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Thread: It's official: Obama is an idiot - decides to freeze spending in a recession

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Exclamation It's official: Obama is an idiot - decides to freeze spending in a recession

    It's Official: Obama is an idiot
    by: Paul Rosenberg
    Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 22:30

    As noted in quick hits by BDB and rayj, [UPDATE] and by David in a diary that just caused me to push back this diary's publication time, Obama has now gone off the deep end. After passing a stimulus that most economists (not just liberal ones) said was too small, and that was made even more inadequate by being heavily tilted toward poor-performing tax-cuts, Obama is now intentionally recreating FDR's mistake of 1937, when he prematurely cut back spending to try to balance the budget, and sent the country into a new recession.

    Let me repeat that, in larger type:

    Obama is now intentionally recreating FDR's mistake of 1937, when he prematurely cut back spending to try to balance the budget, and sent the country into a new recession.


    Specifically: He's going to announce a spending freeze on domestic programs (but not, of course, on the military) that is "projected to save $250 billion." The rationale is that he wants to appease folks worried about runaway deficits. Which is just what FDR was worried about in 1937.

    This is Bush-style idiocy. There is no other word for it.

    Adding insult to injury, at the same time, he's also proposing more Ronald Reagan/GW Bush tax cuts... which will, of course, increase the runaway deficits.

    And he's also talking about privatizing NASA. Because privatizing the Pentagon turned out so great!

    It's time to seriously start talking about primarying Obama in 2012. He's now officially the most conservative Democratic President since Grover Cleveland. And the dumbest one since James Buchanan.

    Here, to remind you, is the chart I put together during the stimulus debate, showing, among other things, the relative ineffectiveness of tax cuts vs. spending in generating jobs, which is the key to getting the nation out of this recession--the only way that we can rationally hope to start bringing down the deficits:



    While some tax cuts are much better than the real stinkers, it's virtually a given that once Obama starts talking about tax cuts, the GOP is going to start demanding that Bush's tax cuts be made permanent. Not only--as you can see from the chart--are these about the least helpful tax cuts of all, they are also heavily skewed toward helping the rich and the super-rich.

    Open Left:: It's Official: Obama is an idiot
    I'd also like to point out that defense spending, pentagon budgets and the military industrial complex ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THESE SPENDING CUTS.

    The cuts are PURELY DOMESTIC. Among the areas that may be potentially subject to cuts: the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Energy, Transportation, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services. Isn't that nice? All the money in the world for fancy new bombs, 2 wars, and unlimited aggression but nothing for everybody at home who just bankrolled Wall Street.

    Enjoy that, American citizens.
    Last edited by Grimmlok; January 25th, 2010 at 11:19 PM.
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    Gold Member Dorahacky's Avatar
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    And we voted this into office. As the days pass, I can't see where Obama apologists have much to defend anymore. And yes, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I was an Obama supporter back in 2008. Man, did I and everyone else who gave him a chance get skullfucked.
    We all like to think we're so special. But in the end, we all do the same stupid shit. - Dennis Miller


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    Elite Member caramel's Avatar
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    Every american is a moron. That is just how it is.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    No less than four times during the debates did he actively campaign against an across the board spending freeze.


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    We're not all morons. Keep in mind that almost all of our news media over here is controlled by large corporations, there is no longer any investigative journalism in the mainstream media, and we only know what they want us to know.

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    For fuck's sake, that economics 101. He's doing pretty much the opposite.
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelbug View Post
    We're not all morons. Keep in mind that almost all of our news media over here is controlled by large corporations, there is no longer any investigative journalism in the mainstream media, and we only know what they want us to know.
    This is so, but if people want the truth it can be found.

    This is Bush-style idiocy. There is no other word for it.
    No, sorry. I get pissed when people characterize these things as idiocy or 'incompetence'. This implies he could potentially see the error of his ways and correct course and nothing could be further from the truth. Get a clue people, Obama is doing precisely what he was sent there to do, which is to continue looting the American people on behalf of the money/power elites, just like Bush. He knows what he is doing and he knew from the beginning what he was sent there to do. This is not a 'mistake' on his part it's intentional.

