Skimming over various comments about the freeze, lets talk about this politically. We can grade the short-term impact right now. This is no evaluation if the policy will work.
Gaining ground with conservative/Republicans: C
The buzz-words of “spending freeze” wasn’t enough for the GOP to
even give a word of credit to the Obama Administration. Through the
slew of Fox News equivalent comments and Karl Rove’s outh there, I
have yet heard a word of compliment even if these are the topics
that McCain and other GOP candidates have been clamoring for
during the recent Democratic control of congress. All i hear is how
Obama spent too much $$$ in the past, even if that money was used
to stop the US and the World to run into a Great Depression. It doesn’t
matter because it was money spent.
Calming people’s concern with economy: C
It’s pretty much too late for this. The American people are too cynical
of all government and institutions. As they say the devil is in the
details. The administration is trying to explain their plan in the same
as health care … sorry but most Americans don’t even know what
discretionary spending in the federal budget is (even though it takes
only 1 minute to find out). In simple terms, the conservative voters
won’t listen to Obama & the liberal voters won’t like cutting funding
during a recession. And the middle? They are the most cynical at all
and don’t believe in anything; all you can do is hope
employement goes down since you don’t have much control (at least
in the short term). Again when you say you are cutting costs, whether
its Medicare or discretionary cuts, the ppl only hear CUTS. They won’t
hear about efficiency or reducing waste or etc. etc. This line of
argument has not worked on the populace.
Rebuilding the base: F
The worst thing you can do, ESPECIALLY to the intellectual base is
to say you are cutting spending during a recession. The liberal base,
already upset about health care, are now asking for blood that
a Democrat president will “pull a Hoover.”
Now a rant on the actual proposal:
Anytime you can reduce waste is good. The problem is two-fold. One, no matter how you spin it, alot of ppl are going to get angry at you. Reducing waste is usually not a good policy politically. Good on the campaign trail, not so great while in office. Two, again the devil is in the details. Working your way through the budget to identify waste and actually getting congress to vote to get rid of the waste takes a long time if it happens at all. lobby groups are too strong in some cases.
If you can actually shift funding to the programs with empirical evidence to work, then this is a great thing. However, is a “line in the sand” budget freeze really necessary? Calling for a budget freeze for 2011 does not do much to instill confidence to the people.
Personally I thought more emphasises should have been to :
a) goals for the rest of the stimulus package
b) reassuring, making public studies on the current effect
of the stimulus.
c) accountability of large corporations especially those
who receieved TARP
d) small business loans
whatever happened to infrastructure?