I never thought that it would come to this, but the Obama administration is running scared. After the result in the Massachusetts senatorial election last week, the administration is now trying to sound as many populist themes as possible. The latest is the proposed "spending freeze" for the next three years. Of course that spending freeze does not take into account the largest items in the budget and in fact only affects about 1/8 of the total expenditure of the budget. It does not include defense spending, but would include entitlement programs to millions of Americans.
First this "spending freeze" would not, in any significant way, affect the budget deficit. Secondly, during a time of economic crisis, the last thing the White House should be doing is to put a freeze on additional spending. Most economists say that we need a second stimulus package to help to stoke this rather fragile economic recovery that is supposedly underway. Under this new "spending freeze", that would be off the table. The President flat out rejected a spending freeze during the campaign, saying that would be like using a sledgehammer when we needed a scalpel. What has happened in the last 13 months that would have made him now adopt a proposal of John McCain that he rejected out of hand during the campaign? Could it be a loss of a Senate seat that has been Democratic for multiple generations? Could it be sagging poll numbers? Could it be the impending loss of multiple seats in the Senate and the possible loss of control of Congress? Could it be the teabaggers loud protest?
Whatever the reason, it does not sound like a policy decision that is part of a long term strategy. This smacks of desperation. This is a tactic, and a faulty one at that, that is supposed to garner some short term result in the polls. It clearly is not part of the long term strategy that this administration set in place when it entered the White House. I have always felt that the Obama White House had a long term strategy in place and was willing to suffer a short term loss in order to assure that the long term goals were met. This impulsive policy decision has shaken my belief to the core. It there is no long term strategy in place, then what exactly is being decided over on Pennsylvania Avenue? Have they now decided to bend to the wishes of the Teabaggers? Have they now decided that it's better to get along that it is be right?
I have stated before that I do not always agree with this administration, but I have always believed that there is a long term strategy in place. I may not agree with all decisions, but I could always imagine that they were part of a master plan. Now, I'm not so sure. This "spending freeze" is pointless and dangerous. The well being of our economy should not be subject to the whims of the polls or based on whether a decision will be popular with a majority of the people. Obama has always said that he doesn't care if he's a one term President as long as he feels that he did the job that he set out to do. This is a major misstep along that road. And if he starts down this path, he may find himself unable to return the path that he set for himself when he took this job.