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    This is so, but if people want the truth it can be found.
    I'm not so sure about that. We don't even know what the "real" unemployment rate is in the U.S. There are tons of underemployed (the IT guy now selling computers part-time at Best Buy), the part-timers who would rather have full-time work, the unemployed who have given up, etc. I would like to go back to work (been a SAHM for 8 years) but there's not that many jobs and I don't want to take one away from someone who needs to feed their kids. I bet unemployment is over 20% if they would count all those people.

    And what about inflation? Those are B.S. numbers and way too low because they don't even count a lot of things that really impact our wallets. Out-of-pocket spending for gas and health insurance premiums have skyrocketed.

    But we'll never know these things, because they know if they tell us the truth it will completely collapse the economy.

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    Elite Member bellini's Avatar
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    Get a clue people, Obama is doing precisely what he was sent there to do, which is to continue looting the American people on behalf of the money/power elites, just like Bush. He knows what he is doing and he knew from the beginning what he was sent there to do. This is not a 'mistake' on his part it's intentional.
    Totally agree. He just lied. Sold the public a bill of goods he never intended on delivering.

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    He may as well not even bother shooting for a reelection. Worse than that, I can already hear all the redneck bullshit next time a black man runs for office.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellini View Post
    Totally agree. He just lied. Sold the public a bill of goods he never intended on delivering.
    Yes.

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    Freeze, Like a Deer in Headlights


    There's lots of progressive backlash in the blogosphere to the announcement that the president is going to call for a multi-year freeze on "non-security discretionary spending," in the State of the Union.

    The anger is totally justified, but I'll let others handle the policy of this. (Short version: it's criminally stupid).

    But let me talk about the politics. I'm sure that in the short term it polls well. Most voters don't have a great grasp of what makes up the federal budget and the fact that about two-thirds of what the government does is security and social insurance for the elderly.

    Thanks to decades of right-wing attacks on Big Government, many people think that most of what the government spends money on are things like food stamps and foreign aid.

    That's why this is so inexcusably insidious: because it uses the full power of the bully pulpit to reaffirm and endorse a kind of ignorance that the right-wing has spent years stoking, and in so doing further erodes what little conceptual and rhetorical foundation we have domestically for social democracy. It may be a head fake, the fine print may basically have a lot of loopholes, in which case the policy itself won't be terrible, but again it reinforces the enemy's narrative: that government spends too much on "programs," that defense and "security" spending doesn't count for the deficit and that times of economic misery and widespread unemployment the solution is fiscal austerity.

    I wish there was a way to sue for political malpractice, because what we're seeing from the White House and congressional Democrats these last two weeks would make for a depressingly good case.

    Freeze, Like a Deer in Headlights



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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default The Sanctity of Military Spending

    Administration officials announced last night that the President, in tomorrow's State of the Union address, will propose a multi-year freeze on certain domestic discretionary spending programs. This is an "initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit," officials told The New York Times.

    But the freeze is more notable for what it excludes than what it includes. For now, it does not include the largest domestic spending programs: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And all "security-related programs" are also exempted from the freeze, which means it does not apply to military spending, the intelligence budget, the Surveillance State, or foreign military aid. As always, the notion of decreasing the deficit and national debt through reductions in military spending is one of the most absolute Washington taboos.

    What possible rationale is there for that?


    The facts about America's bloated, excessive, always-increasing military spending are now well-known. The U.S. spends almost as much on military spending as the entire rest of the world combined, and spends roughly six times more than the second-largest spender, China. Even as the U.S. sunk under increasingly crippling levels of debt over the last decade, defense spending rose steadily, sometimes precipitously. That explosion occurred even as overall military spending in the rest of the world decreased, thus expanding the already-vast gap between our expenditures and the world's. As one "defense" spending watchdog group put it: "The US military budget was almost 29 times as large as the combined spending of the six 'rogue' states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) who spent $14.65 billion." To get a sense for how thoroughly military spending dominates our national budget, consider this chart showing where Americans' tax revenue goes:


    Since much of that overall spending is mandatory, military spending -- all of which is discretionary -- accounts for over 50% of discretionary government spending. Yet it's absolutely forbidden to even contemplate reducing it as a means of reducing our debt or deficit. To the contrary, Obama ran on a platform of increasing military spending, and that is one of the few pledges he is faithfully and enthusiastically filling (while violating his pledge not to use deceitful budgetary tricks to fund our wars):

    President Barack Obama will ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of a record $708 billion for the Defense Department next year, The Associated Press has learned.
    In sum, as we cite our debtor status to freeze funding for things such as "air traffic control, farm subsidies, education, nutrition and national parks" -- all programs included in Obama's spending freeze -- our military and other "security-related" spending habits become more bloated every year, completely shielded from any constraints or reality. This, despite the fact that it is virtually impossible for the U.S. to make meaningful progress in debt reduction without serious reductions in our military programs.

