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Obama's Cuts: A Start or a Joke?

Our Readers Who Comment are having a partisan debate this morning about whether President Obama's line-by-line review to find federal budget cuts is worthy of anything other than derision.

As Lori Montgomery and Amy Goldstein write, $17 billion in proposed trims represents "a tiny fraction of next year's $3.4 trillion budget." History tells us that even most of those suggestions won't survive Congressional review.

Readers who sound like sympathetic Democrats suggest that modest cuts are the reasonable thing to do while fighting a recession. Several of them also complained that the Post's headline and the tone of the article were sympathetic to the Republican viewpoint that the whole exercise is nonsense. And Readers of both stripes have their own proposals for what should go.

We'll start with birvin9999, who wrote, "Gee, so let me do a little quick math. If you were making 70K per year, this would be a cut of less than a hundred bucks. You gotta give Comrade Obama one thing - the guy's too funny for words. What a moron."

But stichmo said, "Let's remember that the goal during a recession is not to cut spending but to increase spending to turn the economy around. The goal of these spending cuts was to make a down payment on cutting waste, not to make a significant cut in overall spending. Once the economy turns around, then we should look for serious spending cuts."

treetopflyer wrote, "...drumroll, please - ONE HALF OF ONE PERCENT!! Obama should man up and say these are necessary expenses for the time being... the breadwinner of the family (the economy) is in surgery right now. We either put everything we have into saving it or we starve. Once its out of the woods we can worry about the bill."

But John_C_Page_III_ suggested that "...Now if Obama will start using the Veto Pen on Pork filled legislation that will be even better, even if he has to veto something he really wants to get his point across about his promise to curtail pork."

clairevb wrote, "Just paying up for 8 yrs of Republican rules."

ChangeAgent2 complained that "The tone of this article is very editorial, quotes not withstanding. There was no reason to believe this action was supposed to do the whole job. Shame on WashPo."

Lappel1 added, "Another Republican-slanted headline story from the Post. Sigh."

And farkdawg wrote, "...How can everyone, press included, scream bloody murder with every earmark that gets approved and then scoff at billions of dollars in savings?...Let's get real, Washington Post. Just the facts please."

EarlC said, "While presenting an honest budget for the first time in over 8 years, the budget trimming is also needed. Give President Obama time to get the Federal house in line with the 21st century."

But Curmudgeon10 said, "I'm not sure why Mr. Obama even goes through the motions. It invites ridicule. Except, of course, from the Obamamaniacs... Why, if he announced that the only budget cut he could find this year was switching to dry dog food for the dog, these folks would crow that he was saving the country..."

ripvanwinkleincollege wrote, " be really serious for the next fiscal year, the cuts should be in the range of $200 billion and should include
1) Freeze on cost of living increases for non-Social Security Federal pensions.
2) Freeze on other non-entitlement spending.
3) Hiring freeze
These actions would help restore credibility with the American people..."

wesco1 said, "instead of "scouring the federal budget" for small potatoes, we can save 300 billion by cutting wasteful military industrial complex spending. after that, the stupid war on drugs which would reduce gun violence more than any anti-gun program. let's get to it..."

guytaur1 wrote, "President Obama is on the right course. For proof look to Australia. The Australian Labor Government has gone into deficit to spend on stimulus. It did so before the USA. Today 05/07/09 Australia has had a RISE in employment... Republicans your tax and spend mantra will not work..."

To which Tupac_Goldstein replied, "Any suggestions then on how American taxpayers, both current and not yet born are supposed to pay of[f] the more than $10 Trillion dollars in debt when the Obama is through with us?..."

postfan1 predicted, "...Government agencies' budgets each went up 5%-15%, which will be reflected in their budgets year after year until the end of time. This is the gift that keeps on giving, as every penny of this will get an increase every year. And then they do a line by line cut? Nice sleight of hand, but even the weakest of intellects can easily see that this is much ado about not much..."

yokosuka1985 wrote, "obama lied about pulling out of Iraq and he continues to lie about cutting wasteful spending."

We'll close with heatherczerniak, who wrote, "...Thank goodness I'm a Libertarian! We may never land a candidate in the White House, but at least we aren't to blame for anything."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  May 7, 2009; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  Budget , Obama  | Tags: Budget, Obama  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Harsh Interrogation and Justice
Next: Health-Care Reform Plan Debated


TexasGal2 wrote:
Obama could start out with a COOL $1.3 BILLION by getting our hard-earned tax dollars back from that bunch of rabble-rousING ACORN TRASH.
You are simply an ignorant, kool-aid drinking twit. Did I mention ignorant? You do nothing but spout discredited garbage. Seriously, did I mention ignorant?

