January 26, 2010

Rachel Maddow feels the same way I do after listening to this pitch by the administration. Jared Bernstein did not say one thing that swayed me that this is a good idea. Listen to Evan Bayh? You've got to be kidding me. A spending freeze in the middle of an economic downturn is insane. And of course there's no freeze for defense spending or Homeland Security.

TPM has more on the proposal--Obama Administration To Propose Freezing Non-Military Discretionary Spending:

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.

A senior administration official detailed the move, speaking on a condition of anonymity because Obama will announce his decision during his State of the Union address Wednesday night.

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.

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

"We do need to reflect the fact that we remain at war," the official said, noting the president was able to win several battles on cutting Pentagon spending.

The official declined to discuss specifics but said the new plan would save taxpayers $250 billion over 10 years. Read on...

UPDATE: Jared Bernstein posted this response on The White House Blog to last night's interview. Budget Freeze-eology 101: Hatchets vs. Scalpels

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