More hope and change as Obama runs with McCain’s policy
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010
In the upcoming State of the Union address, president Obama will propose a three-year freeze on federal funding not related to national security, a policy that will barely dent the national deficit and one that John McCain proposed, and then-Senator Obama rubbished, less than eighteen months ago.
Over three different presidential debates, candidate Obama actively campaigned against the policy president Obama will now implement, referring to the notion of an all out spending freeze as using a “hatchet” when a “scalpel” is necessary.
“The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel,” Obama said in his first presidential debate against McCain in September 2008. “There are some programs that are very important that are underfunded.”
In the second debate, Obama said, “We may have to cut some spending, although I disagree with Senator McCain about an across-the-board freeze. That’s an example of an unfair burden share. That’s using a hatchet to cut the federal budget, I want to use a scalpel, so that people who need help are getting help.”
“We do have a disagreement about across-the-board spending freeze. It sounds good, it’s proposed periodically. It doesn’t happen.” Obama added in the third debate.
“And in fact an across-the-board spending freeze is a hatchet and we do need a scalpel because there are some programs that don’t work at all. There are some programs that are underfunded and I want to make sure that we are focused on those programs that work,” Obama said.
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An all out spending freeze will see between $10-15 billion shaved off next year’s budget, a drop in the ocean when you consider that the national deficit is projected to exceed $1 trillion for the third year running, with $9 trillion forecasted to be added to the national debt over the next decade.
The freeze, which will take effect in October, will affect only about one-eighth of the nation’s $3.5 trillion budget.
Of course, the freeze will not affect the budgets of the military or homeland security, neither will it restrain funding for the $787 billion economic stimulus package.
Instead the policy will punish less sprawling domestic agencies by freezing their budgets to accommodate the expansion of the illegal wars, the domestic police state and the bailing out of offshore banks.
The freeze is also unlikely to affect the approximately $900 billion health-care bill, according to senior administration officials who revealed unpublished details on condition of anonymity.
“Given Washington Democrats’ unprecedented spending binge, this is like announcing you’re going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).
It’s not just conservatives who have a problem with the proposed freeze. One of Obama’s leading liberal economic advisors, Paul Krugman, has fiercely criticized the move, referring to it as “appalling on every level”.
“And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for.” Krugman writes, “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. A correspondent writes, ‘I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.’”