Obama to Seek Spending Freeze to Trim Deficits, says the NYTimes.
Is he cutting the proposed second stimulus bill? No.
The Obamacare bill(s)? No.
Social Security? No.
But! It’s the symbolism that matters!
But one administration official said that limiting the much smaller discretionary domestic budget would have symbolic value. That spending includes lawmakers’ earmarks for parochial projects, and only when the public believes such perceived waste is being wrung out will they be willing to consider reductions in popular entitlement programs, the official said.
“By helping to create a new atmosphere of fiscal discipline, it can actually also feed into debates over other components of the budget,” the official said, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity.
Matt Welch already zeroed in some of the more b.s.-laden aspects of President Obama’s Braveheart-level brave pledge to freeze a tiny wafer-thin aspect of federal spending. To use Obamaesque rhetoric: Let’s be clear. This freeze is likely to be as effecfive in curbing spending as cryogenic freezing of Ted Williams’ head was for keeping the Splendid Splinter in good shape for the baseball draft in the year 2525.
Another point to note on Obama’s three-year freeze on discretionary non-defense, non-homeland-security spending: The part of the budget that Obama is chilling is responsible for a whopping one-eighth of annual federal spending. By the prez’s own accounting, the action (which I guarantee won’t hold up anyway) would save at max a whopping $15 billion in fiscal year 2011.
To put that in perspective: The budget em>deficit in 2009 was $1.4 trillion. Which will likely be matched, or nearly matched, in 2010. The budget in 2009 was a hair under $4 trillion and was first figured at around $3.5 trillion for 2010 (expect that to rise, as it normally does).
To talk about possibly trimming $15 billion (and that’s only in foregone increases to whatever is already being spent) on a budget this size is like an already-broke dinner companion foregoing his third appetizer. It’s not gonna help much when the bill comes due.
Betsy came up with the perfect symbol for the symbolic cuts: Obama takes up his tiny hatchet.