by Mario Rizzo
The Wall Street Journal print edition has a headline today: Budget Freeze is Proposed. At first I thought it was going to be about some Republican plan. But the first sentence said: “President Obama intends to propose a three-year freeze in spending …” What? Did The Onion take over the WSJ? Is it April Fools Day?
Then the sentence continues, the freeze will be “in spending that accounts for one-sixth of the federal budget — a move that is meant to quell rising concern over the deficit but whose practical impact will be muted.” We further read that, if enacted and (by implication) not violated over the next three years it will save $250 billion over the next decade.
What? A three-year freeze saves $250 billion over a decade ? First, of all, that is just $25 billion per year. Second, it depends on whether, after the freeze is over, the next Administration decides to make up for the years of no growth.
Where will the savings come from? Social Security and Medicare are untouched (presumably also Medicaid as the states are going nuts over their shortfalls here). The savings will come vaguely from the Departments of Housing and Urban Development. Justice, Energy, Transportation, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services — areas that Obama requested a 7.3% increase in spending last year.
He thinks Americans are fools. Yes, many of them are. But not enough of them for this new policy.
Our readers here know that (1) the whole rationale of Team Obama’s stance during this recession has been to stimulate spending to stimulate emloyment — either directly or by restoring “confidence;” (2) the Democratic Party is not about cutting spending; (3) the special interests will make minced meat of a president without the convictions, credibility, and credentials to cut spending; and (4) there is no promise, of course, to cease new initiatives that will cost money. In fact, as to the latter, more help to the “middle-class” is on the way.
This is so absurd. Of course, I am not against cutting spending. I am against insults from the people whose salaries I am paying.
This too shall pass.