So, the president plans on using the same hatchet he once faulted John McCain for wanting to use to control federal spending. In the State of the Union address, he’ll be calling “for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs, and for increases no greater than inflation after that, an initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit“.
On the surface, this sounds like a good thing, finally holding the line on federal spending. But, alas, it’s not the same “hatchet” that John McCain vowed to use should he win election to the White House. For the president to do that, he’d have to cut spending, freezing it at the levels of George W. Bush’s last budget (which was passed by a Democratic Congress). Karl Rove unpacks this “election year ploy:”
Mr. Obama rigged the game by giving himself plenty of room to look tough on spending. He did that by increasing discretionary domestic spending for the last half of fiscal year 2009 by 8% and then increasing it another 12% for fiscal year 2010.
So discretionary domestic spending now stands at $536 billion, up nearly 24% from President George W. Bush’s last full year budget in fiscal 2008 of $433.6 billion. That’s a huge spending surge, even for a profligate liberal like Mr. Obama. The $102 billion spending increase doesn’t even count the $787 billion stimulus package, of which $534 billion remains unspent.
If he were serious about cutting the deficit, he might think about canceling the appropriation of that unspent $534 billion, preventing it from becoming a further drain on the Treasury.
Without such cuts, the president’s freeze is like going on a diet by continuing to eat the same amount of food.
Say a guy who, realized that he was putting on weight, so just over a year ago, resolves to go on a diet. But, first, he adopted a change in his routine, visiting the donut shop every morning (except the first and third Monday and the fourth Tuesday) whereas previously he had gone only on Tuesdays, every other Wednesday, every third Thursday and on weekends.
But, this time, he really means business. He’s going to “freeze” his visits to the donut shop at the current level. He won’t be adding any new visits, but he’ll still be visiting the donut shop more than he did when he first complained about his weight problem.