Obama to call for five year spending freeze
January 25th, 2011
01:35 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama to call for five year spending freeze

Washington (CNN) - In a move aimed at tackling the bulging federal deficit, a senior administration official said President Obama will call for a "five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending," during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Mr. Obama also plans to look for other areas to cut and make the government more efficient, the official said.

One example already in motion is a five-year plan from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to get $78-billion in defense savings.

Republicans have been putting pressure on the White House to focus more heavily on spending cuts and reforms, arguing that the recent "spending binge" has hampered job creation.

Filed under: President Obama • SOTU 2011
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    I hope this spending freeze includes pay raises for all members of the House and Senate.

    January 25, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. blaqmajik

    Our defense budget is the largest part, I know we need defense especially in these crazy times however I am sure there are projects that need to be cut there too.

    January 25, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is a start. What we also need to is to make sure that the tax rules clean up many loopholes and give-a-ways. Not to do this and not to consider tax increaces is insane!

    January 25, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. S. In California

    Republicans have been putting pressure on the White House to focus more heavily on spending cuts and reforms, arguing that the recent "spending binge" has hampered job creation.

    Is that right? What about the orgy Bush had? Eight years of non stop spending. All he could spend. The best part is – he charged it ALL to the middle class. These "suits" are more amusing than the circus. What a band of carnival actors they are.

    January 25, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. NC

    Cut Medicare so the government can get out of some of the whiners lives.

    January 25, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Steve

    It's about time! Thank you

    January 25, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    A 5 year FREEZE??? So another 5 years of over a trillion in deficits? Is he insane? THIS is why this guy needs to be removed in 2012. First he runs up the deficits to over a trillion, expands the federal government, inflates their wages and now wants to freeze it while he looks for waste and savings!! It sure looks like the Democrats and Obama want to run this country straight into bankruptcy just like they are doing in Europe. They are a greater danger to the future of this country than Osama bin Laden.

    January 25, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Mr. Obama"

    Seriously CNN? Cut the crap. It's "President Obama." I don't remember EVER seeing an article saying "Mr. Bush" or "Mr. McCain." Dogwhistling to the conservatives that you wink wink nudge nudge also think he's not really the POTUS or doesn't deserve the respect of his proper title is freekin ridiculous.

    January 25, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. rob

    So the lines are drawn, President Obama wants to freeze spending that has been increased over the last 2 to 3 years to what most economists say is unsustainable levels, keeping in place all the baseline increases put in place with the "Stimulus". The only place this article says he will cut is the military...a whole 78 billion. The Republicans have introduced rolling back spending to 2008 levels and went as far as showing over 2 TRILLION in savings over the next 10 years, including repealling "Obamacare" and replacing it.

    The major liberal media has been "confronting" the Republicans with the questions "Where EXACTLY will you cut", looking to pin them with the Dem label of "Cutting spending on the backs of the poor, the old, the needy" etc. etc. etc. My question is where is President Obama's REAL cuts to tackle the "Unsustainable" spending. The media will never ask him that question.

    January 25, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    Put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig.

    Targeted cuts are needed, not a budget-wide freeze. Rescind Congressional salaries to 2006 levels. Cut military spending to a smaller portion of the budget, maybe the level when Regan took office. Raise taxes to Clinton (1999) levels.

    Then start work on the deficit problem, when we have a decent starting point.

    We need to build (and repair) roads and bridges, not $1.5 billion aircraft carriers. We don't need to protect Europe, while they are cutting defense spending. We don't need to force democracy on those who then vote for a Muslim state.

    January 25, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. upset

    Get out of Irac,save BILLIons

    January 25, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Kansas Joe

    If the NIH budget is frozen for 5 years, we will definitely lose a generation of scientists. If that's okay, then so be it. But people should be aware.

    January 25, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Patriots Salute the Flag! Traitors don't!!!

