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Rhetorically, Obama Proposes Conservative Change

Today, in announcing his choice of Nancy Killefer as “Chief Performance Officer”, President-elect Barack Obama echoed Ronald Reagan in describing the type of change he intends to bring to Washington:

We committed to change the way our government in Washington does business so that we’re no longer squandering billions of tax dollars on programs that have outlived their usefulness or exist solely because of the power of a lobbyist or interest group. We can no longer afford to sustain the old ways when we know there are new and more efficient ways of getting the job done.

Even in good times, Washington can’t afford to continue these bad practices. In bad times, it’s absolutely imperative that Washington stop them and restore confidence that our government is on the side of taxpayers and everyday Americans.

The president-elect thus promises to do what the man he will replace in thirteen days has failed to do, root out wasteful government spending.  But, even as he proposes to eliminate wasteful programs, he warns of “trillion dollar deficits [becoming] a reality for years to come.”

With his multi-hundred billion dollar stimulus package, he will make real those deficits.  His policies are thus at odds with verbal commitment to fiscal discipline.  By contrast, the Gipper, whose type of change the president-elect favors (rhetorically at least) came to office during similarly difficult economic times and proposed cutting rather than increasing domestic outlays.

Holding the line on federal spending and cutting taxes, Ronald Reagan helped promote an economic expansion which lasted for approximately a quarter-century.

I am delighted the the president-elect recognizes the need to cut government waste, an issue near and dear to the hearts of the Republican rank and file, yet neglected by the great majority of our elected leaders for the past eight, if not ten, years.  And I’m heartened that Obama “will ban earmarks” from his stimulus package.

But, it’s that stimulus package which undermines Obama’s rhetorical commitment to curbing government waste.  Should he abandon that stimulus package or at the very least offer one with corresponding cuts in bloated federal programs thus acting on this promise to cut government waste, he could reshape the political landscape, making the Democrats the party of fiscal discipline.

Given the GOP’s failure to curtial — or even contain — domestic spending, the President-elect has an incredible opportunity, yet he faces a Democratic Congress which favors more and more federal intervention in the economy and is not likely to look favorably on the elimination of any government programs.

Let us hope that after he takes office on January 20, Barack Obama remembers his words today, words similar to those who offered during the campaign and in the transition.  The change he has sold to the American people, on domestic issues at least, resembles that Ronald Reagan offered, holding the line on government spending and eliminating wasteful programs.

But, so far his policies have not matched that rhetoric.  Even as Mr. Obama proposes eliminating such programs, he has made clear his intention to fund new ones.  Not a good idea for a government with trillion-dollar deficits “for years to come.”

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19 Comments

  1. Trillion dollar deficits for years to come? And you’re delighted? Get a grip on reality. These deficits are going to generate the most devastating inflation this country has ever seen. Fasten you seatbelts, it’s gonna be a hella of four years.

    Comment by John in Dublin Ca. — January 7, 2009 @ 1:56 pm - January 7, 2009

  2. Obama promises to cut earmarks, Obama promises to accept public financing, Obama promises to “pay as you go”, Obama promises to oppose any Blagojevich nomination….

    So much for Obama promises. Obama throws his promises under the bus as fast as he makes them. One thing is becoming crystal clear, Obama has a plan he intends to follow, and what he says to the public has little to do with it. He is NOT concerned with informing the public of his plans, he is interested in placating them on whatever the issue du jour is so that he can implement his plan.

    And what is his plan?

    As he unwittingly admitted today, his plan has absolutely nothing to do with fixing the economy. He has said his plan wont do that, and that the American people should expect trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

    His number one priority, the same as Democrats number one priority, is cementing Democrat power.

    Obama is following FDR’s footsteps, not because FDR’s policies ended the great depression — they didn’t, they exacerbated and prolonged the great depression. He is mimicking Roosevelt because those policies grew government, made people dependent on government and thus cemented Democrat majorities for 40 years.

    He says what he thinks he needs to say to make that happen. Period.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 7, 2009 @ 2:09 pm - January 7, 2009

  3. But let me be clear, I have ZERO doubt that Obama intends to cut government spending:

    “First, I will stop spending nine billion dollars a month in Iraq… Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems, and I will institute an independent ‘defense priorities board’ to ensure that the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending. Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal I will not develop new nuclear weapons, I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material, and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.”

