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Obama Proposes Limited Three-Year Spending Freeze: Reactions

Spendingfreeze

Rachel Maddow spoke with Biden's Economic Policy Advisor Jared Bernstein, who went over some of the details in Obama's proposed three-year spending freeze on some programs.

The response has been tepid, if not hostile.

Paul Krugman calls the plan "appalling on every level." Says Krugman: "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. A correspondent writes, 'I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.'"

Writes Bob Herbert in the NYT: "Mr. Obama may be personally very appealing, but he has positioned himself all over the political map: the anti-Iraq war candidate who escalated the war in Afghanistan; the opponent of health insurance mandates who made a mandate to buy insurance the centerpiece of his plan; the president who stocked his administration with Wall Street insiders and went to the mat for the banks and big corporations, but who is now trying to present himself as a born-again populist. Mr. Obama is in danger of being perceived as someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always be trusted. He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens much more he won’t be able to close it."

Says Maddow: "A spending freeze is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Obama is a HUGE disappointment. I hope somebody primaries him in 2012, he's unfit to lead.

    Posted by: Jason Moreland | Jan 26, 2010 9:53:06 AM


  2. He's lurching all over the place. This pisses off liberals, who never want to cut anything, and disappoints conservatives -- who under Bush never wanted to cut anything either, or want much deeper cuts. This "spending freeze" is TINY, a pathetic sop to the electorate that will not be bought off with rhetoric. Independents are seriously worried about the nation's financial health, and I'm not so sure Obama understands this.

    Posted by: Dan | Jan 26, 2010 9:55:45 AM


  3. "the anti-Iraq war candidate who escalated the war in Afghanistan;"

    I'm going to refrain from making broader characterizations, because they are largely premature one year into a presidency. However, his Afghanistan stance now is entirely consistent with his Afghanistan stance as both a primary and presidential candidate. You can disagree with his policy towards it, but he never shied away from stating that he would escalate things in the Afpak, and it's misleading to state otherwise.

    Posted by: Zach | Jan 26, 2010 10:05:15 AM


  4. He has reminded me from the beginning of his presidential campaign of one of those late night infomercials where they try to sell you on making money on real estate. They promise the world but deliver on nothing and it only costs you money. I feel sorry for all those people who believed he was really going to do the things he promised

    Posted by: Daniel | Jan 26, 2010 10:06:54 AM


  5. Still everyone of us who voted to keep PALIN out of the VP office --- and keep that Straight Supremacist McCain out of the OVAL Office did a GREAT thing voting for Obama.

    He may have served his important purpose --- we will see what DADT bone he throws us next.

    Posted by: Walter | Jan 26, 2010 10:07:02 AM


  6. I listened to Obama throughout his campaign and never heard him describe himself as a progressive. If people would listen to the campaigns and examine the rhetoric instead of just picking up on the images, we would be more likely to have the presidencies we want.

    Posted by: mike128 | Jan 26, 2010 10:17:06 AM


  7. Rachel was awesome in that interview.

    Posted by: me | Jan 26, 2010 10:18:32 AM


  8. So Obama joins the "Tea Party" movement! Why am I not surprised?

    Posted by: LetoLeto | Jan 26, 2010 10:20:58 AM


  9. Actually, I will throw in a comment about Obama's overall trajectory: he never positioned himself as the ardent progressive that others made him out to be. He's always been an establishment liberal interested in incremental, rather than drastic change. He clearly is a progressive in his personal politics, but his actual policies minimize that. I think he correctly thinks that the majority of the electorate would not tolerate an overly progressive agenda, and he's not willing to have the first term of his presidency spent on what he believes are lost causes.

    That being said, he made some major miscalculations in his first year. He was the anti-Clinton on healthcare, which is what's threatening current reform now. He should have ended DADT now, as opposed to near the end of his first term. It would have been difficult wrangling the votes, but they overestimated the political fallout. It would have been better for him to maintain some of his progressive adherents by doing it than trying to keep conservatives who were unlikely to vote for him again anyways. I think he's been woefully naive in assuming best intentions on the part of Republicans, from their portion of the electorate to the ones in Congress. Why would Republicans ever want to be bipartisan? It's better if they obstruct and inflame and Carter-ize him. And I think he badly underestimated the intransigence of the conservative Democrats. They had far more to lose than the Republicans, and it was clear that they weren't going to maintain party discipline for its own sake.

    Posted by: Zach | Jan 26, 2010 10:21:52 AM


  10. Walter, I have to agree with you; he was MUCH better than the opposition.

    I just don't know where he's going. I consider myself a moderate Democrat with a corporate job and a college education... and I just can't figure out the logic of his administration. Was there too much damage from the Idiot that preceded him; that having to shovel up that crap is killing his administration?