    Too Late Obama you have already gave us to China.What’s causing inflation? “It’s all because of (expanding) money supply, quantitative easing and stimulus.” This is the consequence of what the government has done to try to stimulate the economy by running huge deficits. The Fed prints money to buy up Treasurys. That expands the money supply and diminishes the value of money.” So it’s we citizens who pay for government stimulus efforts. “We are paying for the government through a debased standard of living and a higher cost of living." China will also force inflation on the United States. “The only way China can cure its inflation problem is to stop importing it from us, which means ... they have to let their currency rise." “When that happens, it will unleash an inflationary nightmare here in the United States.” Every American should be worried about central-bank policy causing inflation. All central banks, in periods like this where you have inflationary threats that are coming from commodities, have to … be very careful that there are no second-round effects." China to Unleash US 'Inflation Nightmare' thank you Obama for your stupidity in dealing with the Devil.

    January 25, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. kathy

    I agree that the government needs to cut down on spending, but it shouldn't freeze old or retired people on limited income or cut costs on education. People who get SS benefits have not had a raise in two years. Many teachers have gotten laid off. This makes more crowded classrooms. Why don't Obama cut Congress and the HOR's pay? They earn well in excess than most people in America do for the amount of work they do, and on top of that, they get a lot of freebies because they are "imortant" people. If a lot of young people get off their butts and go to work, maybe they can bring in money instead of expecting the government to support them. The government has got to help companies get back on their feet so more people will be employed instead of allowing companies to move to other countries because labor is cheaper. These companies are not helping America by doing that. State offices need to eliminate offices they don't really need, too. Keep education because these kids are our future. Who wants adults who can barely read and write running companies? We need our teachers. The government needs to stop giving in to lobbyists and special interest groups bc they do not care about all the people in America. They are self-serving. We need people in government who will make decisions on America as a whole not for certain people who have money, and who think they are above the law. We have too many of those now. The gulf between the haves and have-nots keeps getting wider and wider. The poor people are suffering because of those self-serving idiots we have in the government. It's time for a change. The government is by the people, for the people, and we, as the people, will change that if the government does not do things for all of the people in America!

    January 25, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. michael

    Hand out money like it grows on trees to bank..automakers and those others with failed business plans and the citizens pay the price ...so much for hope

    January 25, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. doods pagaduan

    That is the best thing to do cut the spending, that is the american people want the congres to do and they have to do more.

    January 25, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. Michael

    Federal spending freeze? A great idea,
    I've had a spending freeze on at my house for 3 years now. It's what you do to be "responsible" when you don't have the extra money to spend.

    January 25, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. common sense

    forget about spending freeze... quit being a coward and activated JFK's executive order 11110. This should solve our debt problems.

    January 25, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Howard

    Does this mean that Barack and Michelle won't squander our hard earned tax money on more extravagant trips or banquets, over the next 5 years ... or, is it just the American people who will be expected to tighten our belts, while our children's and grandchildren's futures are further mortgaged, in order to fund Obama's expanding social programs and gluttonous government spending.

    January 25, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    President Obama is working hard to keep the Republicans from instituting apartheid which is no middle class, just the rich and the poor and if you're not rich you better start praying that President Obama wins this battle.

    January 25, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Duffminster

    Dear Mr. President,

    Tonight you'll probably talk about cutting taxes for big corporations and benefits for those who are most vulnerable and in need in this nation. You'll probably talk about how increasing trade is going to create more jobs in America. These are the things your advisers, who work for the largest (corporations without countries or patriotism), multinational corporations, and Wall Street Financial Amalgamations, giant multinational companies like GE and others, who pay most of the campaign finance bills and who now under the decision of the far right wing Supreme Court Above the Law Majority, to allow unlimited multinational corporate money to flood the halls of politics, and who's goals are certainly often not congruent of what is best for the long term health of the people and the institution of a truly free and morally and ethically based nation.

    Today wealth and income inequality are at record highs and accelerating. This is happening even as the the Judicial branch of government has set in motion a process where the doors to fascism and the massive corrupting influence of money in politics is wide open and being widened by the day.