    I don’t doubt he will also cut intelligence spending, and he will most certainly cut anything that actually works and makes people more independent and less dependent on government, he will cut anything that rewards success, or does not reward failure.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 7, 2009 @ 2:23 pm - January 7, 2009

  4. Obama “echoing Ronald Reagan”? Well, he’s already got the “hat thing” down:

    http://catmybunny.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/obamacowboy_400.jpg

    If Obama starts saying “gummint” and blurting out, “I paid for this microphone!” at press conferences, we’ll know there’s hope for us yet.

    As for Michelle, we can only wonder if she “rides tall in the stirrups.”

    Comment by MarkJ — January 7, 2009 @ 2:38 pm - January 7, 2009

  5. The largest previous deficit expressed as a percentage of GDP was 1983’s 6.0%

    Obama’s first budget is looking at a deficit of 8.3% of GDP minimum. Which suddenly the left no longer cares about now that they are in charge of spending.

    Comment by V the K — January 7, 2009 @ 2:44 pm - January 7, 2009

  6. Semantics. Obama’s idea of eliminating government waste is simply to insist that nothing the government spends is wasteful. Voila, no more bad spending!

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 7, 2009 @ 2:56 pm - January 7, 2009

  7. To Dan, GayPatriotWest: This is mainly in response to your post of yesterday about Barack Obama being president of all Americans.

    You are to be commended for gving the new president a chance. A number of those who post comments are viciously attacking him, which is a little premature since he has not yet taken office and formally set forth his budget and policy proposals.

    One of the reasons I was comfortable voting for the first time for a Democratic presidential candidate was a friend (a Republican BTW) I made while active in Illinois politics many, many years ago. He knows Obama fairly well and is convinced that Obama will govern a lot closer to the center than most people ever imagined.

    I’m not real comfortable with the massive deficits (bush ran up and Obama will run up) but a lot of conservative economists have joined liberal economists in urging massive stimulous programs to avert a fall into a full-blown depression.

    Comment by Jack Allen — January 7, 2009 @ 3:35 pm - January 7, 2009

  8. #7 – “A number of those who post comments are viciously attacking him, which is a little premature since he has not yet taken office and formally set forth his budget and policy proposals.”

    JA, you must be mistaking “critical thinking skills and analysis” for vicious attacks. I for one would love to give The Snob the benefit of the doubt, but his pre-inauguration judgment leaves little to be desired.

    Also, where were you 8 years ago when the left was (really) viciously attacking GWB prior to his inauguration? Or, for that matter, the past 8 years when our president was savaged by the MSM, no matter what he did? Or by those protestors/psychopaths who showed him (a) aborted, (b) decapitated, (c) wearing a Hitler mustache, (d) all of the above?

    Please. I expect better from you. And for the record, I don’t buy this “Republican-friend-convinced-me-to-vote-Obama” sob story. I’ve heard it reported WAY too many times in the Drive-By Media.

    I use Ann Coulter’s quote as my signoff: “In a gesture of reaching across the aisle to Democrats, we Republicans should treat Obama with the exact same respect they have shown our President these past 8 years.” I couldn’t agree more.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — January 7, 2009 @ 3:43 pm - January 7, 2009

  9. Change I don’t believe in.

    Comment by Attmay — January 7, 2009 @ 4:18 pm - January 7, 2009

  10. he has not yet taken office and formally set forth his budget and policy proposals.

    No, he hasn’t taken office, but he has most certainly put forth policy proposals that will be disastrous! Policy proposals he himself admits WONT WORK.

    Comment by American Elephant — January 7, 2009 @ 4:31 pm - January 7, 2009

  11. I find JA a little dubious. He claims to have voted for Republicans his whole life, but not only does he switch for the most far left candidate the Democrat party has ever produced, he also says he cheered for a veto-proof rubber-stamp congress.

    He’s either lost it (maybe his vagal nerve got stimulated and he became part of Cult Obama), or he’s lying. I will charitably say he joined the glassy eyed cult of Obamamoonies.

    Comment by V the K — January 7, 2009 @ 5:46 pm - January 7, 2009

  12. Earmarks, pork barrel and wasteful spending will be axed. Instead, they will be bundled in a massive program called “The Stimulus Package.”

    Instead of borrowing money in small chunks, we will go full hog and test the ultimate limits of our ability to get other countries to finance our economy.