    Public opinion is not a legitimate excuse for this utterly irrational conduct, as large percentages of Americans are receptive to reducing -- or at least freezing -- defense spending. A June, 2009 Pew Research poll asked Americans what they would do about defense spending, and 55% said they would either decrease it (18%) or keep it the same (37%); only 40% wanted it to increase. Even more notably, a 2007 Gallup poll found that "the public's view that the federal government is spending too much on the military has increased substantially this year, to its highest level in more than 15 years." In that poll, 58% of Democrats and 47% of Independents said that military spending "is too high" -- and the percentages who believe that increased steadily over the last decade for every group.

    The clear fact is that, no matter how severe are our budgetary constraints, military spending and all so-called "security-related programs" are off-limits for any freezes, let alone decreases. Moreover, the modest spending freeze to be announced by Obama tomorrow is just the start; the Washington consensus has solidified and is clearly gearing up for major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with the dirty work to be done by an independent "deficit commission." It's time for "everyone" to sacrifice and suffer some more -- as long as "everyone" excludes our vast military industry, the permanent power factions inside the Pentagon and intelligence community, our Surveillance and National Security State, and the imperial policies of perpetual war which feed them while further draining the lifeblood out of the country.

    UPDATE: I just saw this scary headline on MSNBC, became very frightened, and have changed my mind, as I now realize we need to massively increase our military spending to Stay Safe!!!
    The Washington Post is hyping the same report. Apparently, it's breaking news -- meriting screaming red-alert headlines -- that Al Qaeda would like to ("aims to") acquire WMDs and use them against the U.S. But we should all try to remain a little calm, at least. I'm sure if we just buy some more fighter jets, create some better underground bombs, invade a few more Muslim countries, keep more Muslims imprisoned forever with no charges, give the Pentagon, the CIA and their private contractors a lot more unaccounted-for cash and stay out of their way, expand our domestic spying networks even further through private sector telecom contracts, pour tens of billions of dollars more into the coffers of our Middle East client states, and kill a few more civilians with drones, this problem will be handled. It's just a matter of making sure we bulk up our military budget -- and Look Forward, not Backward to what was done in the past -- and we'll be able to Stay Safe from this Terrorist-WMD menace.

    As for the deficit, no need to worry about that. We can just freeze programs for national parks and cut Social Security and Medicare.

    UPDATE II: Thankfully, some among us will be spared the pain of these budgetary freezes and imminent cuts:

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates hosted a meeting with the nation's top defense company executives Wednesday, stressing the need for a closer partnership with them and pledging to work with the White House to secure steady growth in the Pentagon's budgets over time, according to his spokesman. . . .


    Gates's meeting was part of a day-long session between Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter and the Aerospace Industries Association, the top trade group for American aerospace firms. The heads of the nation's top two defense firms -- Lockheed Martin and Boeing -- attended, said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.
    Did they mention that Al Qaeda aims to get WMDs and attack the U.S. with them?


    Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com



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    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
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    Two things:
    1. The 1937 recession had more to do with monetary policy than fiscal policy, so it's unlikely that Obama is "intentionally recreating FDR's mistake" as the bombastic article implies. Fiscal policy takes a lot longer to have an effect than monetary policy. Between 1936 and 1937, the Fed doubled the reserve requirement for banks, which obviously had an adverse impact on lending - severely reducing the monetary multiplier.
    2. I heard on NPR that this budget freeze would only account for approximately 1/8th of the whole federal budget.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Obama Liquidates Himself

    A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?

    It’s appalling on every level.

    It’s bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with “the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon” (Mellon was Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, who according to Hoover told him to “liquidate the workers, liquidate the farmers, purge the rottenness”.)

    It’s bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead.

    And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”

    Now, I still cling to a fantasy: maybe, just possibly, Obama is going to tie his spending freeze to something that would actually help the economy, like an employment tax credit. (No, trivial tax breaks don’t count). There has, however, been no hint of anything like that in the reports so far. Right now, this looks like pure disaster.


    Obama Liquidates Himself - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com



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