- See? Twins.
Remember during the 2008 presidential elections when McCain was like, honor! responsibility! a spending freeze on everything except the military and veterans! and Obama was like, well actually that sounds nice but it’s such a small portion of the budget as to be mostly symbolic and if you really want to cut back on deficits in a meaningful way you’ll have to reform the way healthcare costs are created and distributed in this country, and we all cheered because here was a guy talking to the electorate like grown-ups while also defending liberal social programs?
Yeah, well, that was fun while it lasted:
President Obama will call for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs… administration officials said Monday…
The freeze would cover the agencies and programs for which Congress allocates specific budgets each year, including air traffic control, farm subsidies, education, nutrition and national parks.
But it would exempt security-related budgets for the Pentagon, foreign aid, the Veterans Administration and homeland security, as well as the entitlement programs that make up the biggest and fastest-growing part of the federal budget: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The payoff in budget savings would be small relative to the deficit: The estimated $250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3 percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is expected to accumulate over that time…
Perceptions that government spending is out of control have contributed to Mr. Obama’s loss of support among independent voters…
And so on and so on.
Of course this is just political cover for a subsequent big outlay for a new jobs bill. But still, seeing our great communicator fall back on a previous generation’s empty gesture is depressing, for many reasons.