Posted by: overed | May 7, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I was going to start out by saying that does anybody still believe this drivel, until I read the postings above. Obama and his henchmen represent the crookedest regime in American history. Was Bush perfect? No he wasn't. This new president has lied or contridicted everything he himself has said. He cannot keep his stories straight to save his soul. Am I the only one that can tell if someone is luing or are the rest of you just giving him the benefit of the doubt. Re: The spokesman for ACORN even stated that OBAMA WAS AN ACORN COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. The head of the Illinois Acorn chapter even said the Obama was the best trainer she had when he worked there. OBAMA HAS STATED OFTEN THAT HE HAS NO CONNECTION TO ACORN...REALLY? He lied about the Air Force One photos three times, now. (I'll bet they were for his next campaign) He lies about stupid things like bowing to the Saudi King (who cares) I am truly convinced that he is a pathological liar. I was always taught to respect the presidency but after what they did to Bush, I just can't hold back. Okay, all you Democratic Liberals, let the racial epithets and name calling start. Just remember a lie is a lie, no matter who tells it.

Posted by: ROYSTOLL2 | May 7, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh My God!!! Will you please, please, please stop suggesting that the Obama gang are budget cutters and deficit hawks. It is simply NOT true that you can propose a 3.5 Trillion dollar budget, propose spending into the future that will leave future generations breathless ( and with a permanently poorer standard of living) and at the same time suggest that you are cutting federal spending. When the President does this, he is a LIAR!!!!

While it is clear most people still accept his drivel (albeit presented masterfully) as well as his habit of knocking down fictious opposing perspectives of his own creation as straw men, none of that affects the ultimate point that our society cannot pay for all of his spending without serious adverse effects on future generations. You can tax 100% of the incomes of those evil people making over $150,00 a year and still not pay for this spending gluttony. These proposed reductions in the face of the Obama administration's overall spending increases mean NOTHING!!!!!!

Posted by: LostinAmerica1 | May 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

We can balance the budget, provide universal health care, and ensure a decent retirement for all Americans, easily.

We all know it. We all know how stupid it is that we don't do what we all know we need to do.






Forgive me for raising my voice, or not, but until the "advanced weapons systems" on the F22 can hit a cancer tumor I don't want to spend another dime on it.

America can't afford to be that stupid anymore.

We've got better things to spend our taxes on than "Faberge eggs of death"

Every day in America, kids are needlessly dying of Cancer, and they're doing it in pain that you simply can't imagine,

That's unacceptable.

America's better than that.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | May 7, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The 17B figure does not represent the total amount of waste that was eliminated.
There is a proposal to eliminate no bid contracts which could save 40B, as well as an elimination of subsidization of private insurance options for medicare, which will eventually save 12B.

Posted by: eadler2 | May 7, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama's PROPOSED cuts (Congress has to agree, and when does Congress ever cut anything?) have served the exact purpose for which they are proposed, i.e., to give the compliant media and fellow travelers a diversion so that they don't have to focus and react to the proposed astronomical increase in deficit spending. Simple as that.


Posted by: JoeMcD | May 7, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

So in other words, the budget would decline to only $3,383,000,000,000 from $3,400,000,000,000.

With that, the deficit would narrow to $1,783,000,000,000 from $1,800,000,000,000.

If they cut $17 billion per year, they will eliminate the deficit in only 104 years.

The numbers are staggering.

This is a cut of one half of one percent.

For a family earning $100,000 annually, it would be the equivalent of cutting $500 per year from the budget and spending the other $99,500.

Posted by: ttj1 | May 7, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@ debmries

Stirring words from Sam Adams, but meaningless in this context. You DO have representation, unless you chose not to vote last time, in which case your complaints are without merit. If you don't like how the election turned out, you need to work harder to get more representatives for your side in 2010.

Sure, $17 billion is a drop in the bucket. But you've got to start somewhere. Hey, Fiscal Conservatives! Can I assume those politicians that you like will support these cuts? Or will they, like so many did with the stimulus, complain bitterly and then take the money anyway? Will conservative politicians give up their earmarks? They got a very nice set of them in the budget recently passed, you know.

