The latest idea for reining in the federal government’s runaway spending is to “freeze” nondefense discretionary outlays for three years. That may sound good, but it’s just another gimmick.
We try not to be too cynical about politics, but the White House’s proposed freeze will do nothing to address America’s budget problems.
Last year alone, the U.S. deficit hit $1.4 trillion on record spending of $3.7 trillion. The freeze will apply only to $447 billion in spending — just 12% of the total. Next year, if the freeze goes into effect, it will save just $15 billion — and $250 billion over 10 years.
Compared with the $9 trillion in new debt and $43 trillion in spending expected over the next decade, it’s a pittance — not even a down payment on our gaping shortfalls.
[…]According to the CBO, the $250 billion in savings amounts to a negligible 0.5% of the $43 trillion in spending over the next decade. But it will no doubt be put to good political use, as congressional Democrats suddenly style themselves as fiscal conservatives during the 2010 campaign for passing a meaningless freeze.
Let me be clear. Obama never has been a fiscal conservative, and he isn’t going to start to be one now. It’s just words on a teleprompter that he reads so that you stop calling your representatives.