January 26, 2010

Oh yes, the deficit hawks are circling. Obama's decided to throw them some fresh meat in his State of the Union address -- and since he's ruled out cuts in defense spending, this money will come from someplace else.

According to Jared Bernstein, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, this won't be as bad as it sounds: "No stupid Hooverism around here." While I can't help but wonder if this will be taken from the programs that serve the neediest (since those are the constituencies without powerful political backers) he says this will be targeted to specific waste.

Well, we'll see. Maybe this is just political theater, where Obama "proves" he can stand up to liberals. (Krugman says it looks like "pure disaster.")

I just have to wonder if he'd do this without getting some concessions in return from the Blue Dogs. We do know it'll make Evan Bayh happy, and that's what's important!

WASHINGTON -- Facing voter anger over mounting budget deficits, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to freeze spending for some domestic programs for three years beginning in 2011, administration officials said Monday. Separately, Obama unveiled plans to help a middle class "under assault" pay its bills, save for retirement and care for kids and aging parents.

The spending freeze would apply to a relatively small portion of the federal budget, affecting a $477 billion pot of money available for domestic agencies whose budgets are approved by Congress each year. Some of those agencies could get increases, others would have to face cuts; such programs got an almost 10 percent increase this year. The federal budget total was $3.5 trillion.

The three-year plan will be part of the budget Obama will submit Feb. 1, senior administration officials said, commenting on condition of anonymity to reveal private details.

The Pentagon, veterans programs, foreign aid and the Homeland Security Department would be exempt from the freeze.

What a difference a year makes!

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