    In December of 1941, the United went to battle against the fascist forces that threatened to dominate the world and by the grace of God and the precious blood of our valiant soldiers and strong leaders we defeated them. Unfortunately we are seeing this nation moving towards fascism and the increasing concentration of wealth, income and political power into the hands of increasingly imbalanced class of super wealthy Americans.

    Social stability is lost when this imbalance reaches a certain point. We are seeing it happen all around the world. When a few people can hoard enough resources to feed nations even as children and women and veterans of wars go hungry and where hundreds of thousands of children are going homeless, the nation has assuredly lost its ethical compass and has given away the moral high ground.

    When the US defends torture and the defacto Educational Apartheid we see in this nation, we have most certainly lost our sense of justice and fair play. When Supreme Court justices can go to fund raisers for far right wing organizations hosted by some the biggest polluters and richest families with impunity, we should know that corruption has penetrated deeply into the soul of this great nation.

    It is time for brave souls to do what is not safe, to stand up against those who would and will, if given the chance, take every last bit of resource and income from every other citizen to increase their own wealth, who care nothing for the well being of their fellow Americans, who do not consider other humans to be their brothers and sisters and believe that they are simply entitled to as much as they can exploit from the system.

    I hope Mr. President, you will listen to those who put you in office, the young, the minorities, the old and those who still hold the higher stands of progressive and Christian social justice democratic standards as the guiding light of our nation. Many of us did not show in 2010 to vote because you appointed Wall Street and the same old advisers connected with the Bush team. You did not show us a clean break towards the traditional values of American Democracy but instead are bending from the middle hard to the right.

    Its not the fence sitters that are center right that you need to bring to polls in 2012, its getting the same group that put you into office in 2008 that you need to reactivate and you need to do that by listening and acting on the words and council of people who actually have the well being of the children, the mothers and the citizens of this nation at heart rather than just the bottom line and how to help the most wealthy maintain their massive advantage and control of power over the rest of the nation. Do that, and your legacy will not just be great in history but before God as well.

    Rather than talking just about increasing trade, why not actually do something profound. Pick and choose from these:

    1. A national plan to ensure every man, woman and child is given access to the absolute best educational resources to learn whatever is needed to obtain a good wage sustaining job as a right of citizenship and not under some massive corporate driven model of education that is sure to put them into debt for decades. Free, equal and universal education and the #1 priority of the nation to make the US workers truly competitive.

    2. A guarantee of a livable wage and roof over every citizens head and nutritious food for every citizen.

    3. A guarantee that if you are willing and able to work that you will find a job that pays enough to sustain you and your dependents if you have any.

    4. A single payer health care system. Cut the blood sucking middle men and a system which thrives on providing more not more effective services. The price hikes by Blue Cross in California should be enough to show you just how unethical these insurance companies have become in my opinion.

    5. Raise the top income tax bracket to 90% and close dozens of tax loopholes related to moving operations over seas.

    Don't just punish the poor and give to the rich. That is the Republican paradigm. To you professing it make me feel sick.

    But know, you'll talk about the agenda's of Boeing and GE and others and making America more competitive by cutting taxes, and cutting benefits for those most in need. Democrats of a previous generation would have said what needs to be said boldly and that is "at a time when the wealthy of our nation have never been so wealthy and at a time when our middle class and poor have never suffered so much for so long as result of the greed on Wall Street, it is time for us to raise revenues from those who have benefited from the benefits of this nation, and for corporation wanting to do business in this nation, and who were born in this nation to bring the US factories home, and to reward the nation and the companies for making things in America and buying things in America."

    The corporations that fought so hard to bend Clinton to their will and succeeded in corrupting someone who had a chance at being a truly great Democrat in the tradition of FDR succeeded in passing highly irresponsible and sovereignty crushing agreements such as NAFTA and implementing the WTO. Couple these with the increasing trend of corporations giving up their sovereign loyalties and becoming "multi-national," moving headquarters to off shore tax havens and basically losing all motivation for commitment to American workers and the cost of freedom and liberty, enabling them to employee very cheap labor in nations run by autocrats and where even using the term "human rights" can get you put away, and showing starkly how corporations are not "humans" do not have a conscious or embody ethics or morality but work on algorithms driven purely by greed and the bottom line. That we give such heartless, soulless legal fictions the rights of humans is an abomination, especially when we then create another legal abomination and a great untruth, which is the idea that Money=Speech. By saying that corporations have the right of free speech and that money is speech, we have essentially given a defacto green light to give corporations far more power in our representative system than humans.

