If not for the on-off interrogation show trial debacle, the biggest presidential misstep of the week would have been the laughable effort to nibble $100M out of the federal budget. Not only conservatives are laughing, as this report explains:
“You’re cherry-picking the base of the tree on stuff that is not innovative,” said Paul C. Light, a scholar of federal bureaucracy at New York University. “Purchasing in bulk? Wow, that’s a bold idea! Teleconferencing? Holy moly! None of this stuff is the kind of bold sweep you’re hoping Obama will bring to the management of government.”
Isabel V. Sawhill, a Clinton administration budget official who directs the Budgeting for National Priorities project at the Brookings Institution, said she feared the cuts would be “lampooned” on late-night talk shows.
“I’m not sure I thought it was a good step towards convincing people that he cares about fiscal responsibility,” she said.
I’m not sure either. But this is what the Obama team is forced to resort to — silly symbolic efforts because of the trap they find themselves in, or rather, have put themselves in. They have created a massively irresponsible budget that will, over time, eat up more and more of the GDP and strain our ability to finance our debt. And the public, independent voters especially, are very nervous about it. Figuring that the public isn’t paying much attention to the number of zeroes, Obama throws out a number that used to sound like a lot of money — $100M. But the public is perhaps smarter than Obama reckons, and the administration’s critics aren’t playing along with the charade.
The result: everyone got a reminder of just how irresponsible the Obama fiscal policy is. Good thing for whomever thought this up that the news was swamped by the interrogation memo fiasco. Otherwise someone might be in trouble.