January 26th, 2010
02:05 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama's spending freeze: Prudence or posturing?

Is President Obama's discretionary spending freeze prudence or political posturing?

Is President Obama's discretionary spending freeze prudence or political posturing?

(CNN) - President Obama's proposed spending freeze could help him recapture the favor of centrist voters, but critics blast the move as nothing more than political posturing.

The president is expected to call for a partial, three-year freeze on discretionary spending in his State of the Union address Wednesday, according to two senior administration officials. The cuts, which Obama will say would save $250 billion, would not apply to national security spending and would not affect major entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

The proposal comes as the president's poll numbers dip and concerns about the economy and the federal deficit flare.

It also comes after a shocking election loss for Democrats in Massachusetts, which many have interpreted as an expression of voter frustration with the way Washington is handling the economy.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    Smart move Mr. Man. I was starting to think you are really one of them.

    January 26, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. tainopower

    Skepticism = Cut $15B, Then Spend $1.35T We Don't Have????? obama is going to cut the budget by 15 BILLION??? but is going to spend $1.35 TRILLION???? the finance advisers should get fire. that math don’t add up. He lie to the American people. And now on Wednesday during the State of the Union address, is going to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs. If that don’t work like the obamacare. He will focus on another popular topic of the country? Impeach obama now and save the country. How is hope and change working for you so far?

    January 26, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. LIP

    Posturing, otherwise known as a shell game...

    January 26, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Terry from West Texas

    Republicans will, of course, oppose the President as they always do, no matter what he proposes. What they will say now is that Obama's cuts are not deep enough. They will want to cut more – or so they will say – but of course no Republican ever voted for a spending cut. They just call for them.

    Then, when Democrats ram through spending cuts and road construction slows down, schools get more crowded, police response time gets longer, FEMA struggles with the next hurricane, it takes the FDA longer to approve drugs, a flu epidemic starts, etc., THEN the Conservatives will criticize the president for being "asleep at the wheel" (meaning he didn't spend enough, though they will never say it).

    Q: How can you tell when a Conservative is lying?
    A: If he is breathing.

    January 26, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Jimmy James

    787 billion in 1 month of office yet he is going to save 250 billion over 3 years. Does he really think we are that stupid? It doesn't include, SSI, Medicare,the military or ANYTHING his administration deems as jobs related. Lets not forget that the stimulus was "job related" so he could pass another even with his spending freeze. We all know turtle tunnels are important.

    January 26, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Kate

    Call it what you want. This President had to do something to keep the country afloat. ITS THE REPUBLICANS! They are against everything to help the country. All they do is complain, never offer a solution to anything. Why didn't they yell about the deficit that Bush gave us. It may take years to straighten out Bush's spending. He had a blank check to do the wars. That is what our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying for.

    January 26, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. t22

    So I guess this means no health care bill in the next 3 years as that would be discretionary. That's good news. Now what about the extra porkulus that hasn't been spent, are we getting that back too? Or are we just "freezing" at the level that includes TARP and Stimulus?

    January 26, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. stormerF

    With the small amount of savings it has to be Posturing,It does not reduce the deficit nor roll back the excessive spending on wasteful projects.

    January 26, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Lotta Muni

    Discretionary spending? What a bunch of double talk. Naturally anything they decide not to pass with now be labelled 'discretionary spending' but they add language to flag anything else as 'emergency spending'. A year into Obamanomics finds us deeper in manure than even George W Bush could imagine!

    January 26, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. all the news that's fit to omit

    Anyone that says this is NOT posturing is either a supreme guzzler of Kool-aid or just doesn't pay attention.

    His own PEOPLE said they were going to pivot or CHANGE their message based on nothing but POLLING.

    He is all about politics and nothing about real policies, but why let facts get in the way of your argument liberals.

    "He really cares about us" "He is the bestist ever" – "You go Barry, show us the way"................................. hurl.

    One and done, the fraud has been exposed.

    January 26, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Fnord-a-saurus Rex

    Just stop spending on the Military. You will be able to feed the whole world for the price of our military budget.

    January 26, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. MatthewDetroit

    Barack is a big joke....

    He PROPOSES cutting 15 billion in NEW spending each year.....

    Yet he has an 80 billion dollar new stimulus bill......

    And he is is going to add 1.35 Trillion to the national debt this year....
    As well as the 1.45 Trillion of debt he added last year.......

    Wake up America it is all smoke and mirrors....

    Just like his white house announcement that they were cutting 100 million in spending......

    Seriously Barack stop lying to the American People....
    You are a socialist and you lie about everything.....
    The Dems need to wake up and stop spending....
    The Republicans need to wake up and stop spending....

    Cut the Budgets and cut out ALL programs that did not exist in 1990.

    January 26, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Today there is a great article by Nobel Prize winning economist, Dr. Paul Krugman in the NY Times. Krugman believes that freezing Federal spending when the economy is still in recovery is a very big mistake.

    I do not know enough economics to say one way or the other, however, IF we are in recovery we need the Fed to spend money which stimulates the economy.