    If that fails, we can always print script, raise taxes and fight global warming.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 7, 2009 @ 6:32 pm - January 7, 2009

  13. Srsly, what is the stimulus package except for one big giant earmark?

    What strikes me as curious is that after 9-11, GWB opened the Federal spending spigots all the way and flooded the economy with deficit spending to stave off recession.

    Now, Chairman O is doing the same thing: another implicit confession that Bush was right?

    Comment by V the K — January 7, 2009 @ 6:37 pm - January 7, 2009

  14. A number of those who post comments are viciously attacking him, which is a little premature since he has not yet taken office

    If I had a dollar for everytime I heard that pissy little whine, it would put me in Comrade O’s target tax bracket. What’s going to be the new oft repeated gripe two weeks from now?

    He knows Obama fairly well and is convinced that Obama will govern a lot closer to the center than most people ever imagined.

    So you don’t give a shit that he’s the “most secretive president in history”? You have no qualms with the fact that the liberal media dug up more on Palin and Joe the Plumber than we know about him? The same folks who were so depserate to know everything about Bush that they had to go out to Kinkos and make shit up suddenly don’t care to know anything about him and his record?

    How does that square with folks who threw out FOIA applications left and rightc over the past 8 years, demanding a more open and transparent government? Now they have a president that nobody knows anything about and he refuses to tell us anything.

    C’mon Jack. Nobody’s buying it.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 7, 2009 @ 9:16 pm - January 7, 2009

  15. Obama? “Conservative?!” Next you’ll tell me that in a stunning reversal of policy, he now only supports abortion for babies that are actually still in the womb.

    By the way, didn’t everyone get the memo? Just in time for Obama’s Presidency, deficit spending and huge amounts of federal debt is now a GOOD THING:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-creamer/remembering-the-lessons-o_b_153073.html

    Comment by Sean A — January 7, 2009 @ 9:23 pm - January 7, 2009

  16. “trillion dollar deficits [becoming] a reality for years to come.”

    And where will the dollars come from? Possibilities:

    1) Foreigners saying “Oh, OK – we’ll hold more U.S. Treasury bonds. We’ll use more of our own savings to buy mountains of American debt that obviously have to be repudiated at some point, if only covertly through massive monetization / inflation.”

    2) Said monetization / inflation.

    3) High interest rates, as the government sucks money out of the capital markets.

    We know Obama-Bernanke won’t permit (3). They are already blocking it with (2), their weapon of first resort. And foreigners might do more of (1), but that would make them idiots. Answer: (2). Which means: Obama’s “trillion dollar deficits [becoming] a reality for years to come” must and will end in an inflationary collapse of the dollar. Buy your gold now, folks. It might not pay off in 2009, but before the Obama-Bernanke years run out, we will see it at $2200 or a lot more.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 7, 2009 @ 9:50 pm - January 7, 2009

  17. Alas, Mr. Reagan talked tough about spending restraint, but to restore national defense capability and get the tax reform that enabled over 25 years of nearly uninterrupted wealth creation, he had to trade the Congressional Dems unrestrained domestic spending. And don’t forget the “reform” that raised taxes on working families merely to delay the collapse of the ponzi scheme until the poor saps retire.

    Comment by Brezh — January 7, 2009 @ 11:29 pm - January 7, 2009

  18. Obama’s about to pull one of the greatest political cons in history.

    Dems are always taking heat for pork and wasteful spending. Usually the fact that they have to defend it to the American people tends to slow them down.
    But in an ‘economic crisis’, why, we NEED to increase federal spending and build bridges, roads, schools, etc. etc.! We can worry about the deficit later!

    Now every Dem can load up on pork, regardless of cost, and pay off all his contributors and cronies, right under the American peoples noses!

    ‘Bridges to nowhere’? Try ‘monuments to nowhere’, ‘city halls to nowhere’, ‘tunnels to nowhere’, ‘casinos to nowhere’, ‘stadiums to nowhere’….etc.

    And the Dems and their media mouthpieces will call it ‘patriotic’!

    It’s devious and brilliant all at once!

    Comment by Tailgunner — January 7, 2009 @ 11:54 pm - January 7, 2009

  19. […] Rhetorically, Obama Proposes Conservative Change […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » On Economics, Obama Promises More of the Same — January 9, 2009 @ 1:36 pm - January 9, 2009

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