Fiscal conservatives want to lead on this issue, or so they say. But they've shown precious little REAL leadership by merely whining about Obama when they do the same things themselves.

Posted by: wkorn | May 7, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The cuts are a great start. $17 billion is no small amount even if the percentage is low. I believe with more time in office the Obama White House will look through more programs and find more things to eliminate. The biggest program would be the Military Operations in Iraq. What frustrates me is that people are already writing these cuts off saying that Congress won't see it through. If the President asks for it, CUT IT!

Posted by: shipxc18 | May 7, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Real budget cuts like the states are enqacting right now would insure system solvency for the next generation. We need to:

-eliminate the U.S. Department of Education
-eliminate the Department of Commerce
-eliminate the Department of the Interior
-eliminate HUD
-eliminate HHS
-eliminate the Dept. of Labor

That would save trillions.

We need smaller government, not big government and high taxes.

Posted by: Sprintaway1 | May 7, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The most productive attack on the budget/deficit of the U.S. is to collect all the money given to Halliburton (KBR) for jobs not performed or completed and then do an accounting of the BRIBES paid to former Vice-President Cheney, (oh, I'm sorry, deferred compensation) and collect that money also. These actions will put the U.S. on th road to recovery and send a message.

Posted by: Taylorsucram | May 7, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Cancel the F22 -- Put the money into Cancer Research.

Tax Assault Rifles, Liquor, and Cigarettes.

Require a minimum IQ to serve in congress.

Any of those three things will finish off what's left of the Republican Party.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | May 7, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Speed records:

This administration is losing credibility faster than GM is losing money.

If they don't get with the program and start bringing relief to Main Street, Obama will be a one-term president faster than you can say 'Jimmy Carter.'

Posted by: NotClyde | May 7, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

We really must pass a constitutional amendment mandating that the U.S. government not be able to spend more than it takes in, with no accounting gimmicks. It is hypocritical to tell GM they are moving too slowly, and fire the chief executive, but hold the American government to a different standard. This recession was caused by spending what we didn't have, and getting out of it by spending what we don't have defies logic. We are in denial concerning the fact that America no longer makes many of the products we used to sell around the world, and we are a lot poorer because of it. This is our lot, but politicians are ruining our children’s chances for a debt free future. Better to be moderate, and debt free, than to live high on the hog for a few years, and languor in poverty for the rest of your life.

Posted by: davideconnollyjr | May 7, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Adding overseeing people - like the 800 at IRS and what is it 20,000 (is this number for real) at the Pentagon is non -value added and a waste of my money.

Then we have $350,000 for a photo shoot - never to be used.

A valentine's dinner with Michele - that cost us $500,000.

Let's get real here.

$17 Billion out of $3.5 Trillion in statisics amounts to NOTHING.

Americans seem to think this money is going to come from someone else - but it always comes from us. Obama, Bush have NO MONEY of their own. It's my money.

The only way for the gov't to get more money is more taxes which leaves less money for businesses to grow.

In 1764 Samuel Adams said:

"If taxes are laid upon us without our having a legal representation where they are laid, we are reduced from the character of free subjects to the state of tributary slaves." - Samuel Adams

I'm tired of being slave labor.

Posted by: debmries | May 7, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

These spending cuts anouncements by Obama are just token jestures to make it look like he really means to cut waste. This latest announcement is typical liberal dogma of cutting defense spending while keeping worthless social spending programs intact for the purpose of collecting votes for the democrats.

Posted by: BubbaRight | May 7, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

what i been hearing form the obama news. he is hiring twenty thousand people to over see the pentagon. who over see procuring weapons and military contracts. this is only smoke and mirrors your not saving a dime twenty thousand new government workers and they don't come cheep they will make over 80.000 a year plus benefits im sure they will just join the heard feeding off the taxpayers

Posted by: getsix1 | May 7, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Sigh! Nothing has changed. The US is drowning whale. To survive we need the pain of recessions. But nooooo! we don't want to take the bitter pill. So down we go. Sigh! Nothing has changed.

Posted by: yard80197 | May 7, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Obama could start out with a COOL $1.3 BILLION by getting our hard-earned tax dollars back from that bunch of rabble-rousING ACORN TRASH.

Posted by: TexasGal2 | May 7, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

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