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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 26, 2010


Paul Krugman, NY Times - It's appalling on every level. It's bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with "the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon" . . .

It's bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead.

And it's a betrayal of everything Obama's supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view - and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, "I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy."

David Sirota, Open Left - This is actually worse - way worse - than John McCain's campaign proposal for across-the-board cuts, as across-the-board cuts would have hit the massive and bloated Pentagon budget. Instead, the Obama administration is specifically and exclusively targeting social safety-net spending for a budget freeze (read: cut in real, inflation-adjusted dollars). Yes, cutting social safety-net programs during a recession, while increasing spending on wars, underwriting a no-strings-attached bank bailout and pushing a health care bill that is a massive giveaway to the insurance and drug companies. This is textbook Selective Deficit Disorder and it is grotesque. Indefensibly grotesque.

Paul Rosenberg, Open Left - Obama is now intentionally recreating FDR's mistake of 1937, when he prematurely cut back spending to try to balance the budget, and sent the country into a new recession. . .

The rationale is that he wants to appease folks worried about runaway deficits. Which is just what FDR was worried about in 1937.

This is Bush-style idiocy. There is no other word for it.

Adding insult to injury, at the same time, he's also proposing more Ronald Reagan/GW Bush tax cuts. . . which will, of course, increase the runaway deficits.

And he's also talking about privatizing NASA. Because privatizing the Pentagon turned out so great.

It's time to seriously start talking about primarying Obama in 2012. He's now officially the most conservative Democratic President since Grover Cleveland. And the dumbest one since James Buchanan.

Chris Bowers, Open Left - Key members of the House Appropriations and Budget committees told The Hill this month they would not go along with alternative spending plans being requested by White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, which are part of the administration's plan to reduce the deficit.

Months ago, the White House asked the relevant House Democrats to prepare three budget drafts, including one with a freeze on discretionary spending and one with a 5% cut in discretionary spending. They didn't even prepare the drafts.

Members of Congress write and vote on the budget, and members of Congress like to bring the bacon home to their districts. As such, the legislative process will ultimately make President Obama's call for a spending freeze a hollow one. Like the President's deficit commission, not much will actually come of this.

This call for a spending cut is a press release. It is a sop to elites make it appear as though the administration is "serious" in the way that only people who propose bombing and / or cutting support for poor people can be "serious."


Anonymous Robbing the country to benefit your cronys is treason said...

The trouble with the notion that Congress controls spending is that for decades the Executive has issued directives that have been treated as law. Starting with Nixon's "line item vetos" (common sense would tell you the president can't censor legislation to his liking) and his refusal to spend funds appropriated for programs not to his liking and culminating with W and Obama's claims that habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, and international law no longer exist because we're engaged in forever war. Presidential behavior is reduced to a lampoon of South Park's Carttman on the Maury Povich show proclaiming, "I do what I want"!

January 27, 2010 8:51 AM  

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