunch of action items, but your post says it better than I ever could have. President Obama has the skills to change what has been pragmatically possible since Reagan, but so far he has refused to do so.

In times of trouble Great Presidents change the course of history.

While Obama has promised change, he has only reinforced the status quo so far. This is not the stuff of Great Presidents.

 

by srliberalguy 2010-01-27 02:10PM | 0 recs
Obama promised no pork, but the stimulus had 9,000 earmarks!

Here's Obama's promise: NO EARMARKS   http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/06/obama.stimulus/     Right.     Until we get more folks like Flake, Coburn and McCain in there, the government waste of our money will go on and on and on and on and on and on. $22,000 toilets, guardrails around dry lakes! http://www.stimuluscigars.com/whatsburning just look at this list of OUR MONEY BEING WASTED! It's a travesty!

by machall 2010-01-27 02:07AM | 0 recs
Fact is

That Obama really hasnt held true to anything he said during the campaign. The change he talked about leading isnt even on the radar. When you surround yourself with the political establishment and continue to allow the tenure of Geitner and Bernanke to continue, it cant change. Fact is, at this point I think the guy is full of hot air. He connected with people during the campaign due to the change mantra, but in practice he doesnt back it up. He isnt connecting with people anymore. He comes across as stiff, technical and cold at a time when Americans are hurting economically. We would have been better off nominating Hillary Clinton, who at least had the backbone and political sense to get things done. No, I didnt support her, but yes, I wish I had.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-01-27 04:43PM | 0 recs
RE: Barack Herbert Hoover Obama

Great artice at CNN.com....republican he may be...but he is dead on

 

http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/01/26/feehery.advice.for.president/index.html?hpt=C2

 

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-01-27 04:54PM | 0 recs

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