    I have taken this posture; I avoid cable news. Period. Too many screaming bobble head pundits for my taste, and after listening to a very wretched Diane Sawyer interview with the President last night, followed up by her round table of ABC political bobble head pundits, I will avoid network news as well. That does not mean being ignorant; that just means that I've restricted my inputs on the subject to the internet and print.

    I am just going to sit back and see what happens. Either this will be the greatest presidency since FDR and JFK, or it will be the biggest debacle since Hoover and Bush II.

    Posted by: Rad | Jan 26, 2010 10:26:14 AM


  11. The "flexible spending freeze" is a gimmick – economists have already stated as much. Will it reduce the deficit? Sure, in the short term. But in the long term, it may well increase it as the country is forced to do catch-up work on neglected infrastructure.

    The exemption of military and homeland security spending from the freeze is another concession to the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about.

    The irony of Obama’s move from the left, past the center, and to the right is that it’s going to do nothing to bring him the voters that elude him: white seniors, exurbanites, southern independents and evangelicals. They will never vote for him. Doubly ironic is that he never needed their votes. They represent a shrinking demographic. In the meantime, he has utterly lost the enthusiasm of much of the coalition that swept him into office: latinos, LGBTs, civil libertarians, secularists.

    Posted by: Hank | Jan 26, 2010 11:07:52 AM


  12. What about the youth who voted for him? Have you met a college student lately who gives a crap about Obama anymore? Weren't they supposed to be this generation that led the Democrats into decades of power?

    I worked on a landscape crew the summer/fall of 2008 with several college students. Their excitement was more than palpable. Now they could give a shit. They don't care if he and the rest of the Democrats lose everything in the mid-terms.

    Nice job, Rahm. And ultimately Obama who's allowing idiots like Emanuel to make these silly "strategic" moves.

    Posted by: Parker | Jan 26, 2010 11:25:52 AM


  13. I too had the illusion that it would be the greatest presidency since FDR, but now I'm just sitting here disillusioned and really , really sad.......this is nothing like I expected and hoped for......

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jan 26, 2010 1:04:53 PM


  14. I didn't vote for Obama because I thought he didn't have any experience just like Bush. He saw what was ahead of him. If he didn't think he was up to cleaning up Bush's mess, he shouldn't have taken the job. He's all over the map.
    Yesterday he gave an interview saying he would rather be a great one term president than a so so two term president. I don't think he'll be either.
    And what about that 8th year when the gays were suppose to get everything they wanted.

    Posted by: Name" | Jan 26, 2010 1:46:50 PM


  15. Sad. But alas, all he is is a community organizer. How I lament that Hillary isn't our president. Oh well, he is, and that's what we have to deal with until 2012, when his community organizer rhetoric and strategy will cost him the election. And that is sad, too.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 26, 2010 1:57:41 PM


  16. I can only hope that he doesn't run in 2012 giving HOPE for another Democrat to run.

    Posted by: Name: | Jan 26, 2010 2:49:55 PM



  17. Paul Krugman and the rest of the sore-loser Hillary supporters have come out to play!

    Posted by: GrabbinNewscum | Jan 26, 2010 5:46:30 PM


  18. It pays to have low expectations in politics.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 26, 2010 6:42:33 PM


  19. He's a wasted opportunity. Much like the rest of the Dems.

    Posted by: Donald | Jan 26, 2010 6:44:27 PM


  20. Two years ago, I was amazed that my fellow Democrats seemed on the verge of nominating someone with two years of Washington experience (he essentially quit the Senate and started running for President after 2 yrs), no executive experience (not even head of the school board) and absolutely no accomplishments to point to. He had a nice smile and, for some reason, people liked the way he spoke (just like Reagan and Kennedy). He didn't even advocate liberal positions (like real universal health care, gay marriage or eradicating poverty) and liberals and moderates just ate him up because they wanted to pat themselves on the back for being open-minded enough to support a black man for President. I had low expectations when he was sworn in and I'm still disappointed.

    A Democratic President who won't discuss gun control, poverty, gay rights or stopping the increasing gap between the top 5% and the bottom fifth? We need a President like LBJ (who in his first year got the vote & legal equality for blacks, medicare, medicaid, NPR, great boosts for education and urban renewal among many other things) or FDR who can get the job done. I'm with those here who are ready for a real move to the left.

    Still holding on to my Hillary signs.

    Posted by: Mort | Jan 26, 2010 10:52:57 PM


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