    So the decisions of corporations without commitments to their nation of origin and the humans that live there are based not in what is best for the nation and its human citizens but only what is best for the corporation and its largest beneficiaries, the top executives of those corporations who are the primary members of the growing plutocracy. Should this trend continue an imbalance will arrive at some point in the not to distant future which could cause the crisis of 2008 to look like a walk in the park. Let us hope someone has the wisdom to do what is right instead only what is easy.

    Some articles in support of my opinion:

    A recent article in the Huffington Post entitled "Income Inequality Is At an All Time High: Study" details the facts about the insanely out of balance wealth and income imbalance that the United States is experiencing. Here is a brief excerpt:

    "...Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression, according to a recently updated paper by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez. The paper, which covers data through 2007, points to a staggering, unprecedented disparity in American incomes. On his blog, Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the numbers "truly amazing."

    Though income inequality has been growing for some time, the paper paints a stark, disturbing portrait of wealth distribution in America. Saez calculates that in 2007 the top .01 percent of American earners took home 6 percent of total U.S. wages, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2000.

    As of 2007, the top decile of American earners, Saez writes, pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages, a level that's "higher than any other year since 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the 'roaring" 1920s.'"

    Beginning in the economic expansion of the early 1990s, Saez argues, the economy began to favor the top tiers American earners, but much of the country missed was left behind. "The top 1 percent incomes captured half of the overall economic growth over the period 1993-2007," Saes writes.

    Despite a rising stock market, largely growing employment and a historic housing boom things were not nearly so rosy for the rest of U.S. workers. This trend, according to Saez, only accelerated during the George W. Bush's tenure as President:..."

    In a post at the Eco Localizer Rhonda Winter wrote:

    "...The greater the disparity in wealth between the very rich and everyone else, the more unstable an economy becomes. Our nation has now created a larger gap in the distribution of wealth than the massive chasm that helped fuel the Great Depression. In 1928, one year before the global economic collapse, the wealthiest .001% of the U.S. population owned 892 times more than 90% of the nation’s citizens. Today, the top .001% of the U.S. population owns 976 times more than the entire bottom 90%. This is not sustainable, and makes for a very volatile economy. It would appear that the American empire is about to crash. ..."

    In an article entitled "15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America" from the Business Insider there are many clear examples of how wealth distribution and income distribution have become deeply and sickly imbalanced.

    Google Duffminster

    January 25, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Felicia Jones

    Thankyou Obama as you continue to strive towards doing great things for America.

    January 25, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Darrin Grant

    How about taxing all corporations, what a concept huh?

    January 25, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. John

    How many of you believe this man? Please, people, get the facts.

    A freeze? Government workers get an annual "step increase" which is a RAISE, but the "freeze" doesn't touch that because, well, "it isn't really a raise" Huh? Right.
    Let's see, we have 9.4% unemployment, 7% underemployment, the rest of us have taken pay cuts, but gee, Obama wants a "freeze". How completely stupid does he really think we are? Even Gabby, now in the hospital, wanted a 5% pay cut. I say it should start at 15%, since the stats all say the gov't worker is 20% higher than similar work in the real world.
    Oh, and while we're at it POTUS, we want a complete freeze and stopage of the governement pension plan and everyone on 401K's like the rest of us. No more governement pensions, cause thats not the real world either.

    A freeze? Please Mr president, we are NOT stupid.

    January 25, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. billykid

    Realy i dont know were any the mony went i never seen a dime of it broker than ever so hue cares they will run us into slavery any ways God help us all

    January 25, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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