    History tells us that Hoover failed and made the Great Depression worse by not SPENDING! FDR came along and put together basically, a stimulus package of Federal spending to get our economy going.

    Now President Obama is pandering to the far-right by cutting spending! Mr. President, you have to be bold, no pandering! You must do what is right for our Nation even if some hate it!

    January 26, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. midwest liberal

    why is the loss in massachusetts always referred to as "shocking"? martha coakley ran a horrible campaign and quite frankly, she deserved the loss that was handed to her.
    might i also point out that while there have been some major stumbles in his first year, president obama is one of the most accomplished first year presidents in a long, long time. does anyone remember what a disaster ronald reagan's first year in office was? republicans conveniently forget that when criticizing president obama.
    we have become what i call a "microwave" society. we want it all served up on a platter right now. we don't want to wait, and we don't want work for anything. this country is in serious trouble, and we have for a president a serious man willing to step up and try his best to solve the problems we face. to president obama's critics i ask, do you honestly think john mccain could have done a better job? instead of trying to tear president obama down, why not stop for just a bit, listen to what he's proposing and maybe, just maybe get behind him in helping to dig this country out of the mess we're in.

    January 26, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Mark

    Is this the same spending freeze that he spoke against in the campaign? Back then he said he would take a scalpel to the budget not an axe. He said McCain was wrong in wanting a spending freeze.

    Has he forgot about what he said already?

    He has outdone Carter to be the most clueless president in our history

    January 26, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Mark

    President Obama is certainly announcing a lot of different initiatives lately. You would think his poll numbers have been slipping. Oh, wait they have. The problem is that he hasn't followed up on things to get thing passed or done. Someone needs to tell him that announcing things only makes the public feel better for a day or two. Actually doing something is long lasting. I think Americans have caught up with his campaign style, which is when in trouble say populist things to get by. Americans are not falling for only rhetoric. He has lost the benefit of the doubt with voters.

    January 26, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Disgruntled Independent

    Sounds like a stupid idea.

    January 26, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. Dave

    President Obama has increased non-security, discretionary spending by 24% in 2009 over 2008. This so called cut means he won't continue to expand spending beyond the 24% increase he has already established. It is very insulting that he assumes we are that stupid to think he has taken a conservative stance on fiscal matters. Nice try though. Talk about pandering. What’s he going to promise next? Maybe he should keep his campaign promises before he makes new ones. Didn't he promise to veto any bills brought to him by congress that contained ear-marks? The stimulus bill contained thousands. What about transparency in policy making? How about a more bi-partisan approach to governing? I guess he forgot all those promises, give me a break.

    Brown 2012

    January 26, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Steph

    Prudence. He's always said that the government needed to do some unpopular things to avoid another great depression, and then they needed to focus on the deficit (that was already too large when he took office). Now that the recession is officially over, he can focus on reducing the deficit.

    January 26, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. LatinoCon

    Political Populace Posturing

    January 26, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. lifelong democrat

    POSTURING – it's ALL WORDS, its ALL FEEL GOOD STUFF; reality is this, he doesn't know what he's talking about. How can he freeze spending when our party wanted to INCREASE our DEBT CEILING to $14 Trillion? They want to BORROW another $1.9 TRILLION this year.

    BORROW another $1.9 TRILLION and save 6%? Excuse me, what about the interest of the said loan? There's no spending freeze, that is jive talking from Obama. China won't lend USA money anymore that's the reason Obama is saying he wanted "spending freeze."

    If this administration is serious about freezing his spending, cut entitlement programs, eliminate Department of Energy eliminate IRS, Eliminate Department of Education, CUT salaries of federal workers with average salary now of $75,000 annually plus all kinds of benefits including there excellent retirement package paid for by taxpayers. But Obama won't do it, he would have a battle with union which is the second biggest campaign contributor to the DNC (#1 contributor to the DNC are trial lawyers group).

    January 26, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Chuck, Tennessee

    I'm still waiting for BO's administration to do that review of every government program that he promised. He said he would cut programs that weren't working and cut the budgets of those programs that are needed but over-spending. He has done nothing but talk. I agree that this freeze is a nice start, but it applies to only about 15% of the government. ALL politicians need to wake up and smell the coffee. The federal (and most state and local) government is drastically overspending and significant cuts are needed of ALL programs. Otherwise, our country is in a world of trouble.

    January 26, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Steve, California


    January 26, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Beverly in NC

    It's a call for the Republicans to put up or shut up. They keep screaming the government is spending too much money on restoring America. Just wait until the spending cuts hit Republican pork projects. Then they will suddenly forget all their fake "fiscal responsibility" and scream for money for their wasteful corporate buddies.

    It's fine to waste money on a fraudulent war they approved but horrible to spend money to save lives of Americans with a moral and human healthcare program. As another SC racist politician said just yesteray – "we should not waste money of feeding the poor. they are like stray animals who continue to breed and cost us even more money". There's true Republican values for you! Has any Republican denounced what SC Republican Lt Gov said? Of course not. After all these are just poor black people and not important to the rich elitists.

    January 26, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. liberal wingnut

    Its 250 billion out of the 1.3 trillion he already spent. What do you think?

    January 26, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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