Prime the Pump?

Apparently President Obama is unfamiliar with that strategy for pulling an economy out of recession.  In a post-Scott Brown induced panic the White House has announced a 3 year freeze on discretionary budget spending.  Its a horrendous idea.  First of all, its a miniscule portion of the federal budget as opposed to, say, defense spending.  And, more importantly, we need more spending right now, not less.  We need to overhaul our national infrastructure.  We need to help industries reduce their environmental impact.  We need to make healthcare more affordable.  As Robert Reich suggests in an article I will link below, the federal government needs to boast state and local governments that are teetering on the brink of insolvency, not because of wasteful spending as cranks on the right would tell you, but because of lost tax revenues during the recession.  We need to prime the pump to get the economy moving.  We need lots of things.

And as a political gesture its a bad one.  First of all, people don’t vote the federal deficit.  They vote their wallet.  They vote their values.  They may complain about things like the deficit or special interest influence but they don’t vote that way.  And the relatively small number of people that do vote the deficit ain’t voting for Obama and this won’t placate them.  Its not like the Tea Party movement is chock full of Democrats.  If it were it would’ve sprung up sometime in the previous 8 years when President Bush was increasing the deficit by cutting taxes while making war in Iraq on top of the 9/11 forced war in Afghanistan.  So all this move does is risk stifling the nascent recovery, piss off liberals, and leave conservatives/Wall St agitating for more.  Its ill-reasoned and panicky.

For the promised thoughts from Robert Reich, please point your web browser of choice at:  http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2010/01/25/obama_panicking?source=newsletter

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